The Governor of Bayelsa State, the Honourable Henry Seriake Dickson, has described the current spate of violence and senseless killings by gunmen across the nation and particularly in the Northern part of the country as the biggest ever existential threat to the nation’s corporate existence, since after the civil war, which ended in 1970. Aside from this, the Governor singled out the lopsided federal structure, dysfunctional Nigeria structure as well as the over centralization and politicization of law and order as threats to contemporary governance in the country.
A press statement signed by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Francis Ottah Agbo, quoted the Governor as having disclosed this on Friday in Abuja while delivering a lecture titled: “Cultural Values, National Security and Challenges of Contemporary Governance: Perspective From Bayelsa State Experience, organised by Institute of Security Studies (ISS).
Dickson condemned the recent killings and warned that the country would cease to have a future if President Buhari failed to urgently mobilize the peoples of Nigeria to build a non partisan consensus to avert the nationwide senseless killings.
He lamented that politicians were using the security structures of the country to torment innocent citizens for their selfish ends and by so doing, causing national insecurity and instability.
Dickson maintained that the wind of insecurity blowing across the nation and particularly the killings of innocent Nigerians in the Northern part of the country were fueled by the Imbalance in the country’s security structure and the politicisation of security by members of the ruling party.
According to him: “It is very clear that Nigeria’s lopsided federal system and over centralization of security powers and the politicization of security by several agencies are a major clause of instability and poses a threat to National stability.
“I was talking the politics of insecurity and the insecurity of politics occasioned by the abuse of Nigeria’s federal system and the ease at which those who control powers at the federal level undermine law and order in parts of our country and make it difficult for our citizens to feel safe and to feel protected under the law.
“When you correct this abuse of federal system, the governor of Benue and Taraba will be in the position to mobilise the security resources of their States… I remember the governor of Zamfara said he didn’t want to be addressed as the Chief Security Officer of the state”.
The Bayelsa State Governor added that although the military had made appreciable progress in its fight against Boko Haram, recent events in the country showed that the war against terrorism was far from over.
He, therefore, called on stakeholders irrespective of their political parties to unite in order to proffer a solution to the lingering insecurity in the country.
He said when a nation is under attack, the leaders, military, civil, Christians, Muslims, must come together to address it.
The governor said what was going on in Nigeria was more than the historical herdsmen and farmers clashes, saying the country has lost too many innocent souls to the killings.
He said: “Who are the farmers having clashes with herdsmen in Sokoto, Zamfara and other places. We must call a spade a spade for the good of our country.
“We are dealing with a calculated attack on our country. We are dealing with machinery of violence against innocent Nigerians.
“Yes we have historical incidence of herdsmen and farmers clash but what is going on is far more than that.
“All Nigerians and people of goodwill should show patriotism and let us interrogate these issues properly.”
He said a situation where a security officer diligently doing his work is unceremoniously transferred because someone who has access to power wanted him transferred is not healthy for our nation.
“Nigerians are right to demand for protection. They expect the security agencies to arise to the occasion and put an end to the killings that are moving from one state to the other.
“If the people are under attack by gunmen, that is the more reasons why the security forces and the President as the Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces should lead the security agencies to repel this attack.
“We have lost enough innocent lives. Instead of these killings abating, it continues to be spreading.
“That is why I said what is going on in the middle belt, North East, Niger Delta and other regions of the country is clearly the most potent national security and essential threat our country has faced since the civil war.”
He said though the present administration has made remarkable achievements in addressing security challenge in the North East, Boko Haram is far from being defeated.
He said that to address insecurity in Nigeria, there was also need for government to invest more in education, stressing that the options are clear, it is either you build more schools or you build more prisons and commentaries.”
He added that addressing the situation and developing the country, there was need to recognise and respect ethics and cultural differences in the country.
Dickson, however, said that in spite of the contemporary security challenge facing Nigeria, the country has the potential of becoming country of great capability.
“In spite of these challenges, we believe that a new Nigeria of peace and stability, equal citizens and egalitarian Nigeria is still possible.
“From the north to the south, east to the west, God in His mercy and wisdom has given us everything to be great.”