Government should urgently budget and provide the necessary resources for the recruitment of more soldiers, policemen, their training, welfare and the acquisition of weapons and technology in order to step up the fight against insecurity in Nigeria, participants at the First Chronicle Roundtable urged on Wednesday.
The Roundtable said in a communique issued on Thursday that national security is an expensive business and Nigeria must continuously invest heavily in it in times of both war and peace.
The communique, signed by the Rapporteur Dr. Theophilus Abbah, also called for urgent depoliticisation of the fight against insecurity. It said criminals must not be shielded from justice by their kith and kin on sentimental regional, religious or political grounds.
The Roundtable regretted the high level of insecurity in the country which it said has created an atmosphere of perpetual fear, disharmony in polity and governance, has the economy and discouraged some foreign investors. It however praised members of the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agents for their dedication in the fight against insecurity and the sacrifices they have been making, including paying the supreme price in order to secure the country from criminals.
The Roundtable called for an immediate commencement in the building of a world-class Nigerian military industrial complex to produce military hardware locally, bring down its cost and also reduce dependence and the associated delay and political blackmail involved in importing military hardware. It said the task of building this complex should be undertaken essentially by the private sector but government should put in place the necessary measures and incentives.
The Roundtable’s communique also called for improved intelligence gathering to facilitate precision in military operations, retraining and reequipping Nigeria Police to reclaim internal security duties that have been taken over by the armed forces, and involve traditional institutions in in the fight against insecurity because of their unique position in accessing intelligence information.
It also called for improved synergy among all stakeholders in the fight against insecurity. It urged public prosecutors and judiciary to ensure speedy dispensation of justice in cases involving terrorism and criminality all over the country. It described social injustice and inequity as the main drivers of insecurity and criminality and called for an equitable approach to wealth distribution in Nigerian society.
The communique called on INEC and security agencies to shun partisanship and urged political actors to adhere to the rules of the game in order to reduce tension in the country as the 2023 general elections approach. It noted the steady improvement in the credibility of elections in Nigeria in recent years with the introduction of technological tools and production of a credible voters’ register. It urged President Muhammadu Buhari to build upon this positive development by signing the amended Electoral Bill into law without delay.
Roundtable participants also urged editors and media owners to entrench professionalism and uproot all vices that assist criminals in the country. They urged the media professionals to embrace responsible reporting to prevent escalation of tension and conflict by abiding by the tenets of fairness, justice and national interest.
The First Chronicle Roundtable organized by 21Sst CENTURY CHRONICLE held on Wednesday, February 23 at the Shehu Yar’adua Centre, Abuja. It was attended by security chiefs, top government officials, diplomats, NGO activists, politicians, National Assembly members, traditional rulers and top media practitioners, among others.