Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, counselled the Federal Government that dialogue with the members of Boko Haram sect and other aggrieved elements in the country remains the only solution to resolving the current impasse.
Alhaji Abubakar who made this known at the Rotary International Conference, organized by District 9125-Nigeria, at the Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, said, there was need to engage aggrieved groups in dialogue while taking decisive security measures to protect innocent people.
The former Vice President in his paper regretted that, “the economies of Borno, Yobe Plateau, Kaduna and, increasingly, Adamawa states have been badly hurt by this wave of insecurity.”
Enumerating the critical development challenges, which are currently facing the nation, Alhaji Abubakar said, “peace and security are needed for these to happen. That is why the government must do all that is necessary in a democratic society to protect lives and property. Thus, there is the need to engage aggrieved groups in dialogue while taking decisive security measures to protect innocent people. I hope that the current emergency rule in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states does not obviate the urgent need for such dialogue in that zone and elsewhere.
According to him, “our country is obviously going through very serious challenges, including the challenge of providing adequate security, reducing conflicts, narrowing the infrastructure deficit, providing gainful employment especially for the youth, and rebuilding our educational system.
“Many diseases continue to ravage our people, including malaria, measles and polio. We also rank very poorly in various indices of development such as poverty rate, life expectancy, infant and maternal mortality, and literacy rate.
“These challenges have excised the minds of many Nigerians, including political and civic leaders. Most alarming to Nigerians in recent times has been the rising wave of insecurity of life and property as well as wanton violence across the country.
“Hardly a day goes by without news of fresh slaughter of fellow citizens in one part of the country or the other. We have violent insurgents, armed robbers and kidnappers. Specifically, there are violent insurgencies in the North, particularly the North East as well as in the South of the country. Violent militancy is also once more rearing its head in the South-South. Kidnappings in the South-East and South-South have become all too common and are increasingly spreading to other parts of the South, especially Lagos.
“We also have violent struggles between Muslims and Christians, herdsmen and farmers. The words “indigene” and “settler” continue to be used as exclusionary tools in the struggle for scarce resources. Even security operatives, sent to protect innocent civilians, have been accused of atrocities against those same civilians. It is as if we have lost our souls.
“The economies of Borno, Yobe Plateau, Kaduna and, increasingly, Adamawa states have been badly hurt by this wave of insecurity. The South East elite is increasingly in internal exile in Abuja, Lagos and other cities, a major blow to the rural communities and families that rely on the financial and organizational resources of this elite
“Whatever the immediate causes of these conflicts and insecurity, there is no doubt that the high level of unemployment, poverty and accompanying alienation, especially of our young people, have provided veritable recruiting grounds for these insurgencies and other forms of criminality. And these are taking place within the context of a collapsed educational system, poor investment climate, less than mediocre governance and increasing corruption.” he stated.