The enormous landmass in the north-east, according to Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy, is adding to the region’s escalating level of insecurity.
Pantami stated this at the North-East Development Commission’s (NEDC) consultative meeting in Abuja on Tuesday.
He claims that the north-east has six of the country’s eight largest states, and that criminals use the area’s size as a hideout to perpetrate crimes.
“I want to use this opportunity to advise the forum, I looked into the questionnaire and I have comment on one of the issues left out which is one of the challenges of the north-east, that is the land size of the north-east,” he said.
“Any plan we want to work on should come with a very comprehensive and extensive approach on how to make use of our landmass. Today if you look at it, you will discover that among the six largest states in Nigeria, four of them are from the north-east; Niger, Borno, Taraba, Kaduna, Bauchi and Yobe. These are the six largest states in Nigeria.
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“When it comes to landmass and if you look at it, you will discover that the smallest among the six which is Yobe with around 45,000 kmsq is more than the land size of 23 different countries in Europe and Borno which is more than 70,000 kilometres is more than 30,000 in Europe. And you will discover that usually the peace in the north is somehow directly related to the size of the land.
“One may wonder why there is relative peace in Gombe and Kano, I commend the efforts of our leaders, you will discover that Gombe and Kano, arguably are the most peaceful states in the north.
“In addition, they are the smallest states when it comes to the landmass in entire northern Nigeria because criminals to liberate on lands that are too big where they will go into it, assemble themselves and commit crimes and it is because of this, any state that doesn’t have a very big landmass, you will discover that the rate of crimes is not that very high and if you look at the eight largest states in Nigeria, still northeast provides five, Adamawa is number 2 so among the eight largest states, six in the north are among the largest states in Nigeria.
“The smallest among them which is Yobe is even bigger than Belgium and Switzerland as a country, it is because of this any plan that we want to work on must emphasize how to reduce the size of our lands particularly, the one that is not habitable and this will go a long way in making our efforts very successful.”