CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Saturday identified poverty and marginalisation as being partly responsible for the growing violence in Nigeria, but this does not mean that he had justified Boko Haram’s activities to the uneven distribution or resources and derivation funds to the Niger Delta.
Sanusi, in a statement to clarify his interview published in last Friday’s edition of Financial Times, said the growing restlessness among the youth which makes them embrace a life of crime, could be traced to their disillusionment with the system.
According to him, “I have long held the view that ethnic and religious violence in Nigeria has its roots in poverty and deprivation and perceived marginalisation. I always said this about the militancy in the delta while fully condemning it, the truth remains that militants tapped into a groundswell of frustration.
“In addressing that problem we have gone to an extreme now where the levels of poverty in the north are recreating the same conditions and results we saw in the delta.”
Sanusi said that he made more or less the same points in an interview with David Frost shown on Al Jazeera on Friday and Saturday, and which will be repeated Sunday.
The CBN governor expressed hope that this would provide clarity on the FT interview and urged anyone interested to read the FT piece “which in my view was harmless enough and reflected the substance of my thoughts on the matter - that poverty and marginalisation create conditions of the possibility of radicalisation.
In the FT interview, Sanusi had stated that there was clearly a direct link between the very uneven nature of distribution of resources and the rising level of violence.”
He said it was now necessary to focus funds on regenerating other regions if Nigeria wants to secure long-term stability.
“When you look at the figures and look at the size of the population in the north, you can see that there is a structural imbalance of enormous proportions. Those states simply do not have enough money to meet basic needs while some states have too much money. The imbalance is so stark because the state still depends on oil for more than 80 per cent of its revenues," said Sanusi.