In order to quickly nip the herdsmen-farmers crises as well as other security threats facing the country in the bud before they snowball into a national tragedy, the Lagos State Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and Nigerian security agencies have agreed that securing human lives and the business environment must be prioritised.
This was agreed at yesterdayâ€™s â€˜Security Meets Business Dialogueâ€™ session organised by the LCCI in Lagos.
In his remarks, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Yusuf Burutai, stated that the dialogue series was a laudable and suitable platform to discuss security issues, challenges and their impacts on the economy as well as the way forward with a view to developing appropriate strategies to be employed by various instruments of national power.
Burutai, who was represented by the GOC of the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General E. O Udo, added that the discourse was equally judicious when security and development of the country continue to be troubled by plethora of threats such as Boko Haram in the North-east, cattle rustling, armed robbery, piracy, kidnapping, militancy, herdsmen and farmersâ€™ clashes cultism and cult-related violence among others, maintaining that â€œadditionally, owning to the porous nature of our borders and globalisation, our country has continued to grapple with immigration crimes, but all attention must be shifted to curbing all forms of threat to the nationhood of the country.â€
According to him, â€œBefore my appointment as the COAS, the Boko Haram terrorist group continued to unleash continual terrorism on the country to further their agenda in Nigeria and other surrounding countries, but accordingly, the Nigerian army has continued to turn the tide of the sect insurgency through effective collaborative efforts with our neighbouring countries, and we are winning the war.
â€œIndeed, acknowledging the fact that security and development are interdependent both in discourse and policy, this has given rise to what is called the security development nexus, and it was in consonance with this reality that former United Nations Secretary General, Koffi Anan, asserted that security and development are inextricably linked. It could as well be stated that this contemporary reality equally informed this important gathering.â€
In his welcome remarks, the President of LCCI, Mr. Babatunde Paul Ruwase, hinted that no meaningful business can be done in an insecure environment because security of life and property is a very critical factor in the investment environment as well as a major consideration in investment decision.
Ruwase, therefore, said: â€œThis is a platform for discussion and exchange of ideas among the private sector, diplomatic corps and the security agencies on the security situation in the country. The essence is to deliberate on how we can collaborate to make our environment more secure by prioritising security and giving it all the attention it deserves.
â€œIn recent years, the country has been grappling with various serious security challenges, and the impact of these security challenges on business and investorsâ€™ confidence is phenomenal. Not much investment activities are taking place in the North-east region of the country. The same is true, perhaps to a lesser degree, in some other parts of the country. Painfully, Nigeriaâ€™s position in the Transparency International Security Ranking has plunged to 149 out of 163.â€
He added that the oil and gas sector is not free from threat of attacks on oil installation, as attacks by herdsmen on farming communities across Nigeria are not abating, resulting in increasing loss of lives as well as agricultural activities being negatively impacted.
â€œTherefore, there is no better time to look at the business dimension of the security problems than now. Let me acknowledge the efforts of the security agencies and the government addressing the problem of insecurity in the country. Some progress has been made in restoring peace and normalcy in the North-east region, but a great deal still needs to be done,â€ the LCCI president said.
Among other speakers who contributed to the discourse to safeguard the Nigerian business environment in order to grow the economy, were the Chief of Naval Staff, Real Admiral Ibok-Ele Ibas who was represented by Chief of Operation, Lagos, Real Admiral F. Bubai; representatives of Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Air Staff; diplomats among others.