Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, yesterday advocated careful management of the Nigeria population explosion to curtail potential dangers the country may face in near future.
Speaking at the opening of a national conference on ‘Insurgency and the Phenomenon of Boko Haram in Nigeria’, the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) noted that with the projected population of 100 million youth in Nigeria in the next 20 years, Boko Haram will be a child’s play, if the country’s population is not control.
Sanusi who cautioned that failure of the government to find lasting solution to the growing demography of the country, may prone the country to more grievous disasters superior to that of the dreaded Boko Haram insurgency.
“The population of Nigeria in 1960 was 45million; today is about 200 million. The medium age is 19 and in the next 20 years, we are going to have 100 million Nigeria between the ages of 20 and 40. These are the young men and women. The question is what we they do. Is the civil service going to employ them? Is the banking industry going to employ them?.
Explaining the implication, Sanusi added “If you want to have a sense of what is 100 million, Germany is the third largest economy in the world and the population of Germany is 85 million. Nigeria is going to have population of 100 million youths in the next 20 years.
”Nigeria is going to have population of 100 million youths in the next 20 years. If we do not build our economy and address our demography explosion especially in the North east, Boko Haram will be child’s place in another 20 years” Sanusi added.
The Emir of Kano who identified poverty and inequalities among major predicaments that breeding act of insurgency especially in the Northern Nigeria, regretted the wide gap between the rich and the poor in the country. The monarch, who made specific emphasis on marginalisation of some regions of the country, stressed that the humanitarian crisis rising from violence in the region has left Nigeria among the extremely poor nation in the world.
“The world has been divided into rich and the poor by region. The richest part of the world in the last 30 years has become extremely rich while places like Sahara Africa have had increased in the absolute number of the poor people. With Sub-Sahara Africa we find huge inequality regionally and huge inequalities horizontally.
“If you take Nigeria and you look into multi dimensional poverty index that was published the by Oxford human development index in 2015, the incidence of poverty in Lagos is 8 per cent but that of Zamfara State is 91 per cent. In Yobe it is 90 per cent. We cannot divorce these horizontal inequalities tendencies from this violence. There are so many violent in the North why don’t we find them in the South. So there has to be some correlation between economic marginalisation and political and social stability, so poverty is in fact a major factor to violence. So, we cannot divorce insecurity from the discus on illiteracy and poverty”.
The emir however, worried that despite the abject poverty, Nigeria has the largest owners of privet jets in the continent
“ When you go to Abuja, you find more private jet parks than a private car park and yet Nigeria has the highest number of poor people in Africa. And in fact, Nigeria has more poor people than any country in the World. We cannot divorce insecurity from the discus on development and poverty.
“Another source of conflicts and tension while insurgency strives is the huge amount of unregulated and ungoverned space in this country. Take the farm- herdsmen crisis for instance; it is all about ungoverned places. People have taken over gracing roots and turn to roads and farm and houses without thinking of the long term implication for those that have been using those roots for more than 500 years and the conflict its agenda. Religion is an unregulated space.
“We try to say let us get some form of licensing for our preachers because you can’t just go to Saudi Arabia and stand up and preach. You can’t go to Iran and stand up in the Mosque and start preaching. People just start one day with TV and Radio station and allow people to say whatever they like to say spreading hatred speeches; nobody say there must be infringement on freedom of expression but we cannot have any part of this country including religion go on without regulation”. Emir Sanusi insisted.