The North Under Siege

Shehu Sani

Saturday letter2

Senator Shehu Sani during a courtesy visit on him by a group from Birni Gwari and Chikun local governments stated that the North is under siege. Sani said the north west is experiencing banditry, North central herdsmen and farmers clashes while North east is battling with Boko Haram. Even before the senator broke his silence on the insecurity in the North, the once blossoming region has since become the home of crises. The region has the history of ethnic and religious strife that resulted in the death of many innocent souls. Today, the region has gone beyond ethnic and religious crises. As Senator Shehu Sani put it, the north is under the menace of Boko Haram, herdsmen attacks, kidnapping and banditry. These problems have dragged the region backward and retarded its development.

   In the early 60’s and late 70’s, the north was the home of agriculture. This neglected sector had created informal jobs to millions of youth. The hitherto flourishing textile companies had also created millions of jobs.  Now, these are history. The region that was the food basket of the country has become the fertile ground of poverty, hunger and insecurity. Alhaji Aliko Dangote, an industralist and chairman of Dangote Group, during the Kaduna State investment summit bemoaned and berated the northern governors for doing little or nothing to address the poverty in the 19 northern states. There is correlation or nexus between the persistent rise of insecurity and the high level of poverty in the region.

  It is reported that over 10 million children are out of the school in the region. These children are between the age of seven and eight. In the next 10 years, the north will have 10m illiterate youths. You can imagine the havoc these uneducated youths could wreak on the socio-economic development of the region. The northern governors as complained by Dangote have failed to tackle the problems of poverty, unemployment and illiteracy in the region. They have been holding different summits aimed at addressing the recurring problems. Unfortunately, the recommendations of the summits are not being implemented. The problems plaguing the region cannot be solved with empty promises. There is the need for strong commitment by the leaders and other stakeholders to end the plethora of problems bedevilling the region. These problems can be resolved through good governance.

Ibrahim Mustapha Pambegua, Kaduna State