Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
Worried by the insecurity challenges in the country, Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, thursday called for a North-central security summit so as to provide an avenue to share ideas on way out of the menace.
Speaking at a one-day multi-stakeholder security dialogue with theme: “Towards Strengthening the Security Architecture in Kwara State: Exploring Community Initiatives” held at Kwara Hotels Banquet Hall in Ilorin, Abdulrasaq said “the issue of security of life and prosperity remains a major concern of all the affected states and all hands must be on deck to tackle the menace.”
“Just yesterday (Wednesday), I was talking to Nasarawa State Governor, Alhaji Abdullahi Sule, on the need to have a security summit in North-central states of Nigeria.
“Although Kwara State can be described as a peaceful state in the northern part of the country, we cannot sit down and pretend not to be aware of the current trends in the North-central.
“All we want to see is how Kwara State can be saved to combat crimes, because we cannot remain on the same point and we must take proactive efforts.
“Northern part of the country can feed the whole of West Africa and we should be thinking in that direction.
“If that is done, poverty and hunger can be eradicated in our society and this will go a long way to tackle insecurity in the country,” he said.
The governor added that the dialogue was convened so as to enable the government has positive ideas from the members of the public so as to prevent crimes in the state.
The governor, who enjoined the people to continue to support the state in the war against terrorists, said the gesture would assist the state to remain peaceful and stable.
Keynote speakers, Prof. Hassan Salihu of University of Ilorin and Prof. Dakas Dakas of University of Jos described Kwara State as peaceful, but the state must be proactive to respond to security threats nearby and early warning signs.
They commended the government for the security dialogue which they described as timely.
While Dakas called for a regime of accountability, respect for rules of engagement, and more support for the security agencies, Salihu called on the public to see security as a joint project to be owned by all.
Salihu said politicians must learn to draw the line between politics, campaign period and governance, calling on all stakeholders to sidestep their differences and build a sustainable system that works for all.
The experts also called for more capacity building for the security agencies and other personnel of government in charge of security matters.
Security chiefs in the state applauded the dialogue initiative, but called on the masses to always speak up when they see danger signs around them.
The Director of the Department of State Service, Steve Ajege, said the dialogue underpinned AbdulRazaq’s effort to further secure the state.
He called on parents to revisit the issue of family value and discipline and to work with security agencies in order to reduce crime rate in the society.
Kwara State Commissioner of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, in his remarks, said community policing is underway and called for support for the initiative which he said would rely heavily on local personnel and intelligence gathering.
Other security agencies spoke in similar pattern with the NDLEA calling on parents to pay attention to the activities of their children, lamenting the rising rate of drug abuse.
Also speaking, the Emir of Ilorin and Chairman of Kwara State Traditional Council, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu Gambari, called on the Nigerian government to make better use of the traditional institutions as it was done by the colonial masters.
Gambari commended the government for the dialogue, calling for better welfare for members of the security agencies and funding for traditional institutions to boost communal peace.
Prof. Lanre Yusuf and Bishop Sunday Adewole, who represented the Muslim and Christian religious communities, urged the government to build its security strategies around the traditional and religious institutions.
The two religious leaders called for tolerance and harmony and restoration of religious and family values.