Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Head of Cooperation, Embassy of France in Nigeria, Mr. Ellien Helios, said that efforts to find sustainable solutions to the spate of insecurity in Nigeria particularly in the North-west is inadequate, and urged all concerned authorities and stakeholders to step up actions to effectively define and tackle the menace .
This is just as stakeholders on the matter have warned that insecurity may escalate deeper to other regions in Nigeria, adding that the country is at risk of underdevelopment, and food shortage, among others if not addressed.
Helios who represented the Ambassador of France in Nigeria, Mr. Jerome Pasquier, made this call in Abuja yesterday at a workshop on “Addressing Rural Insecurity and Violence in North-western Nigeria” convened by Pastoral Reserve (PARE) in collaboration with Search for Common Ground (SFCG), Nextier SPD and the French Embassy.
The envoy said the workshop presented a unique opportunity for stakeholders to develop a better understanding of the issues and strategise appropriate response.
He said: “There are many factors affecting the northwest region for years now, there are also many actors, but I don’t think there is enough being done by the actors to have a better understanding of the situation and try to find some appropriate solutions to the insecurity and the subsequent sufferings.
“We have a unique opportunity to work and listen to people that are gathering the best expertise on these issues, so let’s seize this opportunity as a starting point to get humble, but to also develop a better understanding of the issues , strategize response, develop a coordinative approach and increase action.”
Speaking, the Senior Research and Policy Lead, Nextier SPD, Dr. Ndubuisi Nwokolo, pointed out that the insecurity bedevilling the north should not be seen as a northern problem.
He raised the alarm that the entire country could bear the consequences of collective negligence.
Nwokolo warned that the entire country is at risk of food insecurity due to the unresolved insurgency in the north and advised that dialogue and a regional approach is needed to permanently address the problem.
“A very critical thing that we should all know first is that Zamfara State and the North-west states are our food basket, if we don’t sort them out, Nigeria will face a food security problem. What is happening now is that the youths are running away from communities where their skills are needed in agriculture, but we find them now as ‘Okada riders’ in the cities or unemployed because they cannot stay in their communities,” he explained.