Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
With the level of insecurities bedeviling the country presently, the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, yesterday hinted that economic development was the only antidote for crime reduction and better security.
According to him, the only way there could be reduction in crime and better functionality by the security agencies in Nigeria was when there is infrastructural and economic development using the railway transportation as a case study.
The Minister stated this at a lecture delivered to participants of the National Defence College, Course 29, in Abuja.
Amaechi, in a statement by the Director Press of the ministry, Eric Ejiekwe, gave several instances where there was chaos and unrest by some aggrieved Nigerians and the way he tackled the issue as a Governor and Minster of Transportation was to address infrastructural development that curbed youth luke warmness and restlessness.
According to him, “to create jobs we had to construct the railways and roads. This process saw a lot of Nigerians being engaged and insecurity dropped drastically.”
He noted that in the education sector, “we employed, 13, 200 teachers, we set up a banana farm with a capacity to employ over 500 persons every day and this saw a lot of jobless youths being engaged.
He said, “In 2013 the cost of tomatoes was extremely high and the then Minister of Agriculture invited me for a meeting and he said to me, can you provide railway transportation from Kano to Lagos .
“I called the then Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation to make the trip from Kano to Lagos more regular and in one week the price of tomato crashed,” the Minister stated.
He observed, “We have done a lot in infrastructural development and employment, like in Rivers State we built Over 350 Primary schools which was not just to improve the standard of Education and enlightenment but create employment also. We built a big health Centre that was acknowledged by news agencies like CNN and Al Jazeera.”
Amaechi further added, “The massive infrastructural development in the Railway sector has employed so many Nigerians not forgetting that in 2011/2012, the out of school children In Nigeria was 10 million which has been reduced to about 3 million.”
He said: “From 2000, we had major security crisis and the reason given was that they were fighting for their right and the uneven-distribution of national resources. They began to bomb pipeline, take oil and engage in kidnapping.
“When I came back, the first thing I did was to meet with security chiefs and the then commander Brig Bello. I told them that the reason why there was insecurity In Rivers state was because of the state of the economy which gave rise to youth unrest in the region,” Amaechi further added.
Explaining further on the connection between economic development and defence in the light of security challenges, he said, “the only way the army can rest and the police do their job effectively is when the economy begins to work. When people are properly engaged with different activities they won’t think of engaging in criminal activities.
“The Army is not supposed to give Internal Security but the Police is overwhelmed by the level of crime rate hence the Army has consistently been rescuing Nigerians. Economic growth reduces crime and when there is no crime, the Military and police can rest,” Amaechi added.
Similarly, the Commandant National Defence College Abuja, Real Admiral M.M Kadiri, thanked the Minster for gracing the lecture with his presence and also for the enlightenment on the role of Economic and infrastructure development in curbing crime.