| By Anayo Ezugwu | Nov 17, 2016 @ 19:50 GMT |
THE federal government has been advised to use Nigeria’s economic endowments to solve the security challenges facing the country. The advice was given at the fourth anniversary lecture of Realnews Magazine and Publications Limited in Abuja, on Thursday, November 17, by Ibn Chambas, special representative of the secretary-general of the United Nations for West Africa and Sahel who was the keynote speaker at the lecture.
According to him, Nigeria has the largest population in Africa and should make use of its large population.
Chambas, who delivered the lecture on ‘Security and National Development in a Plural Democratic Society,’ said irrespective of the country’s populations, non-state actors have perpetuated all manners of criminal acts on the nation.
“The population of Nigeria is an opportunity the country should utilise in solving the economic and security challenges facing it. I’m also much concerned that non-state actors are preventing national development through their criminal activities. Criminals over the years undermine the security of West African nations and Nigeria is not an exception.
“The region is under attacks by terrorists and we have seen attacks in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, among others by Boko Haram, which is being described as the deadliest terrorist group in the world today. In Nigeria, new militant groups are emerging in the Niger Delta, farmers and herdsmen are still fighting in the middle belt coupled with the kidnapping and other security challenges facing the country. These are the challenges. But in the middle of all these challenges, the country has stood still in becoming one nation.
“The resolve of the nation in bringing back our girls campaign is highly commended. And the nation set a new world record in the last general elections with the smooth transition of government. The whole region was watching with interest and this has motivated other African nations to conduct fair and violent free elections.”
Chambas called on the federal government to engage the citizens on how best to end the security challenges facing the country. He said that meaningful national dialogue that involves all the stakeholders and citizens will end the agitations in the country. “National dialogue is a means of promoting national unity. Nigeria has organised such dialogue in the past but we must make sure that it’s inclusive. Dialogue has sustained Nigeria all these years and should be encouraged for continued sustainability of the nation.”
In her welcome address, Maureen Chigbo, publisher and editor of Realnews, said that the anniversary lecture is one way Realnews is contributing to the development of Nigeria. She noted that the choice of the topic was based on the recurrent security challenges in the country. She emphasised the resolve of the company to always publish balanced stories. Chigbo assured Realnews followers that the online media will always serve them investigated and real life stories that affect the less privilege in the society.
Other speakers at the event like Alex Cummings, presidential aspirant in Liberia, Ibrahim Idris, inspector general of police, represented by Don Awunah, police public relations officer, PPRO, and Boboye Oyeyemi, corps marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, emphasised the need for the country to safeguard its territories.
The event was attended by many dignitaries from all over the world.