EXPERTS in the Labour and industrial sector, including university lecturers, have urged the government to tackle the rising unemployment in the country; to stop the killings, arsons and other social vices ravaging the country.
Speaking at a roundtable organised by the Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of Abuja, they all concluded that the escalating social vices ravaging the country would not end until urgent steps are taken to tackle rising unemployment.
In their papers, Professor Solomon Ogbu and Comrade Peter Adejobi also condemned the level of poverty across the country, and warned that adequate security may continue to elude Nigeria if the rate of poverty is checked but continues to rise.
Statistically, they said Nigeria has 33.1 per cent unemployment rate, while over 70 per cent of the population is living below $1 a day, a sign of abject poverty.
According to Comrade Adejobi, “with the current unemployment rate as of the third quarter of 2017 at 33.1 per cent with over 70 per cent of the population living below $1 (one dollar) a day and below the poverty line, there can be no real security in such a country where money is preferably voted for the purchase of arms for defence and security agents, without any meaningful job creation efforts, without the payment of workers’ salaries as and when due, without the payment of living wages, without the payment of pensioners and without micro credit facilities. All these put together make the role of police and other security agencies a herculean task in the light of ever increasing conflicts in Nigeria.”
The roundtable which was supported by Rosa Luxemburg Foundation West Africa, seeks to expand debate on political, economic, social and cultural issues with select higher institutions and non-governmental organisations and trade unions.
Comrade Adejobi, who spoke on ‘Herdsmen and farmers conflict and the call for State Police in Nigeria,’ stated that the approach to tackling poverty by the Buhari administration is not radically different from previous administrations since the introduction of neoliberal policy of austerity measure by the Shehu Shagari administration.
He also noted that introduction of Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) by the Ibrahim Babangida administration further compounded the hardship faced by Nigerians.
He explained that even though the Nigeria Police is saddled with the responsibility of prevention and detection of crimes, protection of lives and properties and others, the agency has since the crises of the 1980s to the present herder-farmer conflicts, has always been reactionary rather than proactive in preventing crisis
Adejobi also noted that all the security agencies in the country operate independently without effective synergy between them, ading “no effective inter-agency cooperation around them, thereby making the fight against insurgency and conflict like the farmer-herder difficult to put under control.”
In his own speech, Professor Ogbu, a lecturer at the Department of Political Science, University of Abuja, stated that despite efforts being made by security agencies and well meaning Nigerians to put an end to the herdsmen and farmers conflict, the orgy of violence has continued unabated.
He pointed out that thousands of farmers and pastoralists are still being killed mostly in the middle belt, especially in the states of Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba, Plateau, Kaduna and Zamfara.
Ogbu stated that the response of government has so far been only ad hoc, half-hearted and ineffective, thereby allowing the violent attacks to continue unabated.
On the issue of state police, he said, “the agitation for the creation of state police would be long and excruciating since it will require an amendment of Section 214 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). Since the Constitution is rigid and therefore difficult to amend, it means immense pressure will have to be put on the National Assembly to effect the needed Constitutional amendments that would pave way for the creation of State Police.”
“I would like to recommend an all-inclusive legal instrument grazing law to regulate pastoralism across the country.” He added.