Editorial: Time to find a lasting solution to insecurity in the north

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What started like a flash challenge is gradually becoming part of the insecurity in the northern part of Nigeria. Coupled with the decade long Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast, kidnapping and banditry are fast becoming part of the challenges in the north.

Unfortunately, instead of nipping the issue in the bud, the political authority decided to romance and dine with the devil. In the heat of kidnapping the parts of the Northwest states of Katsina, Zamfara and Kaduna, the Governors decided to grant amnesty to the bandits and kidnappers terrorizing the region. The Governor of Katsina state, Aminu Masari announced that the Governors of the region have decided to grant amnesty to the bandits as parts of measures to restore peace to the zone.

The Governor in the shortsighted decision thought the amnesty would work but on the other hand gave the criminals more leverage to make demands from the government and kidnap more innocent citizens in the zone. However, the region has continued to suffer mercilessly from the hands of these kidnappers in spite the huge amount of money paid by the government to the criminals.

It is unfortunate that the leadership of the region has refused to tackle the issue of insecurity from the foundation. They would rather prefer to cure the symptoms rather than the disease. The foundational problem of the north is inability of the leadership of the region to prioritise the education need of the people. There is no doubt that responsible members of the society are products of qualitative education.

The failure of the leaders of the north to priortise quality education over the years has crippled the economic prospects of the north and has also heightened the insecurity challenges which are products of illiteracy and idleness. The National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-formal Education (NMEC) in 2019, announced that 35 percent of Nigeria’s adult population (age 15 and above) are illiterates. Considering the level of commitment to education in the north, there is no doubt that a larger part of the percentage emanated from the region.

Also due to the almajiri system in the north, the number of out of school children swelled from 10.2 million in 2019 to 14 million in 2020 with the northern region being the worst hit. It is important that the leaders in the north must realize that the antidote to the insecurity challenge in that part of the country is an aggressive approach to delivery of qualitative and quantitative education to the children in the region. If 2021 is like this, one can imagine what that part of the country would be like in ten to fifteen years’ time.

Almajiri Children
Almajiri Children

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