From MATTHEW UKACHUNWA – Lagos
Famous lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, has said the root causes of insecurity in Nigeria include financial recklessness of government, corruption, lack of economic empowerment, injustice, ignorance, neglect of the youth and concentration of wealth in the hands of few citizens.
Falana, therefore, advised that the state has to direct its policy to ensure that the material resources of the nation were harnessed and distributed as best as possible to benefit every citizen.
Furthermore, he warned that the economic system must not be operated in a manner that will permit the concentration of wealth and its arrogant display in the hands of a few people alone.
Falana regretted that the constitution’s provision on security was not kept and upheld by the government.
He said this in Lagos on Tuesday at the year 2012 Press Week of the Lagos Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), where he spoke on the topic: NIGERIA’S DEMOCRACY AND INSECURITY: THE WAY FORWARD.
He quoted Section 14 (2) of Nigeria’s Constitution which states that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government and the participation of the people in their government shall be ensured in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
“Today, you will agree with me that these provisions of our constitution are never respected by the government,” Falana frowned.
He recounted how Nigeria has lost trillions of Naira to corruption and looting.
According to him, “last year, 245 million Naira was looted from fuel subsidy.”
At the end of the year, he continued, the Ministry of Finance recommended the payment of 2.3 trillion for fuel subsidy and the governor of the Central Bank without warrant, without an amendment of the Appropriation Ac t released 2.3 trillion Naira.
Falana who was to be a discussant at the e vent became the chief speaker due to the absence of the guest lecturer, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State.
Moreover, the rights activist pointed out that between year 2006 and 2009, a total of 4.2 trillion Naira earned by the country was not remitted to the Federation Account by ministries and other departments of government, including the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“NNPC alone did not remit 1.2 trillion. Now, those who should be standing trial aor who at best should be offering explanation to Nigerians have come out to say that the best way to solve the problem of the economy is to dismiss 50 per cent of the workforce,” he said.
Turning to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and its governor, he condemned the donations by CBN governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi to charity.
“Ours is the only governor of Central Bank in the world that has reduced that institution to a charitable organization!” Falana exclaimed.
He recollected how a sum of 500 million Naira was on an occasion given to a university which awarded the CBN leader a honorary doctorate degree.
Falana also remembered that Sanusi donated 200 million Naira to victims of Boko Haram attack in Kano, and gave out another 25 million Naira elsewhere were similar attack by Boko Haram happened.
“I have never read of the governor of a Central Bank anywhere in the world donating money,” the lawyer complained.
He also raised alarm over the rising rate of kidnapping in Lagos which is not reported in the media.
Citing example, he stated that two weeks ago an Indian was kidnapped in Lagos, and the Indian community in the state “have to cough out about 20 million Naira” to secure freedom for the kidnapped victim.
“Likewise, a few weeks ago, a couple was going to church around Shangisha area of the state when kidnappers stopped them, asked the husband to come down from the car and took his wife and the couple’s car away,” he said.
Relating the disclosure of victims of the kidnapped, Falana said that their abductors claimed that they were also university graduates, but that society has treated them so badly so they are having it back on members of the society.
He added that kinappers make about 750 million Naira per month in the South East of Nigeria.
He, therefore, maintained that insecurity will persist unless the problems of injustice, lack of empowerment of the majority of the people and unemployment are addressed, among others.
From MATTHEW UKACHUNWA – Lagos