By; Arc. KABIRU IBRAHIM
Insecurity is the foremost threat factor to the attainment of food security in Nigeria: The state governors in the North should work jointly and collectively to ensure the restoration of normalcy or the whole country will go hungry
It’s been nearly 15 years since Boko Haram began rearing its head in the North East first as a religious movement and later snowballed into a full scale pressure group against the entire establishment.
A lot of efforts, mainly through kinetic means have been deployed to stem it albeit, with marginal success. In other parts of the North, especially the North West and North Central, where most of our agricultural production take place, banditry and kidnappings are rampant so much that the farmers are discouraged from readily accessing their farms.
This has resulted in the reduction of sustainable food sufficiency, thereby impeding the attainment of food security in spite of the several intervention programs such as the CBN Anchor Borrower Programme, NALDA integrated farm settlements, FMARDA efforts and several other programs by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
Agriculture essentially takes place in the states and is on the concurrent list with the Federal Government spearheading the creation of an enabling environment through giving policy direction and encouraging stakeholder buy-in.
With these realities, it is very clear that the states have a very important role in bringing about Food Security to Nigeria but only if the security of life and property is guaranteed or assured.
Of cause, the states are not directly in charge of national security and the direct management of the security apparatus comprising the Police, Army and Civil Defence as well as several other institutions, but the governors of the various states are the chief security officers in their respective domains, so if they jointly and collectively pursue the issue of insecurity, more impact will be made.
While the call I am making is to the state governments of the North, it is imperative that the various state governments of Southern Nigeria also key into the drive for the restoration of security in order to ensure the attainment of sustainable food security in Nigeria.
The suggestions to the state governments are enunciated here, but the list is by no means exhaustive:
All efforts by all the state governments in the North to stem insecurity should come under one umbrella to be called; Northern Nigeria Security Initiative (NNSI) under the chairmanship of the chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum, assisted by a team headed by a director-general who knows what to do.
Each of the 19 states including the FCT should contribute 1,000,000,000, (one billion Naira only) each sustainably to a common pool beginning April 31, 2022, thereby pulling a large resource base at the end of December 2022.
The CBN should intervene with the sum of one trillion Naira within the same period.
A critical mass of 2,000 young able bodied youth to be paid an honorarium of 20,000 monthly from each of the 19 Northern States and probably FCT, to be recruited to form a ‘vigilante group’ to keep the peace among their recalcitrant peers but through ‘non-kinetic’ means.
The NDLEA should partner with each of the 19 state governments and FCT to proactively fight drug use and trafficking by impounding and destroying identified drug peddling enclaves or dens of drug dealers as well as abusers.
All the forests which now apparently provide safe-heaven to bandits and marauders should be combed, defoliated and in some cases, bulldozed as well as immediately converted into cultivable as well as irrigable land forthwith.
Regular town hall meetings in all villages and hamlets under the direct supervision of our revered traditional rulers should be convened continuously all over the North with a view to sensitizing everybody to the impending disaster facing the possible continued existence of the entire North and the whole country at large.
These suggestions and many more should be promptly pursued to mitigate the current tide of insecurity before the exit of the Buhari-led administration to avert the total collapse of our food system and the whole country, God forbid!
Arc Kabir Ibrahim FNIA, is the National President, All Farners Association of Nigeria (AFAN).