Groups link poverty, corruption to insecurity in Nigeria
The officials of Journalists for Democratic Rights (JODER) and Ford Foundation, West African region, have said that the prevailing high rate of poverty and corruption in the country was responsible for the growing level of incidences of tension and violence in Nigeria, and urged the Federal Government to arrest the menace.
They also cautioned journalists against over-heating the polity by contributing meaningfully to nation building in order to deepen the nation’s democracy for purposeful development and growth.
Director of JODER, Mr. Adewale Adeoye, who spoke at a two-day summit on ‘Promoting Peace, Democracy and Stability in Nigeria through the Media, Socio-cultural Institutions and Youth-Driven Community-Based Groups,’ said Nigeria has searched endlessly for nationhood, saying that poverty and corruption have been the bane of development and growth since independence.
According to him, “There are real challenges. Several forces are threatening the advancement and consolidation of democracy. One of the greatest threats is poverty. A hungry man has various characteristics; he is angry, desperate, violent and deaf to reason. Poverty is manifesting in grievous images”.
Adeoye linked the present level of tension and crisis in the country to poverty and the damage corruption has inflicted on the economy, saying, “You can imagine the number of suicide cases that continue to increase and in desperation Nigerians are taking heart-rending risks.
“Over 10,000 people have died in the bid to cross the desert and Atlantic Ocean in search for survival, the home-front having become too hot to dwell in. The risks also involved kidnapping and wiping away entire families in the race for quick financial fix”.
Arguing further that the growing level of corruption has raised insecurity, Adeoye explained, “Millions of public funds end up in private pockets and democratic institutions have come under severe threats due to corruption and naked stealing of public funds.
“Today, we are confronting the problem of violence and unnecessary bloodletting. Thousands of people have been killed since 1999. Poor and vulnerable people are being killed. The rich are being killed. Armed and defenseless people alike are massacred. There is, in fact, a strong link between corruption and violence.
“Today, there is very big challenge. Our country is unstable. There are so many arms in circulation. The problem has been compounded by the crisis in the Magreb region. Hundreds of thousands of people are migrating to Nigeria, fleeing the trouble in the horn of Africa and in the Great Lake region”.
Besides, Odeoye also stressed that apart from these challenges, “we are today faced with bitter ethnic contests and our country remains divided. There is the lack of an inspiring national spirit, a compelling national ethos, a rallying ideology that stimulates the people”.
He called on Nigerians to join hands with the Federal Government to address the ills of the nation, saying, “Cutting the hate tree that brings forth bitter fruits of violence and killings is not the responsibility of government alone”.
Meanwhile, Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Muyiwa Adekeye, advised journalists to desist from reports that may likely plunge the nation into further crisis, and urged them to contribute their quota to the process of nation-building.