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Nigeria can survive insecurity with good leaders – FUTO VC – The Punch

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Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Prof Nnenna Oti
Nigeria can survive the security challenges in the country with good leaders and good governance at all levels, the Vice-Chancellor of Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Prof. Nnenna Oti has said.
She also traced the origin of insecurity to the Niger Delta struggles for which Presidential Amnesty was granted to militants.
According to her, the majority of insurgents in the country, including separatist agitators made up of misguided youths had been misled to cause mayhem in the country.
The VC stated these in a paper obtained by The PUNCH on Tuesday titled: “Education as a tool for ending youth involvement in insecurity”, delivered during the national security summit organized by the National Association of Nigerian Students in Abuja.

The summit, among other things, was part of the resolve by NANS to engage stakeholders on the alarming spate of insecurities, being witnessed across the country, particularly as it affects the educational sector and youth development.
Oti stressed the need for Nigeria to invest massively at all levels of the educational system.
She said that given the nature of youths as catalysts for action and dynamic social change, they overcome the temptations of succumbing to the ploys of purveyors of violence as unwary collaborators.

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The insecurity challenges facing the country, Oti said, was as a result of unemployment, injustice and pandemic corruption in the system.
She said, “There are no quick fixes, and they can be no magical solutions to Nigeria’s numerous problems. The good news is that we have the potential to truly become the giant of Africa and a great country that provides for all of its citizens an enabling environment to succeed and live useful and joyful lives.
“The good news is that we have the potential to truly become the giant of Africa and a great country that provides for all of its citizens an enabling environment to succeed and live useful and joyful lives. Below, are some of my humble suggestions (to the insecurity): We need good leaders and good governance at all levels.
“We need as a matter of great urgency to invest massively at all levels of our educational system, not just Universities and other tertiary institutions. We must diversify our economy, to go beyond oil and gas revenues. We must strengthen our economy, to become net exporters, and not net importers, improve our industrial and manufacturing base. We must create jobs and employment for our young people.”
She also said that given the nature of youths as catalysts for action and dynamic social change, they were usually prone to aligning with any group that promotes some populist ideology especially when it purports to alleviate perceived social problems like unemployment, lack of social amenities, infrastructural deficits, hunger and political exclusion or marginalization.
The VC stressed that innocent youths and those who were carried away by religious and ethnic sophism “have often been misled to either connive or join forces with groups perpetrating all manner of mayhem against the state.”

“This has over time in our country manifested as insurgency in the North East, banditry in the North West, disturbing separatist agitations in the South East and South West, kidnappings for ransom, herders and farmers clashes and a general climate of insecurity across the land.

“Credible evidence and objective data clearly indicate that majority of these insurgents and criminal elements are made up of misguided youths (even though their sponsors are usually older adults who should know better!). This scenario captures and typifies the Nigerian conundrum where some segments of unwary youths have embarked on a mindless mission to create fear and panic among the populace”, she said.
The VC also suggested that in enlisting education as a strategy for combating insecurity and restoring the nation’s sense of safety in communities, the full breadth of the educational system in Nigeria must not only be involved but must be re-invented and repositioned for effectiveness.”
According to her, in the most recent history, particularly after the civil war, the most glaring foundation of the current insecurity situation engulfing Nigeria “is traceable to the Niger Delta crisis.’
Oti said, “Beginning in the 1990s as a mild agitation, it snowballed into a formidable and nearly uncontrollable militancy that fully engaged the security agencies including the military for a season until the negotiated unconditional pardon/Amnesty took hold and calmed the situation.
“Vestiges of the Niger Delta crisis, quickly showed up in the South East in the years immediately following as some elements of the militant group in the Niger Delta who refused to surrender their arms poured into Abia and Imo states, where they resorted to kidnappings as a means of livelihood.
“This phenomenon shook the entire South East (leading to the mass exodus of investors from the region), almost decimating the commercial/industrial city of Aba.
“Following closely at the hills of these South East crises was the flaring up of the simmering age-long Jos crisis sometime between 2007 and 2010. This nagging issue in the Plateau region has on some occasions been attributed to sectarian violence, cultural clashes and land disputes. Whatever the cause, it took its toll on lives and the nation’s economy and engendered a high sense of insecurity in the land.

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“Perhaps the most direct effects on our educational system came with the Boko Haram insurgency.”
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