By Sunday Ani, Lagos
The convener of the New Nigeria Group (NNG) and presidential aspirant in the upcoming election in 2023, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, has called on the federal government to, as a matter of urgency, convoke a national consultative assembly where representatives of Nigeria’s ethnic nationalities, professional and civic groups, and every other significant group in the country, would be invited to brainstorm and proffer solutions to Nigeria’s worsening security situation.
He made the call at a press conference held in Lagos, where he also warned that the country was tilting fast towards anarchy.
He decried Wednesday’s series attacks in multiple states: in Zamfara villages, where 30 locals were killed; in Niger State, where a military camp was razed,; a police station in Enugu; and a private university in Kaduna, where students were kidnapped, saying the developments indicate that Nigeria is at war with itself.
He warned that the federal government’s measures of deploying more policemen, creating community policing, deploying more soldiers, and giving more money to the security agencies to acquire more arms and equipment to combat insecurity have not improved the situation.
He also cautioned those who think that the solution to the security crises lie in the establishment of more regional and religious militias like Amotekun, Hisbah, and Ebube Agu, among others, saying that the danger in leaving arms in the hands of state and non-state actors is that very soon everybody would be bearing arms in Nigeria, a development he deplored as bad for the country.
‘I really don’t think that full militarisation of our country will solve the problem in a sustainable manner. We are daily and gradually getting overwhelmed by the rise of non-state militant actors and we need to stop trying to treat the festering symptoms only, but also to deal with the root causes, which are injustice, unemployment and poverty,’ he said.
He, however, made it clear that what he was calling for is neither restructuring of the country nor secession.
‘My call is to request our political leaders to immediately convoke a national consultative assembly of all the ethnic nationalities and fathers of the nation to discuss how to calm the nation, starting with addressing all issues of injustice, real or perceived.
‘For many years, calls for state and community policing were ignored, but now, we are arming all kinds of militia. Let us listen to the citizens and quickly respond to their needs and worries. It will be cheaper than buying more arms to kill ourselves. Money that should be used to build direly needed economic and social infrastructure is being wasted on buying arms and other military equipment to kill mostly fellow Nigerians.’