Why Nigeria is unsafe – Senator Gumel

Sen. Abdullahi Gumel has said that poor development and lack of social
amenities at the border towns across the country were major reasons
for continued conflicts and insecurity.

Gumel, Chairman Senate Committee on States and Local Governments, made
this assertion in an interview with newsmen at the end of the
committee's oversight visit to National Boundary Commission and Border
Community Development Agency in Abuja.

The lawmaker attributed the challenge to poor funding of border
agencies, leading to insecurity and growing conflict in over 90
communities across the country.

He said the poor funding of the agencies, which were critical to
conflict resolution and provision of projects in border towns, was
worrisome.

The lawmaker said that the committee discovered during its oversight
that capital release for each of these agencies was only 10 per cent
in seven months, adding that it was grossly inadequate.

He stressed that the agencies had not been able to carry out their
mandates effectively, leading to sabotage and lack of allegiance from
Nigerians, particularly for those in border towns.

"I know we have conflict in about 96 communities across the local
governments as well as interstate conflicts.

"Ideally, the zonal offices of the National Boundary Commission ought
to be up and doing in notifying the headquarters of looming conflict
to ensure proactive measures that would prevent crisis.

"Unfortunately, that is not happening for lack of funds.

"We appreciate what the commission is doing with meagre resources, and
we promise to get to the Executive arm to increase ensure increased
funding," he said.

Gumel said a lot needed to be done in securing the allegiance of
border towns to prevent sabotage or security concerns.

He further noted that the Border Community Development Agency, in
particular, was very important in providing basic amenities and should
be adequately funded.

"We have 22 states out of the 36 states and Abuja, which have border
either with other countries or with the Atlantic Ocean.

"We are very conscious of the security implication of not taking care
of our border towns.

"When they are not taken care of, they will be attracted to other
countries, which are willing to provide medical care, schools, water
and other amenities.

"In one of our oversights we went to Banke, a border town, that is
separated by road between Nigeria and Cameroon.

"In the night you will see light in the Cameroon part but no light in
the Nigerian part. Even the network they are using is from Cameroon.

"In a situation where our border communities are not enjoy such
amenities including education and medical care among others, it will
be difficult to stop any act of sabotage from such country.

"However, if same amenities are made available to them by the Nigerian
government, if there is any sinister move, they would quickly alert
the necessary authority," he said.

Gumel said that all hands must be on deck to tackle the menace, noting
that a lot of prominent Nigerians were from border states and could
not afford to allow such to continue.

He said, "the President is from Katsina, which is a border state, the
Vice President is from Ogun State, which is also a border state.

"Also, the President of the Senate is from Kwara, which is a border
state. I am from Jigawa, which is also a border state.

"So, we are all aware of the challenges these people are facing and
much more needed to be done to tackle the negative effect this is
having on the economy."
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