Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Jonathan Reiterates Commitment to Tackle Unemployment, Poverty

Abuja President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday in Abuja reiterated that the Federal Government was committed to tackling unemployment and poverty in order to fight terrorism and other vices.

Jonathan gave the assurance while declaring open a two-day Peace and Security Summit organised by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

The president, who was represented by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, said the summit was timely given the present security situation in the country.

Commenting on the theme of the summit, "Comprehensive and Sustainable Peace and Security in a Plural Society: Extreme Challenges to Nigerian Internal Security, " the president said the summit was timely.

He said terrorism, kidnapping and other forms of threats to national security were capable of eroding the core values of the nation if not well handled.

"Bombing of innocent men and children by the terrorist groups coupled with the wide range of kidnapping must be seen as a direct attack on the core values and integrity of Nigeria.

"It will be recalled that poverty, unemployment have been identified as some of the root causes of our present security challenges.

" Government is, therefore, tackling the problem head on, on several fronts, " he said.

He reassured Nigerians of government's continued effort in canvassing for reconciliation to ensure that the nation's core democratic values were not undermined.

He further said that the Federal Government was opened to constructive suggestions from the NBA and other stakeholders on the way forward in dealing with insecurity in the country.

On his part, the Senate President, David Mark, said that the National Assembly had commenced the amendment of some laws on security to adequately face the challenges of insecurity in the country.

Mark said that the National Assembly was equally amending the law on kidnapping so as to adequately tackle the problem posed by the crime.

He pointed out that the National Assembly was ready to take a look at recommendations that would be made at the end of the summit in order to find lasting solution to insecurity.

" The National Assembly has gone extra mile to tackle the issue of terrorism.

"Arrangements are almost concluded to revise the terrorism law that was passed in 2011.

"We are ready to accept all recommendations that you find in our own law that require amendment.

Earlier, in her opening remarks, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Alooma Mukhtar, said dialogue was one of the key factors to peaceful coexistence in the country.

The CJN, who blamed the current insecurity on the plurality of the country, called on leaders to adopt a holistic approach in solving the problem.

"The plurality of ethnicity, religion and language in Nigeria, which is the primary cause of conflict and religious intolerance, has led to a number of conflicts.

"The relationship fractured by conflict must be restored as sustainable peace and democracy is unattainable without consensus, " she said.

The NBA President, Mr Okey Wali, called on the National Assembly to carry out a referendum on the proposed amendment to the constitution.

According to him, the NBA, in 2012, sent a proposal to the National Assembly for a referendum.

According to him, there is the need to seek the consent of the people before amending the constitution.

"We still maintain that only a referendum can assuage the yearnings of the people, " he added.(NAN)

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