27 April 2013

Nigeria: This Money Should Reach the Real Victims


The presidency has kick-started the implementation of the Sheik Ahmed Lemu-led committee report on the 2011 post-election violence with the release of over N5.7 billion to nine states of the federation. The amount, it said, would be disbursed directly to the victims in states like Katsina, Bauchi, Kano, Niger, Adamawa, Jigawa, Zamfara, Sokoto and Akwa Ibom.

Other states that were affected by the post-election violence that are yet to receive their own fund allocation are Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Kaduna and Nasarawa. The presidency said that their allocation would be released at the conclusion of an assessment exercise.

A breakdown of the amount to be disbursed shows that Katsina will receive a total of N1.97 billion, Bauchi N1.57 billion, Kano N944.8 million, Niger N433.3 million, Adamawa N420 million, Jigawa N208.6 million, Zamfara N93.2 million, Sokoto N55.8 million and Akwa Ibom N43.5 million.

It is good the federal government has released the fund, even though it is coming two years after the unfortunate incident that claimed hundreds of lives and property worth billions of naira. Nonetheless, the challenge before the state governments is to ensure that the recipients are the real victims.

The allocation should not be regarded as another tranche of security vote for the respective state governors. Neither should it be used to service political patrons. We are not unmindful of the fact that electioneering for 2015 will soon commence.

The 2011 post-election violence calls for an urgent appraisal of our public institutions vis-à-vis their raison d'etre. The clerics - imams and pastors in our various prayer centres - should do more in inculcating good morals in the worshippers. Both Islam and Christianity preach peace. Other government agencies for mass mobilisation, especially the National Orientation Agency (NOA), should seize the opportunity and do the needful. It is only under a peaceful environment that the country can make progress.

The politicians should also learn a lesson or two from the incident. They should desist from making statements that are capable of causing violence. Most of these politicians have their children schooling abroad, while the children of the poor are deployed to cause havoc.

The National Assembly should pass a bill that will make it mandatory for public officeseekers to be trained for a period of time on public conduct. Also, the various political parties should deploy more energy in building the institution of party politics based on defined philosophies rather than on the new dictum of "win at all cost" or "do-or-die" politics.

Already, ahead of the 2015 polls, the politicians have been saying that they are preparing for "war" and not election. They should be reminded that it is the constitutional right of every Nigerian to live in peace anywhere in the country irrespective of political affiliation.

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