10 June 2018

Nigeria: ActionAid - Perceived Lack of Neutrality of Security Agencies Fuels Insecurity

Abuja — ActionAid Nigeria has lamented that perceived lack of neutrality and professionalism on the part of security agencies has manifested into diverse forms of insecurity across the country.

Chairman Board of Directors, ActionAid, Ms. Patricia Donli disclosed this yesterday in Abuja while addressing the state of the nation.

According to her, "there appears to be lack of synergy between security forces in the country. The security situation in Nigeria has continued to deteriorate as a result of perceived lack of neutrality and professionalism on the part of security agencies as well as a lack of synergy in operations and sharing of intelligence. This has resulted in the state of insecurity that has manifested in diverse forms across the country."

She equally decried the lack of mutual cooperation between the executive and the legislature in the spirit of the principles of separation of powers provided in the Nigerian constitution, despite the fact that these two branches are controlled by one party, noting that this lack of cooperation was undermining effective governance and service delivery.

Donli said ActionAid has noted with concern that despite Nigeria's endowment with natural and human resources, and a governance framework expected to ensure service delivery, poverty levels in the country have worsened to the extent that Nigeria has been named the country with the highest population of people who live in extreme poverty.

"Two years back the prevalence of the people living below poverty line is 54 per cent, but today as I speak to you, 82 million Nigerians are living below the poverty line of $1.9 per day and we are sliding into extreme poverty," she said.

The Board Chairman stressed that as Nigeria moves closer to the 2019 elections, there are widespread concerns that the credibility of the elections would be marred by undue ethnic religious and regional mobilisation; the role of money, reliance on violence and lack of respect for the rules of the game by political parties, candidates and political gladiators.

This, she noted, is currently manifested in inflammatory statements, grandstanding and the personal interest of the members of the political class. Donli said, "Despite being a democratic polity founded on the ideals of constitutionalism and the rule of law, Nigeria has continued to experience egregious violations of human rights especially extra judicious killings, involving security agencies, groups and individuals across the country. But this is buttressed by several local and international reports on the state of human rights in Nigeria.

"Governments at all levels have failed to give required priority and investment to the development of education. For instance, government has continuously failed to meet the required 26 per cent minimum budget allocation as recommended by UNESCO.

"Consequently, education at all levels has witnessed decline which has threatened the sustainability of our human capital development as well as reducing the level of poverty. Although the economy is out of recession, most Nigerians have slipped into extreme poverty," she noted.

ActionAid however called on the federal government to accelerate the implementation of the 2018 budget which has recently been passed by ensuring timely release of funds.

It urged the government to engage all necessary partnerships and strategies to end absolute poverty in Nigeria within the shortest possible time, while expressing optimism that if the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) policy is thoroughly implemented, it would reduce the population of people living in extreme poverty before the end of the policy timeline of 2020.

It also called on the National Assembly to carry out its constitutional responsibility of oversight in other to ensure that the budget translates to improved welfare for Nigerian citizens.

It said: We call on all security agencies to observe neutrality and professionalism while at the same time calling on the security agencies to intensify training and intelligence sharing which must include all stakeholders within the Nigerian security architecture.

"ActionAid Nigeria calls on government at all levels to develop a more holistic approach to repositioning the Nigerian educational system, including restructuring it to reflect the reality of modern day learning and making adequate investments to improve infrastructure and environment for learning", the organisation added.

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