French Ambassador urges more dialogue as stakeholders decry escalating banditry, food insecurity in Zamfara

Posted by News Express | 10 December 2020 | 550 times

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•French Ambassador to Nigeria, Jerome Pasquier


French Ambassador to Nigeria, Jerome Pasquier, has said that Nigeria can surmount its security challenges, particularly banditry, if the Nigerian government and other local and religious authorities in communities would dialogue more.

The French envoy, while noting that the northern region, particularly Zamfara State, is bedeviled with violence, low access to education among others, said the challenges cannot be resolved through the interventions of non-governmental organisations and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) alone.

According to him, all actors must be engaged and dialogue remains key.

Pasquier was represented by the Head of Cooperation and Cultural Affairs, Rafael Pont, at an interactive meeting to improve security, peace development in Zamfara State organised by Pastoral Resolve (PARE) with funding from the French Embassy PISCCA Project in Abuja.

“One of the key things in resolving this crisis is dialogue, engaging all the actors on ground, the political side, local authorities, traditional rulers and leaders. So, it’s not only one NGO or CSO that has the power to resolve everything, it's a matter of tackling the challenges together,” he said.

The Project Coordinator, PARE, Umar Maraduna, regreted that security challenges in Zamfara state has only escalated since the mid-2000 decade, resulting in the current state of insecurity and consequently high level of poverty and food insecurity.

According to him, Zamfara State is at the epicenter of the ongoing crises of insecurity characterised by cattle rustling, kidnapping of persons for ransom, raiding and mass killings, particularly in the rural areas, in the north-western part of Nigeria.

Maraduna further regrets that despite the numerous efforts by state governments to engage with the citizens, they have generally been inadequate since most of the institutions of government have inadequate capacity and experience in analyzing and addressing social, economic and environmental crises, which are the major derivers of insecurity.

He however, expressed optimism that the meeting will provide another platform to discuss the problems in Zamfara State with the view to creating a broader understanding of existing opportunities for intervention.

Nasir Usman, Director, Zamfara state Directorate of Non-Governmental Organisations while analysing the impact of insecurity in food production, said the state’s production dropped by 30 percent.

According to him, the hardest hit regions are the most fertile farmlands were the most foods are produced.

Source: News Express

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