Activist identifies cause of Nigeria’s underdevelopment

Posted by Adeyinka Akintunde, Lagos | 13 July 2016 | 2,254 times

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The Board Chairman, International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Mr. Emeka Umeagbalasi has described insecurity as the major cause of the underdevelopment Nigeria is currently facing.

He believes that Nigeria is acutely lacking in all indices of good governance and economic growth and development, and this can be traced to insecurity that Nigeria faces as a nation-state.

In a grassroots lecture organised by the Justice, Development & Peace Commission (JDPC) for Parishioners of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State, Umeagbalasi advised Nigerians to be knowledgeable about the constitution, and their society, in order to fight the underdevelopment in the country. For him, “by marrying the 1999 Constitution at all times just as they marry the Holy Bible and other sacred religious books, citizens’ awareness about their constitutionally guaranteed liberties and process of governance will not only increase, but will also offer them avenues of knowing the dos and don’ts or constitutional limits of the public office holders as well as their constitutional protections and civic responsibilities as citizens. When citizens are armed with requisite education and exposure, they will be better prepared to position themselves for noble societal roles of changing the country for better through citizens’ proactive participation.”

The graduate of Criminology & Security Studies defined security as “a duty of the government to ensure that majority of the citizens and their properties or belongings is secured at all times from the hands of malicious individuals and criminal entities.” He cited Section 14 (2) (b) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution where it is stated that the security and welfare of the people should be the primary purpose of the government, but according to him, Nigeria has failed in this regard.

He said: “Today, Nigeria is acutely lacking in all indices of good governance and economic growth and development. The country’s education is in quandary and its securitisation defense and intelligence have reached the nadir of failure and intractability. The state of the Federal Government’s 34,400 kilometres of the country’s total of 198,000 kilometres of road network as well as its 3,600 kilometres of railway is acutely nothing to write home about. The country’s existing road network is acutely overused and over-populated; likewise its 22 local and international airports.

“Nigeria’s 8,600 kilometers of inland waterways and its four trans-national borders are porously secured. The level of graft or official corruption in its institutions and corridors of power has risen to an apogee. Its energy sector has gone from bad to worst and the physical security sector is in comatose; with hundreds of defenseless and law abiding citizens being butchered with reckless abandon every monthly. To make the matter worse, Nigeria’s security forces are now fully involved in massacring of thousands of nonviolent, defenseless and unarmed citizens with rabid impunity.”

Umeagbalasi blames Nigeria for operating the “outdated National Policy on Security, hugely premised on gun-culture security”, which was last updated in the dying days of General Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime in 1979 in Nigeria, and has since been revised by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Human Development Report in 1994. He submits by advising that “the Church should invest heavily in adult literacy education to educate and empower its teeming parishioners with limited education. It is not only money that defies lateness at a fundraising occasion; education, too, and most importantly, defies lateness and has no age limits. We must particularly disassociate ourselves at all times from Prof. Jubril Aminu’s immortal but unpopular advice to members of the public to try illiteracy if they think that education is costly and unaffordable.”

•Photo shows Umeagbalasi delivering his lecture.

Source: News Express

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