From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
The Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation has noted with serious concern myriad of socio-economic challenges bedeviling Nigeria; especially in Northern region.
The Foundation pointed out that the country is in deep socio-economic crisis because of poor educational system and disruption of academic activities in the tertiary institutions, economic backwardness, epileptic power supply and weak social and moral institutions, among others.
This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the 26th Joint meeting of the Board of Trustees and Advisory Council of the Foundation.
The communique was signed by the Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation, Abubakar Gambo Umar.
The communiqué read in part, “The meeting urged that the Federal Government should double its efforts to bring an end to the alarming rate of insecurities in the country which has instituted fear and uncertainty in the land, hampers people’s self-confidence, and endangers their mobility across the nation.
“This sad event also limits farmer access to their farmlands which results in lack of adequate food security in the country. Moreover, insecurity has contributed to the unbearable upsurge in the prices of food items and other essential amenities which makes life difficult for many Nigerians.
“We are calling on all concerned security agencies to check and control the escalating rate of kidnappings and several other acts of banditry which are on the prowl in almost all nooks and crannies of the country, especially the North. The unfortunate situation is a serious threat to the status of the country’s internal security, despite efforts and strategies put in place by the government to end the menace, the situation continues to spread unabated like wildfire, devastating lives, and properties of innocent citizens.
“The meeting condemned the broad daylight attack on the Kaduna International Airport by bandits and the deadly attack on the Abuja-Kaduna bound train that left many dead, wounded and several others abducted. These attacks are in addition to several other attacks on soft spots across the Northern region especially Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto, Taraba, Zamfara and Niger States.
“The meeting noted that the state of socio-economic unrest in the North will eventually turn everywhere to miasma of bloodletting. Therefore, necessary actions need to be taken immediately to prevent the occurrence of the predicted event.
“Members called for urgent steps to end the series of disruptions and suspensions of academic activities due to strike actions by the academic and non-academic staff unions of universities and polytechnics. These strikes have severe consequences on the prospects of our public tertiary institutions of learning across the Nation.
“The Foundation noted with concern that the ongoing strike will depreciate the quality of our educational sector, discourage students’ effort of academic excellence, risk some youths’ carrier goals by venturing into some anti-social vices such as internet fraud, robbery, banditry, among others that may compromise their future, undermine development of the North and a country that truly desires accelerated development and transformation.
“The incessant disruption of academic activities in the higher education sector is a dangerous threat that has consistently weakened the ambition of the upcoming generation and the government’s efforts to sustainable development of the country in the long-run.
“The level of a nation’s growth and development can be measured by the strength of its educational success and youths’ engagements; government must make it a priority.
We are, therefore, appealing to the Federal Government and the unions involved to quickly arrive at a common ground that would result to immediate resumption of academic activities in the country for the betterment of our teaming youth and upcoming future generation.
“The meeting pointed the negative impact that the COVID 19 pandemic laid on the Nigerian economy and the gradual revival through economic stabilizing policies put in place. The global economic effect of the 2020 had passed and countries are gradually reviving through carefully designed economic processes from 2021 to date. Nigeria should have been on the track to a sustainable economic growth and development. However, evident from the current rising inflation and fall in foreign exchange rate, fluctuation in crude oil prices and internal security challenges, the country’s economy is far from the path of speedy recovery.
“The vast socio-economic problems bedeviling the economy such as lack of capital formation, high rate of unemployment, inadequate infrastructure, neglect of the agricultural sector etc are still very virulent that require urgent attention by Government.
“That the soaring prices of commodities are heavily affecting many low- and middle-income families, which add to the stresses and frustrations of many citizens, making life unbearable for them in a nation that has adequate resources and vast arable, uncultivated land.
In view of the aforementioned problems, we are calling on the Federal Government through the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance to device sound Fiscal and Monetary Stabilization Policies that will properly tackle the current economic situation and prevent the economy from falling further.
“Electricity is a major determinant of economic growth and development of any nation, through which the desired development and improvement in the quality and standard of living of the citizens is achieved. We therefore, call on the relevant agencies to address the major causes of fall in aggregate supply of power and the provision of steady, adequate, affordable, and efficient electricity supply in the country.
“It is worthy to note that despite Government’s investment in the power sector, the country is still plagued by inadequate electricity supply and lack of reliability associated with the power supply, these constraints the economic activities of the country including some industries halting production which resulted to a fall in Gross Domestic Product.
“There is an urgent need to address some major problems confronting the power sector in Nigeria. There are a lot of issues associated with generation, transmission and distribution of power that are of serious concern, and needing prompt attention.
“The Foundation observed that acts of immorality have become pervasive in the Nigerian society to the extent that hardly a day will pass without the media reporting some serious acts of immorality in the various parts of the country. These acts of immorality which have eaten deep into the moral fabrics of the society and threatened peaceful coexistence include, banditry, drugs and substance abuse, armed robbery, kidnappings, rape and gender based violence, corrupt and sharp practices at all levels.
“That conformity to the acceptable societal culture, value and ethics are serious concern of every peaceful State. Statistics revealed that strict adherence to the norms and culture reduces the risk of anti-social vices and conducts; increase moral consciousness and ethical conducts among Nigerians.
“A strong education is universally accepted to be a powerful weapon that can correct the moral and values decadence in a country.
“The Foundation recommends for a total economic policy overhaul that will address the socio-economic unrest in the North and other parts of Nigeria. That if left unchecked it will eventually turn everywhere to a cloud of economic depression. Hence, necessary actions should immediately be taken to prevent the concurrences of the crises.
“We are appealing to the Federal Government and all the unions, especially ASUU to quickly arrive at a common ground that would see to the immediate resumption of academic activities in the country in the interest of our stranded teaming youth.
“We call on the Federal Government through the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance to device sound Fiscal and Monetary Stabilization Policies that will properly manage and solve the current economic downturn.
“There is an urgent need to address the major problems confronting the power sector in Nigeria, to increase productivity and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for a sustainable growth and development. Direct presidential intervention is hereby appealed for.
“Despite the myriad problems debilitating the progress of this nation, we call on Nigerians not to lose hope in the country; be optimistic and law-abiding citizens to sustain peace and effective leadership recruitment system and good governance as we are moving towards an electioneering period”.