EDITOR-in-CHIEF of The Guardian Martins Oloja has warned Nigerians to be wary of those he described as ‘crisis entrepreneurs,’ stressing that their activities were worsening banditry in Nigeria.
Speaking at a webinar organised by The ICIR on Thursday themed, ‘Nigeria’s Insecurity: Addressing the Challenges of Banditry and Kidnapping,’ Oloja said the perception of the public was that some people were benefitting from crisis ravaging the country.
According to him, some authors had alerted the public of ‘crisis entrepreneurs’ who were beneficiaries of insecurity in the nation.
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“It appears that banditry has become a big business. So, how do we deal with crisis entrepreneurs? How do we deal with the Federal Government of Nigeria within the context of injustice, within the context of dominance?” he asked.
The ace journalist wondered why the Federal Government was reluctant to dialogue with bandits and solve insecurity challenges ravaging the country.
“We have at this moment a Fulani man in office and in power. Why is it that Sheik Gumi, Senator Shehu Sani and some others are able to get all these bandits to a point of dialogue? Why is it that the military authorities and indeed the Federal Government have not been enthusiastic about using dialogue to end this banditry, to even reduce banditry? Why the reluctance of the authorities?” he queried.
He also condemned increased budgeting for insecurity when the nation was earning lower revenues and called for probe into crisis commercialisation in the nation.
Oloja also hinted that the Hausa people in the North had been conquered by the Fulanis and they could no longer talk.
“What of injustice to the Hausa people in the North? We need to deepen our understanding. Of all the emirates in the North, how many of them are of Hausa origin? We are beginning to read that history, how the Fulani people also conquered the Hausas in the past, took their cultures, language and gave them religion. We are beginning to see that now. The Hausa people are silent and nobody is talking about them.”
On his part, former Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Usman Yusuf called for dialogue with bandits, saying that banditry was a social problem, rather than a military issue.
Yusuf, who was a keynote speaker at the event, explained that he had been involved in dialoguing with the bandits because insecurity in the country could consume Africa’s biggest economy.
“We know the injustices that have been done to the Fulanis over generations before we were born. They are one people that do not own land in this country. Their cows are rustled; there are a lot of injustices, usually by the local authority, local judges, local police and local police officers. They would sell their cattle. All these injustices are catching with us,” he said.
He frowned at what he described as government increasing militarisation of what was essentially a social problem and emphasised that dialogue was the best option to end banditry and kidnapping in the nation. “There is a crucial role for the military, but there is no military solution to this conflict,” he stated.