Former President Goodluck Jonathan says Nigeria’s democracy and nationhood are under threat from terrorism, adding that the pursuit of peace may not be achieved in isolation of the pursuit of justice and other human security needs.
Jonathan said this at the public presentation of a research report, ‘Terrorism and Banditry: The Nexus,’ conducted by the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation (GJF), which held in Abuja, yesterday.
“The challenges posed by banditry, terrorism and other associated crimes threaten our human essence and the essential values of our democracy and nationhood,” said Jonathan, who is the Chairman of GJF.
He said, “Our pursuit of peace cannot be achieved in isolation of the pursuit of justice and other human security needs.
“This is so because peace is the bridge that links poverty to prosperity, reconciles hope with despair and imposes order on chaos.
“There is no doubt that our nation is plagued by many crises and these challenges have continued to threaten our fate and shared destinies.
“We have lost our loved ones, lost millions of properties and investment because of insecurity.
“This is why the GJF considered it apt to undertake this research with a view to engaging the relevant stakeholders towards an improved security,”
According to him, the crisis facing Nigeria required sacrifice and urgency of actions from all stakeholders, adding “We must, therefore, show commitment to peace, in words, in action and in all other necessary means.”
The report, he said was proof of the foundation’s commitment to its vision of promoting peace and prosperity, adding that they thought it appropriate to undertake the research with a desire to engage relevant stakeholders for improved security.
He said, “As a leader, I have been privileged to preside over the affairs of this nation for five years.
“I appreciate the challenges that come with nation building and the burden associated with pursuing peace and building trust in times of crises.”
“We have come to share thoughts on how to better manage and address the challenges of internal security that are affecting all Nigerians, irrespective of political affiliation, ethnic group and state of origin.
“This report we are presenting today contains some observations and recommendations on the challenges of banditry and other human security concerns in our nation.
“The report is by no way conclusive and complete in itself; that is why stakeholders have been invited to discuss the way forward and suggest more solutions beyond those put forward in the research,” Jonathan said.
In her remarks, the GJF Executive Director, Ms Ann Iyonu, said that the presented report interrogated the trends and drivers of the crises in the North-West.
Iyonu said that the reports also interrogated the impact and implications to internal security whether human or physical.
“It also proffers strategies and actions required by various stakeholders at both national and sub-national levels to address the challenges of internal security; terrorism and banditry in Nigeria,” she said.
Iyonu said that the militancy, violent extremism and enrolment into gangs and sects engaged with violent crimes had been on the ascent within Nigeria.
“Overlapping security crises, from kidnapping to extremist insurgencies, in almost every corner of the country threatening the nation’s development and its cooperate existence as a nation.
“As a foundation, we recognise that the existence of peace, security, stability and governance is germane in the quest for achieving sustainable development on the African continent.
“A look at the development pattern across the ages and the social standing of nations buttress the point that growth and development are relative to the conscious effort it makes at promoting peace and security,” Iyonu said.
She also expressed her thought on the ongoing debate as to the ideal description of what was going on in the North-West, whether it was banditry or terrorism, as well as the appropriate policy response required.