Kaduna State Governor Uba Sani has said poverty and unemployment are responsible for the banditry and kidnapping bedeviling the Northwest.

He said the solution to the security challenges in the region lies in ensuring that the residents get good governance from those in positions of authority.

Sani said this while hosting members of the state’s Elders’ Forum, led by General Zamani Lekwot (retd.) and Alhaji Abubakar Mustapha, at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim Government House yesterday in Kaduna on his election victory at the Supreme Court.

He said as Kaduna State intensified military actions against banditry and kidnapping with the support of the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) to build two additional Forward Operation bases in the state, his administration was also adopting good governance as the best non-kinetic solution to the security challenges.

The governor, who decried the increasing number of out-of-school children must also be addressed to ensure a secured state and region, added that the state was getting $28 million support from Kuwait to help the education of such children.

Sani said: “The Chief of Defence Staff, the Chief of Army, and the Chief of Air Staff have assured us of their support to our security efforts. They have decided to set up two Forward Operation Bases (FOBs) in Kaduna: one in Southern Kaduna, at Zangon Kataf to be precise; and another in Birnin Gwari, to serve Birnin Gwari down to Giwa. The FOBs will be set up in the next three weeks.

“This is one of the most important interventions by the Defence Headquarters because we have always said that we need more boots on the ground and we need the support or the military generally, and we are grateful that we are having that support.

“We also announced last week that we would be setting up a security trust fund. By the grace of God, tomorrow (today), I would be signing the Bill for the Establishment of Security Trust Fund 2024. We are amending the one that is obsolete and coming up with a new one. This will give room for the private sector to come in and work with us.

“We are also looking at the non-kinetic approach to addressing the security challenges. But the issue of non-kinetic approach is not just about talking with the bandits, negotiating, and asking them to submit their weapons; that is only one aspect of it.

“The most important aspect of non-kinetic approach is good governance. No matter how much we talk and try to bring about peace, if we don’t look at the area of good governance, we will never end the problem of insecurity in northern Nigeria in particular.

“People always talk about how the problem of insurgency was ended in the Northeast. But insurgency is not the same with the problem of banditry and kidnapping that we have in the Northwest. The Northeast issue was about people that came from nowhere and talk about an ideology of Boko Haram.

“What we have in the Northwest is an economic problem where people kidnap and ask for money. What brought about that? It’s hopelessness, lack of education, and lack of economic prosperity.”

“The problem of the Northwest is lack of education and financial exclusion. Over 85 per cent of the people in the Northwest are either not educated or financially excluded. So, there is poverty. If we don’t address the poverty by supporting our farmers and increase productivity, we will not address the problem of insecurity.

“So, we need to look at the issue of good governance; it’s key. Many states in the Northwest, including Kaduna, have a large number of out-of-school children, which is unacceptable. Even access to healthcare, which is not a privilege but a right, is poor.

“Education is the greatest enabler. So, we must educate the children of the poor to compete favorably with the children of the rich. If we don’t do that, the problem of insecurity cannot be addressed…”

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