Nigerians facing myriads of problems have identified security as a critical need in the New Year 2022 as 79-yearold President Muhammadu Buhari counsel in a message of hope.
As tension continue to flare due to the spike in banditry, kidnapping and other violent crime, President Buhari on Saturday assured the citizens that the country’s future would be written in gold.
Only two regions, South South and South West out of the six zones in Nigeria are in peace as the other four – South East, North Central, North West, and North East are embroiled in different violence, including insurgency, banditry, kidnapping, and secession violence.
Almost 100,000 have died since 2009 when insurgency hit North East Nigeria; and the spike in banditry and kidnapping has led to the death of more than 12,000 since 2019.
Secession violence is currently taking its toil on people of the five South East states.
President Buhari has confirmed that the magnitude of violence has overwhelmed the military and the police, the security institutions that are currently carrying out recruitment to boost its stock.
However sounding hopeful, the ex-military general Buhari asked citizens of the most populous nation in Africa to envision a 2022 of progress despite the challenges arising from security and socio-economic issues.
He said that the persistent insecurity in certain parts of the country may have threatened to unravel the incremental gains achieved in the real sectors of the economy and in the administration’s overall objective to position the nation on the irreversible trajectory of sustainable growth and progress, “but I assure you that we will remain resolute in our commitments and shall continue to press ahead with our programmes and plans’’.
The path to nationhood, he said, is often fraught with unpredictable difficulties and challenges, and most tried and tested nations have often prevailed through dogged determination, resilience, concerted commitment to unity, and the conviction that the whole of the nation, standing together against all odds, is by far greater and would ultimately be more prosperous and viable than the sum of its distinguishable parts.
“As it is said, the past is but a story told, the future will still be written in gold. Let us be united in our fight to keep our Nation united against all odds and with gratitude, celebrate life in this new epoch,’’ President Buhari said in a New Year message.
As the President continue to counsel the nation, various tribal and religious groups have seized the advantage of the New Year to voice their frustration and needs, all targeting the federal government.
The Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), a major ethnic group in the six South West states, said the country’s priority in the new year is the unveiling of a new federal constitution.
The Secretary-General of YCE, Dr. Kunle Olajide, said: “We must appreciate the resilience of our people, who, in spite of the challenges, still believe in the country. We must not fail to commend, to some extent, the Federal Government. It has done its best but it appears the best is not good enough for the country.
“In 2022, our first priority should be having a new federal constitution. Everybody who believes in Nigeria and loves the country must ensure the process of having a new constitution is set in motion.
The federal and the state governments must invest massively in agriculture to create employment and utilise the nation’s God-given resources for the people,” he said.
Another group representing elders of the 19 northern states on the platform of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), said Nigeria needs a peaceful coexistence under the watch of leadership with power that is humane in spirit, moral in purpose and wise in its uses.
The Secretary-General of ACF, Mr Anthony Sani, said: “I expect the political leadership to come together and sublimate their energies in making Nigeria feel young again with the promise of glorious days ahead by rewiring the politics, reengineering our sense of justice, making mercy smarter, making hope strategic and daring the rest of us to follow preparatory for elections of 2023.”
The National President, Nigeria Union of Teachers, Mr Nasir Idris Gwandu, said Nigerians should continue to pray for the country and its leaders.
“We really appreciate the efforts of the government and the security agencies in fighting bandits and other criminals. We hope that 2022 will be a good one and they will do better,” he said.
The Church of the Nation, a vibrant worship centre in Nigeria, said there is the need to be drastic improvement in the level of security Nigerians enjoy in their country.
Terrorist and bandits strike at will, kill and kidnap people in droves all over the north. They now hold territory and collect taxes in many parts of the North, and kidnapping for ransom has become a thriving multi-billion-naira industry. Kidnap incidents are taking place every day that do not make it to the media. This must change.
The security agencies must tackle this menace from the base – by targeting the sponsors of terror and cutting off their source of funds and arms, the Church said in a statement.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan urged Nigerians and other Africans to continue to work towards building inclusive, just and peaceful societies.
Jonathan noted that 2022 presents new opportunities to “build our nation for ourselves, our children and grandchildren .”
“Let us therefore live in love and unity, pursue peace and justice in all spheres and in all our engagements,” the statement noted.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar also urged Nigerians to commit themselves to the pursuit of peace and unity in the New Year.
He noted that in the New Year, Nigerians must seek to do “something different and, in doing so, let us become peace ambassadors of God.”
“The outgone year came and went with challenges, especially with the second, third and fourth waves of the dreaded Corona Virus Disease; sundry upsets that troubled the peace and security in different parts of the country; a depressing economy and many touching stories of tragedies.
“For Nigerians, who lost dear ones to these calamities, it is my prayer that God shall continue to comfort the bereaved families.’’
The National leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Bola Tinubu, has charged Nigerians to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts to curtail insecurity and other challenges confronting the country.
“Insecurity is here in many areas; we will battle and battle until it is subdued and extinguished from the face of the nation.’’
Meanwhile, the respected General Overseer, Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, Pastor Enoch Adeboye has recruited 1,000 prayer warriors to join him in praying for Nigeria and the world to overcome insecurity and COVID-19.
Adeboye said the people of the world had failed to realise that they have sinned against God and needed to repent of their sins.