Friday, May 14, 2021

50 percent of Africans under 19, vulnerable to terrorism — Security expert


Jaafar Jaafar
Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
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A security expert, Ona Ekhomu says 50 per cent of Africans under the age of 19 remain vulnerable to terrorism.
Mr Ekhomu, who is a Sociology lecturer at the University of Lagos, made the remark in a lecture he delivered at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College Jaji, Kaduna State.
The paper presented to students of Course 40 of the college is entitled: `International and Regional Mechanism for counter terrorism and counter insurgency operation.’
According to him, high population, poverty and illiteracy were fuelling insurgency in Nigeria and other parts of Africa.
“Our birth rate is too high in Africa, we give birth to a lot of people and we don’t have an ageing population.
“That group is a very energetic group, if you are aware, Nigeria has 10.5 million Out of School Children.
“The north east alone where we have the Boko Haram conflict, we have even more in that area, so what that means is that you have a breading ground for security challenges now and even in the future,” Mr Ekhomu said.
He further said Nigeria and other countries in the continent must look back and address the challenges in education, unemployment and in relating with the youth to galvanise them to positive thinking.
“We need to walk back from that and start addressing some of those questions of education, youth unemployment and also the messaging to the youth.
“Because when you give a message of hope, then people will probably work without getting into criminal, defiant or even terrorism behavior, but if there is no hope, then people will feel they have nothing to loose.
“It is the role of government to give that message of hope and to ensure that citizens are not  forgotten wherever they are. As we say, citizens lives matter,” he explained.
Mr Ekhomu described the Nigerian Armed Forces as the greatest in Africa, adding that, “they have the capability, resources, leadership to keep the country safe and also help regional neighbours by keeping them safe too.
“We have seen the Boko Haram transform into a regional threat and so we have to have the ability to push back and contain them.”
However, In his  remarks, the Commandant of the college, Lawal Shittu-Alao, an Air Vice-marshal challenged the students to come up with sound strategies to address the recurring security challenges in the country.
“For the officers you have to start thinking outside the box; we want you at the end of this course, with all the lectures you received, be able to come up with strategies on how to turn around the security challenges facing the country.
“Let us continue to ponder on strategies we will use to combat the security challenges facing the country.” the commandant stressed.
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