The Minister of State for
Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, has called for educational reforms in the North to complement efforts in fighting the Boko Haram insurgency.
Obanikoro made the call in Owerri, last Saturday during the second memorial lecture in honour of late Prof. Celestine Onwuliri, the former Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology (FUTO), who died in the Dana air crash in May 2012.
In a lecture titled: “Security and National Development”, Obanikoro said for insurgency to be eradicated in the North, there must be a reform of the educational system to help bridge the education gap in the area.
He said that the consequences of mass illiteracy in the North and the politics of underdevelopment had contributed to the birth of Boko Haram insurgency.
The minister said: “Educational vacuum has been created in the North, which Boko Haram is exploiting to pursue its subversive ideologies.’’
According to him, Kebbi, Sokoto, Bauchi, Jigawa, Yobe, Zamfara, Katsina and Gombe state have Nigeria’s worst girl-child education record and the highest female illiteracy rate.
He said that Nigeria could not achieve any greatness if any part of this country was left behind in the nation’s drive to provide education for the citizens.
Obanikoro said that members of the Boko Haram sect believed that “western education is a sin’’, adding that such was a wrong ideology caused by illiteracy.
The minister said politicians must be very careful with the way they play politics with Boko Hara insurgency and warned that politicising the war against insurgency can be counter-productive.
The minister said that there could not be any sustainable development without peace and security in a country, noting that the fight against insurgency had become an unfortunate distraction in the efforts of government to give dividends of democracy to its citizens.
He said that the drive for development had suffered a great setback in the North as a result of insurgency as resources meant for development were being used to fight the war.
“Some of the ongoing projects in the North have been impeded by the challenges of insecurity. Some potential investors in the area are being discouraged by the threats of insecurity,” he said.
Obanikoro urged every Nigerian to collaborate in the fight against insecurity in the country,
He said that the war against insurgency should not be left in the hands of the Federal Government alone.
Obanikoro said state and local governments in the country must play a crucial role in the security challenges, and that security issues were better managed at the local level.
He said that the military would continue to strive till insurgency “is put to an end in the country’’.
The Minister of State for