The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. (Dr) Mudashiru Obasa, has described Nigeria as a country that desires true federalism as part of the solutions to the nation’s security crisis.
Dr. Obasa stated this on Wednesday at the 2022 National Congress and Scientific Conference of the Nigerian Psychological Association held at the Lagos State University.
The Speaker, who was awarded Honourary Fellow of the academic body, lamented that insecurity had continued despite the federal government’s deployment of financial and other resources to its fight.
He also urged the federal government muster the political will to implement the recommendations of different panels and committees that have investigated immediate and remote causes of insecurity in the country.
Represented by Hon. Victor Akande, chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Public Petitions and LASIEC, Obasa further advocated for sincere national mediation, negotiation, arbitration, reconciliation, and broad amnesty as modern conflict resolution strategies where necessary.
Speaking on the topic, ‘Security and National Sustainability’, Obasa described Lagos as one of the safest states in the country owing to the proactive efforts of all the tiers of government in the state.
“Here in Lagos State, we’ve taken preventive steps to ensure that law and order do not collapse for no good reason. We established the Neighbourhood Safety Corps because we are aware of the critical need for quick response from local security officers at the grassroots level.
“The state government’s efforts, led by the Neighbourhood Safety Corps and aided by the other security officers on the ground, have made Lagos a secure place to live for everyone.
“There is, however, reason to believe that the federal government would support the same objective by establishing a state police force. Community preventative policing, as opposed to curative policing, is crucial for maintaining national security in light of the current state of affairs. Constant contact between the security agencies and community people is necessary to get the country out of its current situation.
“At the same time, all three tiers of government should work to significantly cut spending on administration, which includes things like defence and domestic security. As one might expect, this is crucial if we want to see progress in the real sectors of the economy,” Obasa said.
The Speaker, while noting that military action and confrontational approach tend to increase violence rather than decrease tension, added: “to rehabilitate all militants who embrace reconciliation, however, we need to place a greater emphasis on the concepts of mediation, negotiation, arbitration, reconciliation, and broad amnesty as modern conflict resolution strategies.
“The principle of true federalism advocated by militants in the Niger Delta and other groups should be adopted because it guarantees genuine political autonomy and the right to control resources.
“In a similar vein, the federal government and other stakeholders in Nigeria’s violent sociopolitical and ethnically based crisis need to muster the political will to carry out the recommendations of the numerous panels and committees set up to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the crisis.”
He attributed insecurity to a number of factors including the country’s inheritance of a faulty security structure and the failure of successive governments to effectively restructure the system.
Beyond impacting knowledge, the Speaker tasked tertiary institutions to be interested in the affairs of the nation as part of their contributions to the sustenance of national progress.
He commended the NPA and LASU for honouring him as he promised to continue to play roles for the advancement of Nigeria.
Earlier in his address, Prof. Olukayode Afolabi, President of NPA, lamented the security situation of the country saying it now affects every facet of Nigeria’s development and forcing investors away.
Among other suggestions, he said there was an urgent need to bring psychologists into the recruitment and development processes of security personnel.
On her part, Prof Adenike Boyo, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics) of LASU who represented the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, expressed hope that the 5-day conference would add value to Nigeria’s development.