BY AMOS DUNIA, ABUJA – Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, has added his voice to the precarious challenges being faced in the country, saying that citizens in Nigeria are facing double suffering as they have to also contend with rising insecurity and violence across the country.
Jega, who spoke on the platform of ‘Nigeria Working Group on Peace-building and Governance’, also said that a high percentage of the nation’s population are living in absolute abject poverty, stressing that many more are starving.
These were contained in a statement titled, ‘Mr. President, Governors: The Time for Dialogue is NOW’, in which Prof Jega with the former Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, former Chief of Army and later Defence Staff, General Martin Agwai and former member of the House of Representatives, Dr. Usman Bugaje, noted that Nigerians are facing “double suffering” due to insecurity and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other members of the Nigeria Working Group on Peace-building and Governance include; Ambassador Fatima Balla, Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim, Mrs. Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode, Dr. Nguyan Feese, and Dr. Chris Kwaja.
The statement further states; “Nigeria, like the rest of the world is battling the coronavirus pandemic. However, citizens in Nigeria are facing double the suffering because they also have to contend with rising insecurity and violence across the country. “Kidnapping for ransom is an acute concern across Nigeria. The North-East is witnessing resurgence in Boko Haram activity, and thousands of people are internally displaced by banditry across rural communities in the North-West.
“Criminality in rural areas further complicates the situation by undermining food security, as many farmers have been unable to go to their farms for months for fear of losing their lives”.
They urged the Nigerian government to as a matter of urgency and necessity address the rising insecurity, if it is to succeed in the fight against the pandemic.
The group further said; “A recent USIP-commissioned survey in Nigeria found new linkages between COVID-19, instability, and conflict.