Legal activist, Femi Falana, declared on Thursday, that Nigeria has become a failed state; regretting that the government has lost the monopoly of violence to the armed gangs.
Besides, he pointed out that apart from the manipulation of ethnicity and religion and the use of brute force the federal and state governments have run out of ideas and are incapable of finding lasting solutions to the worsening security challenge facing the country.
Falana, a guest speaker at Omotoye Olorode @80 Commemorative Anniversary Public Lecture was speaking on: “Labour and the Quest for Nigeria’s National Development: Reflections and Prognosis on the Way Forward.”
He spoke at an event which was chaired by the former Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) boss, Attahiru Jega.
According to Falana: “It is crystal clear that the neocolonial state has lost the monopoly of violence to the armed gangs. That is a sign of failed state.”
He added: “The negotiations between bandits in power and bandits in the bush have yielded no positive results. Since 2009, the armed forces have been waging counter-insurgency operations in the North-East region. Realising that the armed forces are ill-equipped and ill-motivated the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, General Yusuf Buratai has predicted that the war on terror will last for another period of 20 years.
“Since the Nigeria Police Force has been demobilised from maintaining law and order by successive regimes the overstretched armed forces have been deployed and mandated to free many communities that have been overrun by nihilist forces in the various states.”
He warned that having been overwhelmed by the security challenge, the ruling class will not hesitate to sabotage the democratic process or plunge the country into another civil war.
He emphasised that the state was incapable of ending kidnapping or rescuing abducted citizens and foreigners, adding that in this circumstance, a ransom is paid by family members and friends to secure the release of victims of abductions from captivity.
He said with the worsening insecurity in all states of the federation and the federal capital territory, it is feared that the country may either break up or engage in a full-scale civil war.
Falana called on the Federal Government to embark on mass recruitment of military and police personnel, equip and motivate them, rather than deceiving Nigerians that the United States (US) would send their troops down to Nigeria, even while the US was withdrawing their troops from other countries like Afghanistan.
Falana said: “Instead of giving Nigerians the false impression that the United States is going to send troops to defend them the Federal Government should be compelled to embark on mass recruitment of military and police personnel, equip and motivate them to defend every part of the country.
“In addition, all state and local governments should proceed to set up defence committees constituted by young men and women in every community to collaborate with the Police in securing the lives and properties of all citizens.”
In his intervention, Prof Jega pointed out that a new Nigeria is possible and called on labour leaders to wake up.