Spend on peace rather than security, don advises FG

Officers of the Nigerian Army (Photo: The Sun)

A don at Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola has called on the Federal Government to spend on peace building rather then security.

Dr Chris Kwanja who teaches philosophy at the university said this during his keynote address at the Karl Popper for Africa International Conference held at the Lagos State University (LASU) on Friday, 29th March, 2019.

“We should invest in peace rather than security,” he said.

Noting that the diversity of Nigeria had not been properly managed since independence, he linked this to what he called the governance of peace and security.

“The problem of peace and security is increasingly replaced by the governance of peace and security. We are still not getting enough when it comes to the governance of the security sector because that sector itself is increasingly being politicised.”

“Because of that, many of the institutions of the state that are suppose to respond to many of the peace and security challenges in the country are not operating at that capacity that they should.”

“Violent extremism is now on the increase. You cannot discuss it in a vacuum. One major definer of the rise of violent extremism is deficit in governance. Where you have deficit in governance, extremism becomes a major issue to deal with.”

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“It is not enough to link extremism to religion. There are socio-economic conditions, political conditions that are also making it possible for that violent extremist group to emerge.”

A cross section of dignitaries at the Karl Popper for Africa International Conference held at the Lagos State University Main Auditorium on Friday, 29th March, 2019.

Kwanja also noted the increasing power of the military than the police as a problem.

He expressed worries that without accountability and building strong institutions, impunity would continue to take place.

“Africa needs more strong institutions than strong men. When we begin to invest in institutions rather than individuals, then we would be better placed to have institutions that are open and alive to their responsibilities.

“Institutions should be able respond, address and be conscious of the extent to which decisions affect people at the lower hierarchy of our society.

He also harped on strengthening the link between the academia and governance.

“The only way which this insecurity governance can be managed and accomplished is when researchers begin to engage policy makers.”

In an earlier keynote address, Professor Thaddeus Metz of the University of Johannesburg, South Africa said an open society was preferable because it prioritises individuals and permitted social arrangements to be critically evaluated.

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Metz advocated for the use of the African ethics of honouring people’s capacity to relate communally to bring about cohesion in the society.

He noted that both the African ethics and idea of a communal state were prima facie attractive.

In his welcome address to participants, the Vice-Chancellor of LASU, Professor Olanrewaju Fagbohun challenged the Nigerian government at all levels to be more open in order to succeed.

EduCeleb.com reports that the conference with the theme “Open society and its imperatives for effective peace and security governance in Nigeria” commenced on Thursday, 28th March and would end on Sunday, 30th March, 2019.

Participants were drawn from universities within and outside Nigeria. The Conference, which also includes a workshop, is sponsored by United Kingdom based Karl Popper Charitable Trust, U.K and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

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