A former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Martin Luther Agwai, has proposed what he called “bottom-up approach” as a solution to the menace of insecurity in the country.
Agwai made the proposal on Sunday in Abuja, while speaking with journalists at the inauguration of a vocational training centre “The Airamin Institute”, to mark his 72nd birthday.
He bemoaned the spate of insecurity in different parts of the country, including the Boko Haram menace, banditry, herdsmen-farmers’ conflicts, militancy and kidnappings.
“I do not say things without suggesting a solution. My suggestion is that let’s try and find the answer, using the bottom-up approach — from the grassroots up — in tackling this menace of insecurity.
“Let us work with the people at the grassroots level and find out what they think could be the solution. You may be surprised that those at the grassroots may have a better solution than those at the top. That is part of my suggestions on the way forward.
“The military, the police and other security agencies are really trying their best and it seems they are even overstretched in some areas.
“But I think the answer is to come down and look at the way we can get the support of people at the grassroots to be part and parcel of the way forward,” he said.
Besides, Agwai advocated the use of a “carrot and stick” approach in tackling the nation’s security challenges, saying that the use of the “stick-stick” approach would be counterproductive because the insecurity was purely an internal problem of Nigeria.
“If we are fighting an external war, it is a different thing. This is an internal war; if people don’t accept the carrot, we use the stick.
“When we see them behaving properly, we use the carrot. In that way, and working with the grassroots, we will be able to contain the situation,” he said.
Agwai was of the view that in efforts to quickly address insecurity, some people, who were not supposed to be in the military, found themselves there, thereby creating a bad image for the military.
“Another thing we have to look at is that the military is getting involved in things that are not purely military. For example, creating an enabling environment in crisis areas could be military but administering the area is not military.
“These are some of the challenges,” he added.
The ex-CDS advised the military authorities to accept the good criticisms made against the military in good faith, adding that there was, however, the need to caution the citizens against running down the military because of their high expectations of the soldiers.
Agwai commended the initiative of his children in setting up The Airamin Institute, in order to enable young people to become self-employed, instead of waiting for the government or NGOs for employment.
Rebecca Agwai, the Director of the Airamin Brand, said the institute was established to promote entrepreneurship skills among young Nigerians, so as to empower and inspire them to actualise their potentials, while propelling them out of poverty through independent and self-reliant employment.
“Our mission is to capture individuals, especially while they are still young, and impart the necessary skill sets required for producing successful persons, capable of steering our nation to peace and sustainable development.
“This we want to achieve through the essential positive contribution found in job creation,” she said.
Rebecca advised young people to take advantage of the institute to become self-reliant and stop relying on government for employment, saying that the institute would become fully operational in January 2021 with three departments: fashion, beauty artistry and events management.