By Sulaimon Sheriff

Vice President Kahsim Shettima says President Bola Tinubu has approved the “Pulaaku Initiative”, a non-kinetic solution to deal with insurgency and banditry in the North, and has equally allocated the sum of N50bn to the initiative, in its first instance.

“Pulaaku” is a Fulani word that loosely means “to be shy”.

The Vice President had in July 2023, during a condolence visit to the Government of Kano State over the death of elder statesman Abubakar Galadanci, disclosed that the Pulaaku initiative would be unveiled “in a couple of weeks”, noting that using the military alone would not end the crisis in the North-West region of the country.

Speaking during his opening address at a two-day Roundtable on Insecurity in Northern Nigeria, organised by the Coalition of Northern Groups, with the theme “Multi-Dimensional Approach to Tackling Insecurity in Northern Nigeria”, Shettima, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Hadeija, said the now-approved initiative would begin in five states of the North namely, Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Benue, Zamfara, Niger and Kaduna states, and would “catalyse” the fortunes of the northern region.

“Every part of the country is equal to the rest, and the government treats the needs of each region as critical. For the North, we are also embarking on a transformative journey to address the root causes of the challenges. The Pulaaku Initiative, a non-kinetic solution, has received presidential approval, with an allocation of N50bn in the first instance.

“This initiative aims to enhance living conditions and livelihoods in selected states, starting with Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Benue, Zamfara, Niger and Kaduna. The construction of residences, roads, schools and other essential facilities is set to commence, promising to catalyse the fortunes of this region,” he said.

Shettima, noted that the government was committed to addressing insecurity in the nation, having allocated a larger share of the 2024 budget to insecurity, while stating that Nigerians must focus on building stronger systems and stop narratives that divided the country.

“I believe the informed gathering here is aware of His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s promise to the nation in his inaugural speech of ending insecurity and ending insecurity is a cardinal agenda of the government. As such we have never downplayed the foundational role of security in governance matters. This rationale led to allocating the largest share of this year’s budget to the security sector.

“As we endeavour to improve the quality of life and security for our citizens, we must also look beyond lamentations and focus on building solid defence systems and institutions, to prevent and redeem the identified lapses.”

Also speaking at the event, the chairman of the occasion and former military head of state, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, stated that investments in education and the economy could address the root causes of insecurity, adding that security agencies and federal authorities must form a synergy to combat terrorism, kidnapping, and banditry.

Additionally, investing in education and economic development can address the root causes, ultimately fostering long-term stability. Also, synergy among the security agencies, and state and federal authorities is key to effectively combating terrorism, kidnapping, and banditry. Together, we can work towards a safer and more stable northern Nigeria, ensuring a brighter future for generations to come. This will have a ripple effect on other regions within the country; thereby transforming the security landscape for the greater good of the citizens of our dear nation”, he said.

Similarly, former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Attahiru Jega, emphasised the importance of integrity in fighting insecurity, noting that a lack of coordination and complementarity among security agencies and government at all levels, would hinder the effective fight against insecurity.

He also warned against the use of vigilantes in addressing insurgency, while advocating instead for more formal institutions, such as state police, stating “rather than continue to promote the phenomenon of vigilantes in our communities, perhaps we may as well go back and get the Constitution appropriately amended, so that we have formal institutions of state policing.”

Credit : The Punch Newspaper