Prof. Pat Utomi

Founder of Centre for Values in Leadership CVL, Prof Pat Utomi has advocated a new economic model; the latent comparative advantage as part of efforts to check the rising insecurity in the country.

This is given the general consensus among security experts that the worsening insecurity in the country occasioned by the activities of Boko Haram insurgency, armed robbery, farmers- herders’ clash and kidnapping for ransom is linked directly to the high level of unemployment and extreme poverty in the country.

The new model is built around fighting unemployment and poverty through optimal harnessing and utilisation of latent agricultural and natural resources by the six geopolitical zones or the 36 states of the country in which they have comparative advantage over others in order to create jobs and reduce poverty.

Prof Utomi spoke during a recent virtual meeting organised by the CVL in collaboration with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum NGF with the theme: Insecurity and Governance Challenges in Nigeria’, an agenda of Transparency and Accountability Project 2020.

Utomi, who moderated the event, cited the case of Kogi State, where Sesame Seed grows wildly and only used for cooking soup among the citizens, which he argued could be cultivated in large quantities and processed for export to Europe and other parts of the world to earn foreign exchange.

He noted that there are other value chain products in Nigeria such as cassava, which Nigeria ranks as one of the biggest producers in the world, but which can be processed into other products for export.

”Nigeria remains one of world’s biggest producers of cassava but the best we have done with it is to produce it to fufu (Akpu) and eat. But cassava can be produced into industrial starch, etc., which can be exported.

These processes in the value chain would create a lot of jobs with several multiplier effects, which among several others would include creating employment opportunities, reduce poverty, which will significantly curtail the worsening state of insecurity in the country”, Utomi said.

Prof Utomi had in his several interventions, called for community policing, which has proven potent in several climes across the world. This is in addition to his strong belief that addressing insecurity and extreme poverty would help reduce worsening insecurity in the country.

No fewer than six governors across party lines and geopolitical zones attended the virtual event. They include Governors Willie Obiano of Anambra State, Simon Lalong of Plateau State, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Sam Ortom of Benue State, Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and Babagana Zulum of Borno State.

The governors were unanimous in their condemnation of the worsening insecurity in the country, characterised by farmers- herders clashes, armed robbery, activities of the Boko Haram sect and other forms of banditry, especially within the northern region of the country, which has led to the death of many citizens including women and children.

Governor Zulum, who has been at the receiving end of the worsening insecurity had while speaking at the event, traced the root causes of insecurity in the country, especially in the northern part of the country to poverty, noted that the menace has created a humanitarian problem not only in the North but also across the country.

He blamed the menace of insecurity, especially militancy on two major factors; extreme poverty, which creates a fertile ground for the insurgents to recruit new members and population explosion, noted that while the military is acquiring sophisticated weapons, the Federal Government should also address the twin issues of poverty and population growth.

According to him, another major cause of insecurity is the rising unemployment in the country, noting that this challenge could be juxtaposed with the problem of shortage of manpower in the nation’s military.

He had also made a strong case for the involvement of the Police in the fight against insurgency in the north, arguing that community policing has proved potent in fighting most forms of criminality across the world.

The Prof also made a case for the resettlement of displaced persons to their ancestral homes to enable them resume normal social and economic lives, arguing that living in Internally Displaced Persons’ IDP camps makes them vulnerable and therefore constitutes a form on insecurity.