Education and threats to Nigeria’s internal security, by Abdulrahman Dambazau
1.It gives me great pleasure to address my childhood constituency, the Barewa Old Boys Association. It is a singular honour indeed to be invited to deliver the 2016 Annual Lecture. This lecture is long rooted in a tradition within which many eminent alumni of Nigeria’s greatest secondary school have addressed this Association earlier. Indeed, I come here with a sense of humility for the honour accorded my modest accomplishments in the Army, my contributions to academics both during my military service and after retirement, and now in the public service, where I am serving as the Minister of Interior, a trust given to me by His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria. As a product of the prestigious Balewa Collage, I am privileged to be counted as one of the ubiquitous ambassadors of the College under the aegis of Barewa Old Boys Association.
2. Just as a reminder of our golden history, Barewa College was founded originally as Katsina Teachers College in 1922 by Sir Hugh Clifford who was then the Governor General of Nigeria; it was renamed Katsina Higher College eight years later. By 1938, however, the school was moved from Katsina to Kaduna where it became known as Kaduna College. The move from Kaduna to Zaria happened in 1949/1950 and in Zaria, it was known variously as Zaria Secondary School and Government College, Zaria. The present name, Barewa College, was struck in 1972. One thing that has remained consistent, at least until towards the end of the 1070s, was the quality of instruction at our Alma Mater, despite changes in nomenclature. The membership of Barewa Old Boys Association is a testimony to the quality of education that this school imbibed in those who passed through its tutelage for almost a century whose indelible prints can be found in several facets of our national life.
3.It is not a matter of boasting to say that one Prime Minister; one Premier; two Military Heads of state and two democratically elected Presidents of Nigeria were products of the College. I mean, of course, Nigeria’s only Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, and the Premier of the Northern Region Sir Ahmadu Bello. My illustrious predecessors at the College and in the Army, former Heads of State, Generals Yakubu Gowon and Late Murtala Mohammed as well as their civilian colleagues, former Presidents Shehu Shagari and Late Umaru Musa Yar’adua. We are a proud institution that has produced Chief Justices and Justices of the highest courts. We have also great academics, law enforcement agents, governors of several states in Nigeria, as well as accomplished administrators in the civil service and astute businessmen who have contributed immensely to the development of our country. I make bold to say that few other secondary schools have the reach and network of our great Barewa College, and no doubt the basis of our greatness lies to a great extent in the quality of education we received at the College. But can we honestly give the same credit to today’s Barewa College, with all the dilapidated and overcrowded facilities, including poor quality of education? In terms of success, is there any connection of today’s Barewa graduates and those of our times? I will allow you to ponder on these questions, while I proceed to introduce the topic of my presentation in this year’s BAREWA OLD BOYS ASSOCIATION Annual Lectures titled “Education and the Threats to Nigeria’s Internal Security”.
4.I will start with brief remarks on the terrain of internal and global security. Nigeria has been contending with various threats to her national security including the terrorist insurgency in the North East, which fortunately has been decimated and the structures completely dismantled from the time President Buhari was inaugurated in May 2015; militancy and vandalism of oil platforms and pipelines in the Niger Delta by some misguided so-called militants; piracy and oil theft in the Gulf of Guinea, including the activities of transnational crime networks involved in arms running as well as drug and human trafficking. We have also had violent crimes, particularly armed robbery, kidnapping, ritual murders, rape, cattle rustling etc. Some of these issues, such as conflict between herders and sedentary farmers, emanate from competition over the control of resources, especially land and water. Some of these resource-fuelled conflicts have ethno-religious colorations, masking what are really socio-economic strains. Aside from the Nigerian Civil War (1967 – 1970), Nigerian has never been confronted with such relentless security challenges as we presently experience in the activities of ethnic militias, religious extremist, and economic terrorists.
5.Away from Nigeria, we live in a time where the prevailing global security environment is characterized by uncertainty and instability. Notably, the last decade has witnessed fundamental and structural changes in the nature of the security threats facing all nations of the world. In meeting these challenges, attention is decidedly shifting from individual criminal activities within communities to cross border criminal activities such as terrorism, insurgency, cybercrimes and arms, drugs and human trafficking.
6.Now, to Education, a key ingredient of my topic. The first purpose is very important, relevant and deserves to be expatiated. It is a fact of life that an educated person, whether through vocational education or liberal education, is trained to be a self-reliant person who is employable, rational and thus will have no time for insurrection or criminal conduct. On the average, a rational citizen will know how to channel his grievances, where they exist, through the system and will not choose violence as a first resort. Educated citizens are also assumed to understand religious and cultural differences between them and other Nigerians and immediately see this diversity as a source of strength and not a source of strife and conflict. Formal education in schools, especially boarding schools, provides opportunities for students to meet their colleagues from different parts of the country. In Barewa, for example, I met students from all over the country, some of whom have remained my lifelong friends. This is because educational systems are a melting pot of cultures, and are places where mutual understanding is fostered and strengthened. An informed citizenry is thus vital to Nigeria’s democratic society. We have had situations where people have acted terribly based on rumour and misinformation. Education gives citizens the ability to critically examine issues and information and err on the side of reason in their conduct.
7.The title of this presentation assumes that there is a correlation between education and security. However, we also know that education is one of the key indicators of human security as defined in the UN Human Development Index. By implication we are also assuming that there is a relationship between literacy rate and internal security, particularly from the perspective of criminal behaviour in society. Examining the challenges of insecurity posed by Boko Haram activities in the northeast, we should be interested in knowing the extent to which education or lack of it contributes to violent extremism. There is no doubt that while education could be a major factor in the security of any nation, we are also dealing with a web of complex and intricate multi-factor relationships between education, development, peace and security. My presentation will also deal with issues surrounding Nigeria’s internal security, including the reality of the youth bulge and other factors that challenge it, with a mind to situating Education as a veritable tool in dealing with our internal security challenges. First of all, I wish to make a few clarifications of key concepts relied upon in this paper. This will ensure that there is certainty in the terms used. I will then discuss my ideas before concluding and making recommendations.
8.The word education is derived from the Latin word “educare” meaning “to bring up” and it is related to another Latin word “educere”, meaning to “bring out”, “bring forth what is within”. It is defined as any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character or physical ability of an individual. Education is the process of facilitating learning or the acquisition of knowledge, values, skills, beliefs, expertise and habits with a view to developing students’ capacities for the benefit of themselves and society. In the modern use, it is referred to as formal education, which is carried out in structured format, based on the age of the students. In the words of Carol Bellamy in the 1999 Report on “The State of the World’s Children”, she noted that “Education is the foundation of a free and fulfilled life. It is the right of all children and the obligation of al governments.” In Nigeria, the structure comprises pre-primary, basic primary, secondary and tertiary education, with schools corresponding to these managed by both the government and the private sector.
According to Orikpe E. A., Education.
. . . is geared towards developing the individual for them to live effectively and efficiently in the society and to contribute to its advancement and upliftment. Hence, through education the behaviour pattern of the citizens could be changed in the desired direction.
9.As can be seen from the foregoing, education equips the young individual with the knowledge and skills needed for society to progress. It is thus not possible to speak of national or internal security without emphasizing education. Education forms the citizen and, by this, must be at the centre of any development agenda, because it is the seed for economic, political and social growth. In other words, education is the engine for societal growth. There are different categories of education, all of which are relevant to, or have correlation with, security. There is the formal type which covers from primary through tertiary or university, as the case may be; there is the vocational type for the learning of various skills; and there is professional education, including the type we offer our security personnel in their respective training institutions. The Ministry of Interior, within the scope of responsibility of the Nigerian Prisons Service, is responsible for providing correctional education to prisons inmates on the principle that attitudes, ideas and behavior can be corrected because humans are capable of progressing to higher thresholds of awareness. The ultimate goal of correctional education is to reduce recidivism by helping inmates become self-sufficient so that they can be re-integrated into society and become productive and successful workers, citizens, and family members.
10.What is security? Francis, J. David has defined security as the “condition or feeling of safety from harm or danger, the defence, protection and preservation of core values and the absence of threat to acquired values.” Such values as honesty, integrity, loyalty, courage, and selfless service must be protected and preserved in order to guarantee security. In addition, the rule of law and fundamental freedoms are core values in our democratic environment, and these core values are the basic principles around which society is ordered socially, politically and economically.
11.Internal security means protecting people’s core and acquired values by ensuring peace and safety of lives and property within the borders of a country. Generally, this is done by upholding a nation’s laws and defending the nation against threats. Therefore, internal security would not exist nor can it be understood without the existence of threats to it. This is the traditional understanding of internal security.
12.In the traditional sense, national security refers to territorial security – the protection of the state, its boundaries, people, institutions, and values, from external attack. However, in 1994, the UNDP Human Development Report redefined the concept of national security in line with what it identified as “human security”. It insisted on an all-encompassing change from the exclusive stress on territorial security to a much greater stress on people’s security. Therefore, internal security and its related concept of national security is closely tied to human security—survival, livelihood and dignity.
13. As stated earlier, the very nature of internal security is that it is an asset that can come under threat, therefore must be protected. Nigeria’s internal security has often come under threat and the management of our internal security is the responsibility of the Ministry of Interior. Our mandate at the Ministry is fostering and ensuring the maintenance of internal security and citizenship integrity towards the promotion of good governance of the nation. In line with Chapter II of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999), which according to the “Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy”, which further declares that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”, the Ministry of Interior has the statutory responsibility for the formulation and implementation of policies relating to public safety and security in Nigeria. In order to effectively combat the threats to our internal security and assure public safety, the Ministry has been mandated to supervise the following five Services—The Nigeria Police, the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Nigerian Prisons Service and the Federal Fire Service. Each of these Services has specific law enforcement, safety and security mandates as well as collaborative responsibilities with other security agencies for the delivery of a safe and secure national space to citizens and foreigners alike.
14.In practical terms, the Ministry of Interior is involved in designing policies in security the Nigeria’s extensive and porous 4,500 km borders; policing the approximately 182 million inhabitants of the 923,768 Sq km Nigerian territory; protecting and securing of all strategic assets and critical infrastructures; keeping custody and rehabilitating both awaiting trial and convicted inmates of the 240 prison facilities in Nigeria; and managing emergencies relating to fire, water, gas, buildings, and other forms of accidents and disasters. In addition, the Ministry designs policies relating to granting of business permits and issuing of expatriate quota, as part of overall government effort to ease business and encourage foreign direct investments. Of course it is also within the Ministry of Interior mandate to issue marriage licenses and approve certification for private security companies.
15.A threat, in the context of security is the fundamental element that constitutes the most important challenge faced by a nation and its people. Richard Ullman states that a threat—
…is an action or sequence of events that threatens drastically and over a relatively brief span of time to degrade the quality of life for inhabitants of a state; or threatens significantly to narrow the range of policy choices available to the government of a state or to private nongovernmental entities within the state.
16.I will discuss, in passing, the major threats to Nigeria’s national security before discussing in-depth the focus of my lecture, which dwells on how education is the fundamental panacea to a peaceful, secure and safe nation.
ISSUES SURROUNDING INTERNAL SECURITY
17.Globalization is the first issue which raises the threat levels in the international system. Globalization has broken down trade barriers between nations, expanding and integrating economies as well as people. But it also comes with its vulnerability, like how shocks, disruptions and uncertainties anywhere in the system affects all components of the globalized system. Nigeria has not been immune to the threat of Globalization. Secondly, Information Technology has advanced freedom and access to information which has, often, in turn, fed local aspirations, heightening expectations of the State, the failure to satisfy which creates a breeding ground for militancy and insurgency.
Redefinition of Sovereignty
18.The erosion of the traditional idea of Sovereignty of States has occurred over the last few decades. It is closely tied to the increasing presence of information technology in the lives of many. As citizens access even more information, they sometimes come to identify more with ethnic and religious groupings than with their geographical nationalities. Here they resurrect old customs and traditions, sometimes bringing to fore old grievances. All these act in concert to question national bonds, making loyalty to the nation more difficult a certainty to be relied upon.
Change in Nature of Conflicts
19.There has been a fundamental change in the nature of conflict and now state-vs-state conflicts have become the exception. Conflicts are now mostly within sovereign territories (intra-state), between politically organized non-state actors (motivated by ethnic, religious and even criminal concerns) either rebelling against governments or fighting amongst themselves. Resource-based conflicts, like the type between sedentary farmers and pastoralists are a mix of the two issues just discussed—the erosion of state sovereignty and the fundamental change in the nature of conflict.
20.Nigeria has a peculiar human development index. Our adult literacy rate as a percentage of citizens age 15 and older stands at 51.1% while, crucially, enrolment ratio for secondary school education amongst those of secondary school-age population stands at 43.8%. Even worse and scarier from the point of view of a manager of internal security are the figures of university enrolment which stands at 10.4% of those who should be in tertiary institutions. The shocker is the average number of years of schooling attained by Nigeria’s 178.5 million people is 5.9 years. Cast your mind to the fact that basic education is a nine-year course. Looking at the preceding figures, as a criminologist, what comes to my mind is the relationship between literacy rate and security, and specifically criminal behavior. In other words, to what extent can we attribute the crimes in Nigeria to the level literacy of those involved in them? The National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) in the United States defined literacy as “using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potentials.” In its research findings NAAL concludes that two-thirds of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare.
21. In another US study, a 2013 Report from the Alliance for Excellent Education finds that the US could save as much as $18.5 billion in annual crime costs if the high school male graduation rate increased by only 5 per cent. Furthermore, the Report finds that this increase would decrease overall annual incidences of assault by nearly 60,000; larceny by more than 37,000; motor vehicle theft by more than 31,000; and burglaries by more than 17,000. That it would also prevent nearly 1,300 murders; more than 3,800 occurrences of rape; and more 1,500 robberies. Again, according to the most recent data from US Bureau of Justice, 56% of federal inmates, 67% of inmates in state prisons, and 69% of inmates in local jails did not complete high school. Although the findings of these researches were specific for the US, there are universal principles we can claim with regards to the correlation between education and crime. The fact that UNESCO Institute for Statistics data (updated in Oct 2015) show that not only the youth literacy rate is 66%, but also that Nigeria is categorized among the African countries with 30% out-of-school children of primary school age should be of concern to us. Likewise, the UNICEF 2013 data shows that 32% of Nigeria’s primary school age and 27% of secondary school age are out-of-school.
22.Another issue worthy of note here is the relationship between poverty and education, which is quite complex as poverty remains the biggest obstacle to education. A measurement for poverty designed in 2010 by the Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative described poverty as being made up of several factors that constitute poor people’s experience of deprivation, such as poor health, lack of education, inadequate living standard, lack of income, disempowerment, poor quality of work and threat from violence. The percentage of Nigerians living in poverty, according to the UNDPs 2015 Human Development Report, is 50.9%. This means that is 90.8 million Nigerians are living in poverty. The population living in severe poverty is 30%, while those living below income poverty line of $1.25 a day stands at 62%.
23.A final issue to consider in Nigeria’s internal security is the matter of our country’s Youth Bulge. Everywhere you look, there are a lot of idle young people, many of whom are unemployed and are susceptible to misuse in fomenting violence. In defining what a Youth Bulge is, Justin Yifu Lin, in his essay “Youth Bulge: A Demographic Dividend or a Demographic Bomb in Developing Countries?”, says:
The youth bulge is a common phenomenon in many developing countries, and in particular, in the least developed countries. It is often due to a stage in development where a country achieves success in reducing infant mortality but mothers still have a high fertility rate. The result is that a large share of the population is comprised of children and young adults.
You would all agree with me that most of the armed robbers, militants in the Niger Delta, members of Boko Haram are all within the youth age bracket, generally persons under the age of 35. At a UN High-Level Breakfast meeting titled “Inclusion of the Right to Education in Emergencies in the Post-2015 Development Agenda”, Pierre Krahenbuhl, UNRWA’s Commissioner-General, observed that:
When youngsters are out of school, and also suffer from economic hardship, it’s much easier to draw them into radicalization and violence – if you close the school, you open a prison.
Likewise, H.E. Khalid Al Attiyah, Qatar’s Foreign Minister, also observed during the same Breakfast meeting that:
From Gaza, to Syria, to the refugee communities of Lebanon and Jordan, children are increasingly at risk of radicalization and of being persuaded to act on behalf of extremists, as in the absence of schooling and without opportunity for personal advancement, radicalization can easily take root.
24.To reiterate, the major threats to Nigeria’s internal security are the insurgency in the North East and the militant terror attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta. There is also piracy in the Gulf of Guinea as well as transnational crime networks involved in arms running along with drug and human trafficking. These specific threats can be understood by referring to the six major issues I have highlighted in this section of my lecture—the march of globalization, the prevalence of new information technologies, the erosion in the concept of Sovereignty of States, the change in the nature of conflict as well as Nigeria’s poor human development index and the presence of a demographic youth bulge.
SITUATING EDUCATION AS THE SOLUTION
25.A US National Commission on Excellence 1983 Report “Nation at Risk” recognized the “correlation between education and security is clear, and should be pushed to the top of the agenda of every country.” Nigeria has many challenges to the educational sector and the brutal truth is that the present situation is unenviable and at its lowest ebb. Poor infrastructure is the bane of the system and the reason for this is tied to the funding shortfalls for the sector. In 2014, N 493 billion naira was allocated to education which is 10.7% of the N4.6 trillion national budget. In 2015, N492 billion was allocated to Education, which is very conservative in a N4.493 trillion budget. UNESCO has advocated that 26% of the budgets of developing countries be allocated to education, but fiscal constraints have seen Nigeria’s allocation hover around the 10% mark. These statistics did not however, account for education spending of the various State Governments in Nigeria. The youth bulge or population explosion mentioned earlier is a contributing factor to the inadequacy, as available infrastructure and resources cannot cater for the high numbers of school-age Nigerians. Consequently, we have a large number of youth who are uneducated, possibly unemployable and more often than not, resentful of constituted authority and disenchanted with law and order.
26.Another area of primary concern is the quality and quantity of teaching personnel with its twin problem of poor remuneration of teachers. Teaching does not attract the best brains as it should and in consequence more than 60% of teachers in the education sector are poorly trained, unqualified, ill-equipped and unmotivated to deliver the critical input needed for the system of instruction to work. There seems to be a problem with our teacher training institutions which, to judge by our children’s examination performance, are not producing the correct quality of teachers to run our schools.
27.Universal Primary Education is one of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals also known as MDGs. The MDGs were eight international development goals established in 2000, to be achieved by the year 2015, following the adoption of the United Nations Millennium Declaration. All 189 UN member states at the time, including Nigeria, committed to help achieve the goals by 2015. The goal was to “ensure that by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.” On the expiration of the MDGs in 2015, the United Nations published the MDGs End-point Report which states that while appreciable progress had been made regarding UBE, this goal, along with others, was not met. I will quote directly from the End-point Report—
The literacy rate trended marginally upwards in most of the years from 64% in 2000 to 66.7% in 2014. The significant rate of 80.0% achieved in 2008 could not be sustained. There were marked variations across states and between the north and the south. With respect to variations across geo-political zones, the North-east recorded the highest rate of illiteracy with the insurgency compounding the problem.
From the foregoing, the poor state of education in Nigeria, as evidenced by the country’s inability to meet the MDGs, is clear. The nexus between Education and internal security, as in the Northeast which is home to the Boko Haram insurgency which had the highest illiteracy rates in the fifteen year period covered by the MDGs is very clear.
28. Further to this, an important report published by a group of Russian academics led by Andrev Korotayev of the Russian State University for the Humanities in 2011, under the title “A trap at the escape from the trap? Demographic-Structural Factors of Political Instability in Modern Africa and West Asia”, suggests a strong correlation between countries prone to civil conflict and those that have a youth bulge. Nigeria is just such a country, with a youth population of 113.3 million which is about 62% of the entire population. The conventional approach for dealing with the Youth Bulge is to make young people job-ready. The idea is that young people’s skills need to be increased in order to enhance their productivity in the labour market. This would be where vocational and business training come in, which factors in cyber technology and modern techniques. We need to send all our children to school, to receive the universal basic education at the very least, and to make them an asset that will generate ideas and economic activity and at the same time keep them active and away from the clutches of insurgency, militancy, religious and violent extremisms. Education must be the frontline of our national and internal security.
29.The purpose of Education is two-fold—firstly, to create well-rounded citizens capable of rational thinking and operating in a world, such as ours, that is modern and governed by laws; secondly, it is a sociological device, quite like a passport, for the State to determine which citizens can fit where in the scheme of national development. At the end of a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism at the White House in February last year, President Barrack Obama said “Poverty alone does not cause a person to become a terrorist, any more than poverty alone causes somebody to become a criminal.” It is the lack of opportunities, the absence of avenues to better ones self and improve one’s lot in life that feeds into the challenges of our internal security. At the bottom of this is the problem of a lack of access to basic and adequate education. The relationship between education and extremism is said to be paradoxical, meaning a double-edged sword, used both in aid of, and to combat, extremism. If prepared and well packaged, education is a major weapon for countering violent extremism because it will instill in young people the ability to critically assess, engage, and rebut extremist ideas, therefore an obvious tool to develop resilience and offer a counter-narrative to resist the pull of extremist ideology and narratives.
30.Still on this, poverty is a factor in fomenting violent extremism. My argument is that beyond poverty, the lack of access to opportunities which poor quality education guarantees, is an even greater internal security threat. For example, between 2004 and 2011, the percentage of Nigerians living below poverty line increased from 54% to 69.7%. In the North Western and North Eastern zones noted for terrorist activities of Boko Haram, the poverty rates are highest with 77% and 76% respectively in 2011. Poverty and education are very closely linked together. Extrapolating these, we see again clearly the connection between Education and Nigeria’s internal security threat of violent extremism in the Northeast, by way of poverty. The situation in the northeast has been worsened by the issue of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and Refugees, most of whom of the over 3 million displaced are women and children. One of the major challenges in this circumstance is the continuity of the education of the children while they remain in their various camps, otherwise the future might be disastrous both for the children and the society.
31.Orikpe, in his article “Education and National Security: Challenges and the Way Forward”, published in the Journal of Educational and Social Research, states that “A liberal education is one that frees the minds of its recipients from their preconceptions. It broadens the possibilities for greater understanding of others in our nation and around the world (Forum Futures, 2007).” He argues that vocational and entrepreneurship education should also be factored into the school curriculum. The academic reports that the former Minister of Education, Professor Rukaiyatu Rufai, identified the reform of the education system as the solution to the security challenges confronting the nation. I am in agreement with her that if Nigeria gives its citizens the right type of education that imbues in them various skills and expertise, a strong work ethic, patriotism and the quest for excellence, so many young men and women will not be drawn to the ruinous rhetoric of fundamentalist religion or come under the sway of movements that attack key installations of national economic security.
32.Education expands the horizons of a student, making them more understanding of other’s. However, in the Nigerian context, this will not be enough. There is a necessity to incorporate vocational education into the Nigerian curriculum. In fact, I think vocational education should be one of the key philosophies of education in Nigeria. Vocational education is simply defined by Tiamiyu R. Babalola as “a vehicle upon which the skills of workforce are built.” The scope of a vocational education includes business education and the development of entrepreneurial skills, inculcating in youth the relevant skills that will make them self-reliant. Funding, already discussed several times in this lecture, is a major hamper to incorporating vocational programmes. Workshops, such as wood workshops and mechanic workshops, are necessary to a practical vocational education. But even more, for the existing vocational schools, is the lack of integration of cutting edge information technology.
33. The present government is making concerted efforts towards reduction of poverty levels and it understands that this cannot be done without improving the educational sector. The Government intends to create 3.5 Million jobs over the next 3 years. For example, the N-Power program of the Federal Government intersects both teaching and youth empowerment by incentivizing teaching as a profession amongst the young, thus drastically reducing youth unemployment. 500,000 unemployed graduates will be engaged under this volunteer scheme. The focus is to provide our young people with the skills, tools and livelihood to enable them advance from unemployment to employment, entrepreneurship and innovation. Other initiatives aimed at encouraging education includes the slash of JAMB fees; cancellation of Post-UTME exams; increasing the duration of use of JAMB results to 3 years. The introduction of the social safety net initiative puts money in the pockets of the most indigent families while the Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) Project is run by the Bank of Industry to empower youth with loans to start businesses. Specifically for the northeast, as part of the government’s post-conflict peace building efforts, the Presidential Committee on the Northeast Initiative (PCNI) has come up with an Education Plan for the region which involves a comprehensive framework to revitalize the education system, to include increased safety; and, access and quality education. This plan becomes essential to accelerate educational development and overhaul the components of the education system in a region that witnessed the closure of schools between 2013 and 2015; a region in which has the largest share of the more than 15 million out-of-school children in northern Nigeria; and in a region where only 3% of girls complete secondary school education. These are just a few of the approaches undertaken to actualize the goals of high quality and accessible education; economic diversification; and job creation of President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
34.I have advocated the centrality of Education to dealing with the threats to Nigeria’s internal security. The purpose of an educational system is to create a sort of citizen that is beneficial to his community and the country. Therefore, the citizens themselves can be finessed into protectors of their own peace and security. Dr. Otive Igbuzor has spoken extensively on how peace and security education is a critical factor to sustainable national development, especially in a country like Nigeria which is located in a region prone to conflict and insecurity. Igbuzor says:
Peace and security education is a multi-disciplinary enterprise involving political science, sociology, philosophy, psychology, law, history, economics, international relations and development studies. It is ironic that the African continent has been faced with different forms of conflict yet peace and security education and research have languished behind irrespective of the progress recorded in other parts of the world. Peace and security education should challenge the dominant paradigm where decisions on peace and security are monopolised by the State and its institutions such as the arms industry, security agencies and politicians. It should create a movement of peace activists that will help to create a culture of peace based on the universal values of respect for life, liberty, justice, solidarity, tolerance, human rights and equality between men and women.
35.At the end of this lecture, I would like to reiterate the points I have raised. The first is that our country was built on the foundation of solid institutions of educational excellence like Barewa College. Secondly, one of the most important things that defines us as Nigerians is the safety of the national space we live in, I mean our internal security. Internal security is the protection of fundamental freedoms against critical and pervasive threats alike. The main factors impacting on national and internal security are Globalization, Information Technology, the erosion of the sovereignty of States, poverty and a fundamental change in the nature of conflict that has seen a lot of non-state actors such as sects and criminal organizations taking on countries, blurring the line between who is a combatant and who is not, with the use of IEDs and the rise of nonconventional warfare becoming the norm.
36.Further, the human development indices of Nigeria showing extremely disturbing education and poverty figures makes our country at risk of a new type of internal security challenge. I have identified this new security challenge as lack of Education. I mean Education here in two senses—as a means for the improvement of the lot of the Nigerian citizen and as a way for the State to socialize the sort of citizen that is loyal, patriotic and beneficial to his community and the nation at large. Education can be the catalyst needed to break the poverty cycle within communities. Consequently, I have sought to place education at the centre of the internal security challenges of the country and I hope I have succeeded in this.
37.The issue of funding education is very important and should be considered a matter of national security. In the United States at present, it is considered a national emergency that American higher education is being challenged worldwide particularly in terms of quality. We need to invest more in education as a core part of national security spending. It is the best way to protect the peace after conflict and is indeed the very first peace dividend. The wrong type of education, such as the indoctrination of Boko Haram, has fuelled conflict in the past. A new type of education will cage conflict forever.
38.I thank the National Executive Committee of Barewa Old Boys Association once again for the honour of this lecture, and I thank everyone for listening to me.
. Being the speech of the Minister of Interior of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Lieutenant General (retd) Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau, at the 2016 Annual Lecture of Barewa Old Boys Association on October 8,, 2016 in Abuja.