By Stephen Adeleye
The Kogi State Government has warned students and youths in the state against indulging in any act of criminality and arms proliferation, saying perpetrators will face the full wrath of the law.
The State’s Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Hon. Wemi Jones, FCIB, gave the warning at the ”National Conference Of The School Of Management Studies, Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja, which began on Tuesday.
Jones noted that the Conference’s theme: ”Proliferation of Small Arms And Light Weapons (SALWs) And State Resilience In The 21st Century”, was apt and timely due to the current insecurity bedevilling the nation.
He commended the Rector, Dr Salisu Ogbo Usman, the management and organisers of the conference for the choice of the theme, saying it would address the prevailing circumstances and situation of the nation.
”I sincerely hope that this conference will add value to existence and will also go a long way in proffering solutions to the challenges currently bedeviling our nation”, he said.
He added that proliferation of small arms and light weapons have caused plenty of pains and wreck havoc which were being experienced currently across the length and breadth of the country.
”But we are lucky and favoured in Kogi State to have a Governor who has taken security as a call that must be obeyed, and he had ensured that in Kogi State, there is absolute zero tolerance for crime and criminality.
”The Administration of His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, is ready to do all it takes to ensure the security of lives and property in Kogi State, and zero tolerance to arms proliferation.
”Whoever is caught in the act of crime and criminality in Kogi State will go to jail”, he said.
He noted that a student of Kogi Poly that was caught recently with heavily loaded locally made gun, had already been sentenced to 8 years in jail, saying that was the way to go.
”Until and unless we make up our mind and execute sufficient political will to address this issue, insecurity will continue to linger in our nation.
”But I am happy that our State is very different now, which ordinarily was said to be the headquarters of crime in Nigeria before, but Governor Yahaya Bello has totally changed the narrative.
”So, this discussions here today should be a practical workshop that would proffer practical solutions to the challenges of insecurity facing our nation”, he said.
He commended the rector for making it easier for them at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, to sleep with their two eyes closed due to the kind of transformation that had taken place at Kogi Poly.
He further commended the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Pastor Emmanuel Idenyi, for being so supportive in running the affairs of the ministry.
According to the Commissioner, the permanent secretary has always been playing a very pivotal role in anything we do at the ministry, and I must say thank you very much.
Earlier, the Kogi Poly Rector, Dr Salisu Ogbo Usman, noted that the memory bank of academic institutions in Nigeria is full with ugly accounts of SALWs-related tragedies and affronts which have vividly contradicted the very underlining philosophy of education.
He added that in many higher institutions including Kogi Poly, the crises of supremacy and territorial control among different cult groups have often fuelled social insecurity and academic instability.
He stressed that dangerous cult crises have seriously impeded on academic and peaceful welbeing of both staff and students of many institutions.
Usman noted that the school management under his leadership had explored the 21st century technology as proactive measures against insecurity which was apt and functional.
”Our efforts in combating the school infiltration of these illicit arms and weapons on our campus can be modestly described as aggressive and resolute.
”Our goal is to ensure progress in the areas of security development, with special focus on creating a safe learning environment through elimination of access to small arms and light weapons on our campus”, he said.
The rector stressed the need to take steps that would make the answers provided by the conference tenable, practical and goal oriented.
He further urged the participants to contextualise the social importance of the current level of technology in addressing the current security challenges facing humanity.
A Traditional ruler, the Ohimegye Igu of Kotonkarfe, Alhaji Abulrasak Isah Koto, commended the governor for the choice of Dr Usman as the Kogi Poly Rector, and for being very supportive to the security agencies in the state for effective performance.
The royal father called for adoption of technology in combating crime and criminality, while stressing the need to also go back to the family basis in addressing the issue of insecurity in the country.
The Key note Speaker, Prof. Hassan Saliu, from Department of Political Sciences, University of Ilorin, delivered a paper, titled: ”Understanding The Impact of Small and Light Weapons on Nigeria’s Security Situation”.
The don urged government and leaders at various levels to ensure equity, justice and fairness to all Nigerians, saying, ”the feeling of alienation from governments, especially the Federal Government, is not a good tendency in our country”.
He also urged government to imbibe the culture of dialogue as a viable option to proffering solutions to several agitations and challenges.
Saliu also stressed the need to address youth unemployment which he said it had reached epidemic level.
According to him, the current efforts of the Federal Government in addressing youth unemployment are like a drop in the ocean.
On his part, the Lead Paper Presenter, Dr John Tor Tsuwa, from Department of Political Science, Benue State University, Makurdi, delivered a paper, titled: ”Arms Proliferation, National Security and Sustainable Development in Nigeria”.
Tor Tsuwa noted that the proliferation of arms was encouraged by unabated conflicts both intra and inter ethnics militancy and criminality, porous border, economic regression and lack of basic amenities occasioned by an irresponsive and unaccountable government.
He recommended that the government should adopt local content in its control initiatives by thinking globally and act locally.
He added that there was need to strengthen inter agencies cooperation among the security agencies on intelligence and information gathering and sharing, and improve control through technology on Nigeria borders.