Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti state, says some of those pulling the strings of banditry and kidnapping are funding the activities of Boko Haram insurgents in the north-east.
Fayemi said there is a “direct correlation” between the persistent insurgency and heightened insecurity in parts of the country.
Speaking after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa on Monday, he said both issues must be tackled collectively.
Fayemi, who is the chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), also disclosed that President Buhari will approach the national assembly for more funding for the equipment of the armed forces.
He said: “I can tell you, and I don’t think I’ll be breaching any confidence, that one of the good news I came away with, from the President now on this issue is that he’s already informed the National Assembly that they will be receiving a special request from him on procurement of equipment on an accelerated basis for our security services because that was one of the issues that we put before him and he was very categorical that yes, we have a point.
“Some of the equipment that had been procured are on the way, they haven’t arrived, but they will soon arrive. There is also a need to buy more equipment and he is going into government-to-government partnership with a number of countries and that would necessitate an accelerated clearance from the national assembly.
“What I’m saying, in essence, is they’ve been able to assess their situation on coming to that office and they made a very honest assessment of what’s on ground, which is militating against their effective clearance of the insurgents and that’s something that will happen.
“Having said all of that, I also don’t think we’re naive enough to think that it’s simply a military action that will resolve all these security challenges. They have root causes and the root causes require political will, political action on our part against poverty, against inequality, against the disconnections between our youth and the government because these are some of the things that have pushed younger people into harm’s way and into becoming cannon fodder for those who don’t have the interest of our country at heart and are ready to destroy the country.
“There is a direct correlation, I’ve said this to you before, between insurgency in the north-east, and what we’re seeing manifesting itself as banditry in the north-west, or kidnapping in the south-west. Some of the people involved in these are also the ones responsible for insurgency.
“They are using the resources that they make from kidnapping for the activities that they’re conducting in the north-east. So we need to take a comprehensive look at all these things and not treat them in compartments. We must treat them as a comprehensive issue and then tackle them collectively.”
Fayemi said apart from tackling criminality with force, the government must also resolve issues such as “poverty, inequality, social disconnection between leadership and the youth, which had rendered the youth available to derailing tendencies”.