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Forestalling Insecurity and Terrorism in Nigeria through Scholarship, Skill Acquisition Programs & Good Governance

By

Don Okereke
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If we sow the seeds of insecurity and terrorism by acts of commission or omission. and joblessness. The Nigerian State has not been fair to majority of Nigerians despite the abundant material resources accruable to this country. It will take an amazing brain-washing prowess to convince a gainfully employed young man or somebody with a thriving business to abandon the trappings of his work or business and be a slavish stooge for kidnapping or terrorism.Forestalling Insecurity and Terrorism in Nigeria through Scholarship. hopelessness/frustration. Ibn Chambers. economic. The former ECOWAS Commission President. ‘’rising unemployment in Nigeria is a time-bomb’’. and joblessness . ‘Nigerians have no business being poor’. Mohammed Ibn Chambers recently opined that. hopelessness/frustration. Instability and Terrorism in Nigeria’’. Former President Obasanjo stated the obvious when he lately opined that. what we sow is what we reap. Skill Acquisition Programs & Good Governance In my preceding essays. It’s not simplistic! A hungry man is an angry man. Herein. particularly in ‘’ Beyond the Razzmatazz: Combating the Remote and Immediate Causes of Insecurity. Page 2 of 10 . scholarship. I expounded the remote and immediate causes of Insecurity. Like the Scripture posits. Let me paraphrase the words of Dr. ‘Nigeria has no reason to be poor’’. there must be a strong force that will galvanize an individual to waste his life and that of others as a suicide bomber. I also proffered solutions encompassing social. In this Piece. That strong force is the trio of abysmal poverty. Instability and Terrorism in Nigeria. I will zero in on abysmal poverty or widening gap between the rich and the poor. political infrastructural reforms amongst others.Dr. Beside the guise of religion and politics. skill acquisition/capacity building programs and by ensuring that wealth and opportunities trickles-down to the poor. We don’t have to wait until people pick up arms before we try to pacify or ‘settle’ them. I postulate that the aforementioned latent CAUSATIVE AGENTS of insecurity and terrorism in Nigeria can be nipped in the bud through education. then we cannot exonerate ourselves from the negative butterfly-effect.

our ex-leaders. church founders and those blessed with stupendous wealth. Churches/Mosques dole out money etc to impoverished members. One wishes the driving force be skewed towards altruism rather than for pecuniary gains. I think Owelle Rochas Okorocha is blazing in this regard through his Rochas Foundation.000-N30. This is a noble vision. does not have to fast and pray before s/he eats a meal or clothes himself. With a tuition fee of not less than N500.000. Many Nigerians will rather trust or listen to their pastor’s or Imam’s than say Mr. Religious organizations. Government at all levels must begin to deliver on their promises and better the lot of her citizens. An average American or Westerner generally.On Radicalism An upsurge of religious fundamentalism invariably undermines the social order.00 (half a million naira) a session. President. The flip-side is that he who plays the Piper dictates the tune.000 minimum wage can send their wards to say Bells University of Technology. ABTI-American University. how many Nigerian parents earning N18.Churches and Mosques in most African countries have unwittingly usurped the roles of the government. Hence it becomes easy for a run-of-the-mill Imam or Pastor to brainwash an entire congregation because they depend on him for their sustenance. should set up a Trust or an Endowment Fund through which they can award scholarships to gifted students from poor backgrounds. This is not a bad thing to do. In addition to building private universities which only children of rich people like themselves can attend. Covenant University etc. Imagine the prevailing scenario where a Church or an ex-president builds a private university and children from poor backgrounds cannot afford to attend such schools. At the risk of partisanship. Proliferation of Private Universities It has become a fad in Nigeria for anybody who is somebody to own a private university. A Multi-faceted Approach Page 3 of 10 .

Americans design and encourage programs that are geared towards prevention than cure by exterminating the causative agents of the disease rather than fighting the symptoms as we do in Nigeria. I was amazed to discover a cornucopia of academic trusts. education/scholarships and Skill acquisition are viable tools that can nip insecurity. violent extremism and terrorism in the bud hence their immense direct and indirect investments in security/defence and education. radicalism and terrorism in the bud. Ongoing programmes. Efforts must be geared towards ensuring that every Nigerian irrespective of place of birth or the family he/she is born into has a chance to actualize his or her God-given potentials. The United States Experience The Americans understand and profoundly appreciate the importance of nipping crimes. scholarships and endowment funds geared towards supporting and encouraging bright and probably poor American citizens and even foreign students and scholars. Good governance will go a long way in exterminating insecurity and terrorism in Nigeria. promotion of Public-Private Partnerships and a collective effort to counterterrorism. A few of these academic programs are: Page 4 of 10 .Analysts and experts concur that a potpourri of proactive measures. Washington recommends that Nigeria sets up a ‘’comprehensive programme in the northern parts of Nigeria’’ in addition to a Security strategy and a socio-economic plan. This will engage and dissuade would-be terrorists and criminals/kidnappers. variants of the haphazardly packaged ‘amnesty programme’. wealth and opportunities trickle down and people are lifted out of poverty. Sequel to the complexity of the Security situation in Nigeria with a mix of economic. radicalism. To this effect. political and social strife. individuals or organizations as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility. must be put in place by the government. Through these programmes.intelligence surveillance/gathering. the United Nations Counterterrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) accentuates the importance of strategy.

Harry S.S Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology directorate’s $55. Heinz Company Foundation Fellowship H.Fulbright Scholarship The U. 32 American Rhodes Scholars are selected.S. for individuals from developing countries who demonstrate potential as future leaders in the public. Gates Cambridge Scholarship. t he U. private sectors.000 postdoctoral associateship program and the FBI’s Intern Program. and U. Rhodes Scholarships The Rhodes scholarship. non-profit. awards outstanding students from around the world to study at the University of Oxford. Not forgetting the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. government. Student Fulbright grants send 1. Page 5 of 10 . Rangel International Affairs Fellowship Program The Charles B. H. Charles B. Heinz Company Foundation Fellowship.500 students to one of 150 different countries for an academic year. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship seeks students who wish to pursue a career in the Foreign Service. The National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship The Department of Defense (DoD) annually supports approximately 8.J. Department of Homeland Security Undergraduate Scholarships & Graduate Fellowships. Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program (PRISP) recruits and trains analysts and linguists.000 graduate students in fields important to national defense needs. Truman Scholarship The Truman Foundation awards 75-80 scholarships annually to students who want to Make a Difference.J. Each year. the oldest international fellowships.S.

The CIA. Counterterrorism Engagement. The United States’ National Security Agency also has several other scholarship and fellowship programs. The Defense Intelligence Agency sponsors the National Consortium for MASINT Research (NMCR) Scholars Program which provides scholarship funding for students attending consortium universities. engineering. DIA. Life is quid pro quo! On the international scene. the Terrorist Interdiction Program/Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System Program. including ROTC programs. Counterterrorist Finance. and NSA participate in an Undergraduate Training Program known as the Stokes Program which targets bright high school seniors and high performing college sophomores majoring in areas critical to the needs of the participating agencies. United States Intelligence agencies also participate in some specialized scholarship programs such as the Information Assurance Scholarship Program for students at NSA-designated Centers of Academic Excellence and the NDEA/SMART Scholarship Program for math. broadcast outreach to targeted audiences etc reaches out and partners with other governments and organizations in fighting crimes and terrorism. science. his country somehow guarantees that her citizens will actualize their aspirations. Students selected for this programme receive a government salary and full benefits as well as tuition and other educational expenses. You see why an average American does not have any qualms dying for his country because to a large extent. and other critically needed technical skills. The United States military services offer a number of scholarships and fellowships. the United States government through the USAID and a battery of critical counterterrorism capacity building programs – Antiterrorism Assistance Program. and transnational activities under the Regional Strategic Initiatives. Page 6 of 10 .

Many Nigerian former leaders lose their relevance immediately they leave office. ex-bank MD’s etc.350 pupils (41.915 male and 30. Nelson Mandela. accumulated wealth and intellect in a Humanitarian Cause they are passionate about.060 were identified as orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). individuals and the private sector as a benchmark. DFID too is massively invested in uplifting Nigerians. Using the efforts of the United States government.S. The vulnerable children received support materials to allow them to attend school. Imagine the social transformation that will take place if the N6bn ‘Security Vote’ and the so-called ‘Constituency Allowance’ accruable to all 36 State Page 7 of 10 . channel their energies. Kofi Annan amongst others are global brands even after they left office. Ministers. Kofi Annan Foundation fights a cause against drug trafficking in the West African subregion and so on and so forth. Bill Clinton. ‘’USAID worked in Islamiyyah and Quranic schools in Northern Nigeria benefitting 72.For example in 2011. they seldom make intellectual or otherwise contributions in the national or International scene. can we say we are doing enough in Nigeria in our supposed fight against violent crimes. undertook programs that promoted reforms to enable developing and transition countries to allocate resources toward activities to accelerate economic growth’’. in cooperation with other U. out of which 15. Envisage the social transformation and positive multiplier-effect that will take place if all Nigeria’s former President’s/Heads of state. ‘’the USAID. insecurity and terrorism? Calling on Nigeria’s Super-Rich and Institutions to set up Endowment Funds/Foundations/Trusts Mo Ibrahim Foundation supports good governance and great leadership in Africa.435 female). Also in 2011. government agencies. Governors. Apart from playing parish-pump politics and using their war-chest to pull strings or destabilize the polity.

Gen. M. Arisekola’s. Babangida’s. Sometimes these eminent Nigerians amass stupendous wealth only for their children to start fighting over who gets what after their parents demise. Apologies to those whose names appear here that already have such mechanisms. Atiku’s.B Joshua. acquiring/accepting luxury cars and private jets as birthday gifts. The TY Danjuma. Harry Akande’s. Otedola’s. Love him or hate him. the State Security Service (SSS). One understands that some of these prominent Nigerians are philanthropists per excellence but a lot of times they lack a well-structured vehicle like a Trust or a Foundation through which their philanthropy will be better harnessed. With a well-knit Foundation or a Trust. Adamu Ciroma’s. Emeka Anyaoku’s. these noble visions will surely outlive the individuals that conceptualized them. David Mark’s. Iwuanyanwu’s. Oritsejafo’s. Wale Babalakin’s. they must walk the talk and give hope to hopeless people. award scholarships to promising but poor students or train people on skill acquisition. T. Peter Odili’s. Rasaq Okoya’s. TY Danjuma reportedly earmarked $100m of his $1bn ‘Oil Windfall’ for his TY Danjuma Foundation (TYDF). Tony Elumelu Foundations amongst others must not be mere paper-tigers.K. Dantata’s.O Abiola is a classic example. Borrowing a leaf from the Americans. Cosmas Maduka’s. Enoch Adeboye’s.governors and members of the National Assembly respectively are judiciously utilized and channeled into truly uplifting Nigerians. The vision and philanthropic proclivity of many prominent Nigerians fizzle out when they die. Foundations or Endowment Funds that will encourage academic research.B Joshua enunciates practical Christianity through his philanthropy. Adenuga’s. Chris Oyakhilome’s amongst others should establish or partner with existing Trusts. other Nigerian Pastor’s/Imam’s should borrow a leaf from Pastor T. it will not be anomalous for Nigeria’s National Intelligence Agency (NIA). One wishes he puts in place an enduring framework that will continue to propagate his visions even after his demise. Dangote’s. Defence Industries Page 8 of 10 . Rather than rubbing their wealth in. Jimoh Ibrahim’s. Andy/Ifeanyi Uba’s. The Obasanjo’s. Paschal Dozie’s. Bola Tinubu’s.

it was easier for us to be privy to some goings-on in school than the formal security officers employed by the school. Not too long ago. This will cut down rampart incidents of extra-judicial killings. During my university days. The much talked about YouWin. We Page 9 of 10 . I can tell you that because we were part of the students: we study. the ICPC.Corporation of Nigeria (DICON). our bane is in the implementation of such ideas. Modernizing Almajiri System of Education It’s not that we are bereft of well-articulated ideas in Nigeria. President Goodluck Jonathan commissioned a N240m Almajiri Model Boarding School in Gagi. CBN’s ‘’Entrepreneurship Development Centres’’. Graduate Internship Programmes. Ministry of Communications ‘’Naija Cloud’’ amongst others must not be paper-tigers or instruments of political benefaction. SURE-P. One of such ideas is to modernize the almajiri system in northern parts of Nigeria and integrate it into our mainstream educational system. Sokoto state. rule of law amongst others. One hopes other northern states will replicate such projects. live with and mingle with them. Nigeria Police and other sister organizations to encourage internship programs. On the part of the Nigerian Armed Forces. the EFCC. award bursaries/scholarships or research grants to scholars. Skill acquisition programmes must also be put in place across Nigeria to absorb these idle and frustrated youths. the school authority saw the wisdom in incorporating military/Para-military students and the Man O War into the university’s security network. frustrated and hopeless youths must be given hope and kept busy. A lot of these angry. there must be ongoing training and retraining of the officers and rank and file especially in the area of weapon handling. Any student who gets such an offer or opportunity will no doubt be perpetually grateful and indebted to the country at large. He/she will invariably be an instrument in the fight against crime. the Police and other security agencies. social disorder and terrorism. One is gladdened by the prospect of the ‘‘Strategic Philanthropy Summit’’ recently co-hosted by the Goodluck Jonathan government.

One does not begrudge these folks.com +2347080008285 Page 10 of 10 . Thanks to the Petroleum Industry Bill debate. Don Okereke (Security Analyst & Consultant) Abuja. wanton corruption/profligacy. What obtains in the North and in many parts of Nigeria is a situation where an individual in a community amasses so much wealth and others depend on him for their upkeep. The rich cannot continue to sleep with their two eyes closed until drastic and collective actions are taken to give hope to hopeless and hapless individuals in our midst. pockets of sporadic terrorist incidents.earnestly hope that this Philanthropy platform hits the ground running in view of the exigency of its vocation. we rather wish that they plough back just an iota of their wealth towards a Humanitarian Cause. unemployment. Security is a collective responsibility. Nigeria donnuait@yahoo. all hands must be on deck. hopelessness. The Northern part of Nigeria has produced the most President/Heads of State and political leaders in Nigeria but unfortunately this aggrandized wealth has not trickled down to the downtrodden. abject poverty. At the risk over-egging the pudding or been dubbed a pessimist or a prophet of doom. many of us would not have known that few individuals from a section of Nigeria own 83% of Oil Wells with the likes of Alhaji Mai Deribe purportedly netting a whopping N4bn monthly from his Oil business in a country where many struggle to eat two square meals. kidnappings will persist across Nigeria unless far-reaching measures are taken to shrink culture of impunity. Nigerians Unite Against Insecurity and Terrorism. religion fundamentalism and injustice. Let’s make Nigeria great again! Hear it! See it! Say it! Stop it!!! God bless Nigeria and Nigerians. I postulate that with or without negotiation or amnesty.