The Minister of State for Defence, Dr Bello Matawalle, says that President Bola Tinubu has demonstrated commitment to promote national unity and cohesion as key element of his Renewed Hope Agenda.
Matawalle said this at the inauguration of the National Defence College (NDC) Course 32, with the inaugural lecture titled, “Strengthening National Unity for Security and Development in Nigeria”, on Friday in Abuja.
He said that threats to national unity, security and development remained a major priority for the administration of President Tinubu, to drive his Renewed Hope Agenda.
The minister said that Nigeria was plagued with insecurity attributed to insurgency, sectionalism, banditry, demand for resource control, tribalism, religious intolerance, among others.
He said the President had made concerted effort aimed at addressing some of the key issues, which seemed to threaten Nigeria’s national unity especially in the area of political appointments.
According to him, Mr President has displayed commitment to the inclusivity of all Nigerians, irrespective of tribe, religion or party affiliation.
“Additionally, President Tinubu, while in New York for the UN General Assembly, had a sideline meeting with Nigerians in Diaspora, and asked them to come back home and build our dear nation.
“These are few of the efforts among many aimed at restoring national unity in our dear nation, Nigeria.
“Although pockets of challenges such as terrorism, banditry, kidnapping as well as militancy in parts of the country still exists, combined with the impact of oil subsidy removal.
“You will all agree with me that this present government has recorded a lot of achievements in tackling not only the manifestations of the challenges, but more importantly their root causes with the overall goal of strengthening national unity for security and development of+ Nigeria,” he said.
Matawalle solicited for the support of all Nigerians and international community in the government’s quest to promote national unity and security.
He added that the effort of various countries at ensuring security and economic development, which would eventually translate to the development of the African continent could be achieved faster by promoting unity among the various nations.
He commended the NDC for its commitment to the promotion of national unity and national security through its courses and other engagements over the years, and urged participants to strengthen the bond of relationship that would outlive their stay in the college.
While delivering the inaugural lecture, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defence, Dr Ibrahim Kana, said the issue of national unity and cohesion had remained in the front burner of the nation’s development.
Kana said the theme of the lecture was about creating a Nexus between social security, political security, food security, national security and military security.
He said that issues facing Nigeria today was not just a situation of insecurity that required military intervention, but a challenge that could be addressed through good governance, political stability and ensuring a sense of belonging for all.
According him, it is about ensuring that nobody is discriminated against and allowing everybody to contribute his quota towards the growth and development of Nigeria.
He recommended that the Federal and state governments, urging them to adopt result-Based Inter-governmental Fiscal Transfers as part of its budget process to enable funds to reach the poor and needy population.
He also advocated that government should promote media engagement and ensure effective communication with the citizens through the National Orientation Agency and other channels.
Earlier, the College Commandant, Rear Adm. Olumuyiwa Olotu, said that Course 32 had a total of 108 participants, comprising 68 senior officers from the Armed Forces of Nigeria, six participants from Nigeria Police Force and 19 senior officers from other security agencies and strategic ministries, departments and agencies of government.
He added that the course also had 16 international participants from different countries, which include the Republic of Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Cote d’ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Germany, India, Liberia and Mali.
Others are Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.