Monday, 13 April 2015

How To Tackle Boko Haram – EU Envoy

How To Tackle Boko Haram – EU Envoy

How To Tackle Boko Haram – EU Envoy

Head of European Union Delegation to Nigeria and Economic Community of West African States, Ambassador Michel Arrion, yesterday attributed the prolonged terrorist onslaughts in northern parts of the country to the hopelessness of the army of unemployed youths and wrong ideology.
The envoy also stated that there was a clear distinction in the prevailing Nigerian economic situation, which seems to favour the rich at the expense of the poor.
Speaking with newsmen in Ilorin on the sideline of the election observation in the country, Arrion said government must adopt a soft approach in de-radicalizing those that had been hypnotised by the ideology of Boko Haram in the NorthEast.
He explained that a battle could be won easily if necessary strategies were deployed promptly, saying that to win a war or peace was an uphill task.
The diplomat said upon winning the terror battle, the government must develop a counter-terrorism policy to permanently nip the ugly trend in the bud.
Arrion, who also set agenda for the president-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, on the dwindling economy, urged the incoming government to cut expenditure by plugging all leakages and improve on its revenue sources.
He tasked the new central government to enter into a sustainable synergy with the forum of state governors with a view to building better dialogue, which would in turn affect the nation’s socio- economic issues positively.
The envoy praised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for setting precedents with the manner the 2015 general elections were conducted, saying it would serve as a template for African states preparing for elections.
Arrion said, “one has to make the distinction between the short term, medium term and long term. The short term certainly is to address the question of insecurity- Boko Haram. It is obvious. Nigeria has to recover full sovereignty on the NorthEast. But it is enough to win a battle. To win the battle is easy but to win a war or peace is much more difficult.
“Tomorrow you can recover the control of the territory, but you will not have destroyed Boko Haram because it would have been embedded somewhere. You will come back again and again in five or ten years. So in a short term, you have to win the battle. But you have short term to address the root causes of Boko Haram
“There are many reasons and many explanations for Boko Haram. But one element is certainly the hopeless situation of the unemployed youths plus wrong ideology. So one should not under-estimate the role of sectarianism and some deviations of sect. After winning the battle, you need to develop counter-terrorism policy and what the office of the NSA called soft approach.
“You have to de-radicalise people. You will have prisoners; those prisoners will have to be de-radicalised; their families, their brothers and Imams will have to be de-radicalised. So that is one thing.
“The second thing is certainly the question of economic situation of the country. Nigeria is in a serious situation regarding public finance, regarding budget. You have no control of the international price of the oil. Again in the short term, the new government will have to look at the budget, probably will have to cut expenditure, but more importantly, will have to increase the revenues.
“Here, I’m sorry to say, but you have to put in place a better tax and fiscal system with more equity in the system and probably the rich will have to pay taxes on their incomes. So income tax on individuals will have to be implemented gradually, but you have to start somewhere by increasing value added tax (VAT) and duties.
“It is very unfair because if you are rich or you are poor, you pay the same VAT be it 5 or 10 per cent rich or poor. 5 per cent for a rich guy is not a problem. 5 percent for a poor is very serious. So the second question of the economy is absolutely a top priority.
“The third one, which is more in the medium and long terms, is really to build what I called the institutions to really work on the role of the judiciary, the role of the parliament, to be a prompter. You have to build your system that we hope will remain by-partisan. Because today, you have two parties and we think it is good in terms of democratic development to have check and balance system within the federal system.
“So I hope also that the new government will be able to develop a better dialogue between the Federal Government and the voice of Governors’ Forum. They have a role to play. Today, you have PDP governors, you have APC governors. Why? Let’s have a global governors forum. The governors’ forum at the executive level is also important for the federal executive council to interact. I would say that there are a lot of innovations that you can relatively easily elaborate to improve the dialogue between the federal and the states government

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