Gen. Agwai canvasses a role for communities in tackling insecurity




 The former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Martin Luther Agwai (Rtd) has recommended what he called ”bottom-up approach” as a solution to insecurity in the country.

Agwai gave the recommendation on Sunday in an interview with newsmen at the inauguration of a vocational training centre “the Airamin Institute” , to mark his 72nd birthday in Abuja.

He expressed concern over the spate of insecurity in different parts of the country, including the Boko Haram menace, banditry, herdsmen and farmers challenges, militancy and kidnappings.

“I do not say things without suggesting a solution. My suggestion is that lets try and find the answer using the bottom-up approach, from the grassroots, in tackling this menace of insecurity.

“Let us work with the people at the grassroots level and find out what they think could be the solution. You may be surprised that those at the grassroots may have a better solution than those at the top. That is part of my suggestions on the way forward.

“The military, the police and other security agencies are really trying their best and it seems they are even over stretched in some areas. But, I think the answer is to come down and look at the way we can get the support of people at the grassroots to be part and parcel of the way forward,” Agwai said.

Agwai also advocated the use of a “carrot and stick” approach in tackling the nation’s security challenges, saying ”stick-stick” alone cannot win the situation, because it is purely an internal problem to Nigeria.

“If we are fighting an external war, it is a different thing. This is an internal war. If people don’t accept the carrot, we use the stick.

“When we see them behaving properly, we use the carrot. In that way, and working with the grassroots, we will be able to contain the situation,” he said.

Agwai was of the view that in an effort to quickly address insecurity some people, who were not supposed to be in the military, found themselves there creating a bad image for the military.

“Another thing we have to look at is that the military is getting involved in things that are not purely military. For example, creating an enabling environment in crises areas could be military, but administering the area is not military. These are some of the challenges,” he added.

He advised the military authorities to accept the good criticisms made against it in good faith, but cautioned the people against running down the military establishment because of their high expectations of them.

Agwai commended the initiative of his children in setting up the Airaman institute, to enable young people become self-employed instead of waiting for government  or NGOs for employment.

Rebecca Agwai, the Director of the Airamin Brand, said the institute was established  to promote entrepreneurship skills among young Nigerians, for the sole purpose of empowering and inspiring them to actualise their potentials, while propelling them out of poverty, through independent and self-reliant employment.

“ Our mission is to capture individuals, especially while they are still young, and impart the necessary skill sets required for producing successful persons, capable of steering our nation to peace and sustainable development.

“This we want to achieve through the essential positive contribution found in job creation,” she said.

Rebecca advised young people to take advantage of the institute to become self reliant and not to rely on government, saying that the institute expects to become fully operational in Jan. 2021 with three departments: fashion, beauty artistry and events management.

The courses to be offered by the fashion department, according to her, included building young fashionistas aged seven years to 16, foundation and advanced garment design and construction, as well as master classes in couture garment design and construction. (NAN)

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