As Nigeria attains 60 years of independence, Niger governor Sani Bello says persistent insecurity is a major threat to growth and development.
He voiced this concern on Wednesday in Minna, during an interactive session with newsmen to mark the anniversary.
Bello explained that the country’s economy and the socio-political lives of the people would continue to dwindle if security challenges were not tackled squarely.
“Security is key; without it, the country will be struggling and its quest for sustainable development will be a mirage.
“We have tried as much as we can to support the security agencies, but there are allegations that the security apparatus is being compromised, if this is true, it is highly regrettable,” he said.
He said that the country had the capacity, potential and wherewithal to be a producer, rather than a consumer nation, adding that leaders must muster the courage to address challenges setting the nation back.
The governor described as “unfortunate”, a situation where the country imports virtually everything, adding that it was regrettable to see an oil-producing nation importing fuel.
“The importation of those things we can produce has led us to sustaining the industries abroad and killing our own.
“That is why we have found ourselves in this present situation.
“I hope, at 60, we are able to tell ourselves the bitter truth. We all know what is right and wrong, but we don’t have the courage to confront it.
“We must open a new chapter towards revitalising and diversifying our economy and ensuring that we invest in the future for our younger generation by resuscitating our moribund industries,” he added.
Bello, however, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for retracing the development trajectory of the nation and executing policies and programmes that would, in the long run, energise and revitalise the country’s ailing economy.