Nov. 16 (THEWILL) — The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has identified youth unemployment, poverty and other economic vices as factors fueling kidnappings, armed robberies and other violent crimes in Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria.
Speaking during an interaction with selected journalists in Uyo on state-to-state accountability, transparency and efficiency, USAID State Team Leader Borve Paago- Imabel, expressed concern that if left unchecked, the issue could threaten the prevailing peace. general elections of 2023.
He pleaded for a holistic plan of action by governmental and non-governmental actors, including traditional and religious institutions, to nip the problem in the bud.
“The conflict assessment reveals many problems in the state. One of the main issues that has been discovered is the role of unemployment and that can directly lead to poverty, so people are restless. Another is land dispute, and there seems to be a lot of communal land disputes in the state, which leads to many problems, noticed in different regions of the state.
“Another worrying issue is the location of Ibom Deep Seaport and what all of this indicates is that it is only relevant for the government to sit down and replan its security and peacebuilding architecture. to be able to deal with these types and levels of complaints.
“If you travel beyond the state, Akwa Ibom is considered one of the most peaceful in Nigeria, but that does not prevent Akwa Ibom State from knowing its measures of conflicts,
“The government needs to be more deliberate in actualizing industrialization policy than this current administration has designed itself as an umbrella to cushion the problems of society.
“Updating this policy will help move most vulnerable people from idleness to a more meaningful state and they will no longer be a destabilizing element, one of the issues raised in the report is that people appreciate and respect traditional institutions as arbiters of power, so the question is also to give importance to the function of these institutions that would mitigate conflict in the state? the government can handle it with the determination of the government at any time.”
Borve explained that USAID worked collaboratively with the state government to develop key strategies to ensure transparent implementation of key government policies and programs, particularly in the area of the budget.
“In terms of flashpoints, there’s more that you can’t say is the worst conflict except where there’s been an exacerbation, so that’s just pointing to a worse violent situation. like when the communities of Rivers and Akwa Ibom were affected and the roads were blocked for weeks, so those were the main flashpoints.”
“What we are set up to do is look at conflicts arising from failures in implementing budgets that should meet the needs of citizens, so we look to these ministries, departments and agencies (MDA ) to make their programs more meaningful to those involved.
“And, in addition, we are building the capacity of other stakeholders to serve as conflict mitigation platforms in the state and the next phase of which will be held in a week’s time also involves people from the councils of the state. ‘state of traditional rulers and other people, including political parties of states, because you can’t talk about political disputes without involving those parties, he will address disputes that arise from politics. define the means of development and where there is a derailment, it means that they have failed to align,” Borve pointed out.