The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has charged the federal and state governments to expedite actions to restore peace, law, and order before political campaigns for the 2023 general election.
Dr Michael Olawale-Cole, President, LCCI, gave the advice in a statement on Tuesday in Lagos.
Olawale-Cole posited that the country needed order, and innovative security architecture, or security would soon suffer a heavy blow once politics was centre stage in governance.
He noted that the major challenge waiting for the incoming Nigerian president would be to resolve the security crises.
According to him, the worsening insecurity profile in Nigeria is reaching a worrisome dimension with the unfortunate incident on March 28, 2022.
“Some gunmen launched a deadly attack on a Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) Abuja-Kaduna evening train.
“On behalf of the business community, the LCCI is concerned with the current insecurity crisis because of its impact on businesses and the economy.
“We are also very concerned because of the apparent threat to our forthcoming general elections in 2023 and, by extension, a threat to our democracy.
“In the absence of peace and security, it would be challenging to hold credible, free, and fair elections that would reflect the choices of the electorates about whom their leaders should be.
“Still, we must restore and preserve law and order in Nigeria today for us to be able to hold the elections next year.
“Majority of Nigerians still have confidence in President Muhammadu Buhari, being an accomplished and retired army general, to be well equipped to tackle the country’s daunting security challenges,” he said.
Olawale-Cole noted that insecurity in Nigeria was multidimensional and pervasive.
The president, in the face of these challenges, recommended that the country needed a surveillance infrastructure monitored in real-time to respond to emergencies and foil planned crimes.
He said this called for more technology deployment to gather intelligence, provide 24/7 responsive surveillance, and track persons’ movements and activities, especially in already troubled areas.
“Youth unemployment is a critical factor fuelling insecurity in Nigeria as this is a driving factor for the insecurity crises.
We need more jobs to engage our youths productively.
“We must tackle gun control crises where unauthorized and unidentified people possess firearms without strict control.
It is estimated that more than six million small arms are in the hands of civilian non-state actors.
“Drug abuse by our youth must be curtailed, and drug traffickers adequately prosecuted and punished as a deterrent.
“The huge amount of N2.41 trillion earmarked for the defence and security sector in the 2022 Federal Government budget may have reflected the government’s commitment to resolving security challenges.
“We, however, need to be prudent with spending and put in place checks to prevent the diversion of funds to other uses like sponsoring political activities,” he said.
Olawale-Cole implored Buhari to convene a national council of state meeting to deliberate on several issues around politics, the economy, insecurity, and the forthcoming general elections.