The heads of security agencies in the country have been advised to be more diplomatic in their comments on the activities of Boko Haram and other security challenges currently facing the nation.
The National Commandant of the Nigeria Peace Corps, Dickson Akor, gave the advice in an interview in Lokoja on Monday.
He described as disturbing, some statements emanating from security chiefs on the activities of Boko Haram, insisting that provocative statements from some of them had aggravated the problem.
The commandant said that the problem of insecurity in the North had been escalating, in spite of numerous road blocks and heavy presence of security personnel in the affected areas.
He suggested that government should adhere strictly with its decision to enter into negotiation with the leadership of the armed group.
Akor explained that the root cause of the Boko Haram insurgency was mass unemployment among youth in the North.
He noted that the development was a social and not religious problem as some Nigerians would want government to believe.
“Let us not be too religious in addressing the issue, it is a security challenge and we must address it headlong,” he said.
He said that commitment to improvement of the socio-economic well being of the people would help bring the situation under control and not the use of force as was the case now.
“If amnesty and compensation worked in the Niger Delta, the same should also be applied in the North,’’ he said.
The commandant suggested that government should look at the option of grassroots policing in tackling the problems of armed robbery, kidnapping, oil pipeline vandalism and other security challenges facing the country.
He said that continuous reliance on core security agencies to handle the problem had not worked and would never work.
He suggested that the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigeria Peace Corps and other grassroots oriented organisations should be engaged in intelligence gathering.
“We understand the psychology, frustrations and yearnings of these youths. The Nigeria Peace Corps and other uniformed youth groups are therefore in a better position to handle the security problems right from the grassroots,’’ he said.
Mr. Akor said that the UN recognised that the Nigeria Peace Corps was not visible in the country, due to frustrations from certain government quarters but said that steps were being taken to address this.
The commandant said that he was in Kogi to address some of the irregularities discovered in the state’s command.
He said the national headquarters of the corps had enlisted the support of the police to unravel the problem of illegal recruitment and other developments that were not in line with the ideals of the corps.