Economic development is key to crime reduction- Amaechi
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, on Friday said infrastructural and economic development would help in crime reduction and support improved functionality of the nation’s security agencies.
Amaechi stated this while delivering a lecture to participants of the the National Defence College, Course 29, in Abuja.
He made reference to how, when as Governor of Rivers State, he developed some infrastructure, which created jobs and was able to tackle problems of unrests.
“To create jobs we had to construct the railways and roads. This process saw a lot of Nigerians bein engaged and insecurity dropped drastically.
“In the education sector, we employed, 13,200 teachers, we set up a banana farm with a capacity to employ over 500 persons everyday and this saw a lot of jobless youths been engaged,” Amaechi said.
The minister also recalled how rail development helped reduce the prices of agric produce such as tomatoes as well as increased job creation.
He said: “In 2013 the cost of tomato was extremely high and the then Minister of Agriculture invited me for a meeting and he said to me, can you provide railway transportation from Kano to Lagos.
“I called the then Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation to make the trip from Kano to Lagos more regular and in one week the price of tomato crashed.”
He added that “We have done a lot in infrastructural development and employment, like in Rivers State, we built over 350 Primary schools which was not just to improve the standard of Education and enlightenment but create employment also. We built a big health Centre that was acknowledged by news agencies like CNN and Al Jazeera.
“The massive infrastructural development in the Railway sector has employed so many Nigerians, not forgetting that in 2011/2012 the out of school children In Nigeria was 10 million, which has been reduced to about 3 million.
“From 2000, we had major security crisis and the reason given was that they were fighting for their right and the uneven-distribution of national resources. They began to bomb pipeline, take oil and engage in kidnapping.
“When I came back, the first thing I did was to meet with security chiefs and the then commander Brig Bello. I told them that the reason why there was insecurity In Rivers State was because of the state of the economy, which gave rise to youth unrest in the region.”
Amaechi emphasized the importance of economic development as foundation for addressing insecurity challenges and added that the Army had had to support in ensuring internal security as the Police apparently are overwhelmed by security demands.
In his response, the Commandant, National Defence College Abuja, Rear Admiral M.M. Kadiri, thanked the minster for gracing the lecture with his presence and for the enlightenment on the role of economic and infrastructure development in curbing crime.