A former Minister of Finance, Dr. Anthony Ani, believes that some of the federal government’s policies and practices have been catalyst to violent crimes and threats of disintegration in some parts of Nigeria over the years.
He pointed out that the now-suspended rural grazing areas policy generated unnecessary tension because the federal government and its architects were not honest to Nigerians about their intentions.
Ani made this assertion in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, during a conference on the Nigerian Economy and Society held at the University of Uyo with the theme: “Managing the Nigerian Economy and Society, time to think the Unthinkable”.
The former Finance minister said the time has come for Nigerians to tell the truth including unpleasant ones about the roles played by individuals, constituencies and communities in the crisis confronting the country.
According to him, “I can say also that many of the reported instances of violence, criminal activities and threats of national disintegration, have their roots in the policies and practices of governments.
“Take, for instance, the issue of rural grazing areas that has generated unnecessary tension in the country. Can the government and the architect of the proposal tell the world that they were absolutely honest about their intentions?
“Did they conduct careful analysis, as expected in public sector management, of the likely reactions and the potential impact of the reactions on the much- desired peace and unity?” the former finance Minister asked.
Ani said crime rates and general insecurity are direct results of deteriorating economic conditions, adding that daily reports in the media are full of horrifying accounts of senseless killings, kidnappings, armed robbery and other violent crimes unknown in the country.
He said the state of affairs in the country have indicated that economic management ideas and social practices and procedures relied upon have failed in every department of Nigeria life.
“Unemployment at 23.1 percent of labour force and rising is unacceptable, and the youth component of it which is reported to be over 35.0 percent is extremely dangerous. Poverty which stood at 54.7 percent of the population in 2004, is today reported to be over 60.0 percent.
“The growth rate of the gross domestic product has stayed below the rate of population growth (3.2 percent) in the last five years or so, and now hovering about 1.9 percent. Economic inequalities have become worse than before; the Gini coefficient has risen from 42.9 in 2004 to 48.8 in 2010 and over 49 percent in 2018,” Ani lamented.
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