A former Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to divert the proposed N400bn for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines to tackle the worsening insecurity in the country.
He urged the government to show more concern on insecurity than the pandemic that had barely taken 2, 000 lives.
In a statement on Wednesday, the former governor said northerners and indeed all Nigerians are not happy with the security situation in the country.
He said, "The government appears to have abandoned the situation and channelled all its effort to a pandemic that has taken barely 2000 lives in the country.
"When I see that things are not going well, I cannot keep quiet. If I keep quiet, other parts of the country would accuse us of promoting what is bad. The reality is that we in the North are not happy with the way things are going.
"I see Nigeria as one country; it is not a question of whether the president is a northerner. We are not saying this based on our interest. We are saying this on behalf of the people who do not have the opportunity to say it. I believe most Nigerians have the same feeling.
"In my village, about 14 people were killed just two days ago; security has not improved."
He added, "About 2000 people died last year from Coronavirus, come to think of how many lives were killed within a year, 3000 to 400,000 people died from insecurity.
"Now we are talking about 400 billion, and just about 2,000 people have died. Why can't we divert this money for security? Insecurity is Nigeria's Coronavirus because we don't have much COVID-19 in Nigeria.
"Coronavirus has taken lives less than insecurity. Insecurity has taken lives and property. Look at the danger the insecurity is bringing, if we use that 400 billion to buy security equipment, it will do a lot in curbing insecurity.
He also asked the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to account for the N3.5bn spent so far by the taskforce.
Bafarawa said, "Nigerians need to know how this N3.5bn was spent, not just to hear figures. We need to have a breakdown; they should be transparent and tell the public what they have done."
He urged the government to prioritise sensitising the public before bringing the COVID-19 vaccines, saying 60 percent of Nigerians don't even believe in the virus.
"Instead of asking for N400bn now, let us sensitise our people. How do you expect to spend N400bn to bring the drugs when people are not convinced to take the drugs? Supposing people refuse to take the vaccines, the N400bn becomes a waste. So, we have to sensitise people to agree that this Coronavirus is real and the vaccines are real, let them be convinced. Remember what happened with the vaccine polio."
He said the money would be better used to tackle banditry, kidnapping, and other forms of insecurity in the country.