Nigeria’s forests have become ungoverned spaces, hideouts for criminals – Lalong

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The Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, says Nigeria’s forests have become “ungoverned spaces where criminals are using as hideouts to terrorize the people”.

Lalong stated this in a goodwill message he delivered at the Inauguration of Senior Executive Course 43 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Plateau State on Monday.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo officially inaugurated the Senior Executive Course 43.

The Plateau governor, who is also Chairman of Northern Governors Forum, blamed many of the challenges confronting the nation on non-implementation of “brilliant policies” that have been formulated in various sectors of national life.

Welcoming the study theme of Course 43, “Getting Things Done: Strategies for Policy and Programme Implementation in Nigeria”, Lalong urged the institute to focus on it because of its importance to national development.

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“It is an uncontestable fact that over the years in Nigeria, numerous brilliant policies have been formulated in different sectors and by different administrations. However, the paradox is that only a fraction of these numerous policies are implemented with many of them either jettisoned, abysmally carried out or left to gather dust in the shelf.

“This has led to a lot of distortions in the process of nation-building where many policies have to be re-casted all over again, implemented half-way or entirely abandoned. In the process, the nation incurs enormous losses in terms of wasted resources, manpower and valuable time.

“Corruption, lack of continuity in government policies, inadequate human and material resources, poor leadership programme, sectionalism and ethnic biases and lack of political will are some of the reasons attributed to the lack of effective policy implementation in Nigeria. Such reasons can by no means justify the enormous resources that are wasted and the attendant consequences to the nation.

“Today, some of the challenges we face ranging from insecurity, poverty, illiteracy, climate change, poor transportation, inadequate infrastructure, abuse of power, mistrust and intolerance, lack of adherence to rule of law among others can be traced to the inability to implement policies enunciated at various times.

“For example, in the 50s and 60s, there were policies to administer our forests and its resources where the regions had Ministries of Forestry solely devoted to managing these endowments. Along the line, we lost track and scrapped them such that today, we no longer have such Ministries to focus on many of our vast forests. The result is that they have become ungoverned spaces where criminals are using as hideouts to terrorize the people. The same story is replicated in various sectors of the economy.

“For us to change this trajectory and get things done, we must make a radical shift where policies with timelines will be faithfully adhered to, no matter who is in charge. National aspirations should not be subjected to political, ethnic or religious biases that end up impoverishing all of us. We must look at the larger picture in implementing policies that impact the lives of our people today and in the future. Examples are all over the world for us to learn from,” Lalong said.

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John is a University of Lagos-trained journalist who has read almost every novel written by Chinua Achebe, Jeffrey Archer and Dan Brown. He's an expert Scrabble and draughts player who is also excellent at swimming.
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