Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has urged the international community to rise up against global insecurity by engendering justice, fairness and understanding in their relationship with others.
He said this was the only way to ensure sustainable peace, as opposed to the current pockets of insurgency in some countries across the globe.
Obasanjo spoke on Friday at the 2016 National Summit and 4th International Colloquium organised by the Centre for Human Security to mark his 79th birthday celebration, which comes up on Saturday (today).
The theme of the event was “Human security, violent extremism and radicalisation: seeking sustainable solutions.”
The event held inside the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
The former President, who spoke after some experts on security and terrorism had presented their papers, explained that the international community must address the issue of exclusion and grievances that could spark violent extremism and radicalisation.
Obasanjo said while he was in the office as the President, he went to Syria and one of the places he visited was a refugee camp, where the inmates had been since 1948. He noted that children born in such a condition would have a different world view.
He also narrated his encounter with some members of the Taliban group in Norway.
Obasanjo said, “In this matter of violent extremism and radicalisation, the international community is not helping matters. I went to Syria when I was President of Nigeria; one of the places I visited was a refugee camp where those refugees have been since 1948. Nothing is being done to them. How do you want their children to think?
“In Norway, I also met some members of the Taliban, we spent two days together. They are in the second echelon of the leadership, I was told the top ones will not come out. And when we listened to them, we are bound to say yes, they can get something better than they were getting.”
Obasanjo lamented that the international community wanted developing nations to practice democracy and good governance but some of them were deficient in the area of justice.
While highlighting other causes of violent extremism, he noted that the homes, community, schools, churches, mosques and the state had failed in their responsibilities to the citizenry in the areas of instilling values.
He said, “There is a Yoruba adage that says ‘four eyes give birth to a child, 200 eyes will nurture such a child.’ When we were young, it took the whole community to raise a child. All that no longer exists.
“Do we have homes today or houses? Parents have neglected their duty of proper upbringing of their children. They expect the schools to mould their children for them.
“If we do not get it right from home, we have started losing the battle.”
The former President also noted that the challenge of impunity was another cause for concern, because according to him “we do everything with impunity.”
In his paper presentation, the Vice-Chancellor, University of Maiduguri, Prof. Ibrahim Ndoji, said education, being the bedrock of development, remained the only potent weapon against violent extremism.
He noted that as the nation continued its search for solutions to violence, extremism and radicalism, government at all levels must provide functional education to the populace, especially the youth who were potential targets for recruitment.