Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has identified insecurity as Africa’s biggest threat to achieving its sustainable development goals, coupled with the ravaging impact of Covid-19.
Gbajabiamila, who spoke at a Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments (COSAP) in Abuja on Monday, said the military coups and other terrorist activities taking over the continent, are a threat to the well being of Africans, especially the vulnerable children.
“The present insecurity and the rampaging uncertainty across the continent represent the single biggest threat to the well-being of our children. Therefore, we must wage the battle for peace with a warrior’s resolve because everything depends on our victory over the forces that threaten our children’s future.
“Across the continent, democracy is under threat and in retreat. From Sudan to Mali, Guinea and Chad, elected governments have been usurped by military juntas, overturning years of progress and the hopes of millions.
“Even in the places where elected governments are still in charge, public faith in the governing institutions is at an all-time low. When citizens lose confidence that a democratic government can meet their expectations, democracy loses credibility and support and begins a death spiral. This is the reality in too many places across our continent,” he said.
The speaker also noted that the devastating effects of the covid-19 brought to the fore, the issues begging to be addressed; such as improving in the area of technology to be better prepared ahead of unexpected circumstances.
“It (Covid-19) brought into stark relief the massive effort required to ensure that we are better prepared for next time. And there will be a next time.
“As technology has hastened the flow of information and resources and facilitated travel and trade, it has also made it possible for previously unknown diseases, from the farthest reaches of the globe, to spread with speed and disastrous consequences, as we have just witnessed.
“I am glad that despite predictions of disaster, Africa, for the most part, has managed this disease with evenness, and the actions of many governments across the continent worked to keep the worst outcomes from manifesting on our shores. But there is a lot of work to do. Much of that work will fall to parliaments across the continent.
“As advocates and representatives of the people, it is our responsibility to set the terms of our national development and ensure that government priorities reflect our citizens’ most pressing needs and highest aspirations”.
Gbajabiamila urged African leaders to take emergency action towards safeguarding the future, especially for the African children who are the hopes of tomorrow.
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