The Northern States Governors Forum on Thursday met with Northern traditional leaders and a federal government delegation led by the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Professor Ibrahim Gambari to address kidnapping, banditry and other challenges bedevilling the North.
Addressing the opening of the meeting at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim Government House, Kaduna, Chairman of Northern States Governors Forum and Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau state, said North carries the heaviest burden of development in Nigeria with gaps to fill in education, healthcare delivery, infrastructural development, food security, industrialisation and human capital development.
He lamented that insecurity remains the most critical challenge faced by the region, “the issue of insecurity has become a clog in the wheel of progress such that farming which is a major preoccupation of our people is being hampered. The economy of the nation is gradually being affected and food security also jeopardized.
“The recent ugly incidences of kidnap school children in Government Science Secondary School Kagara, Niger state as well as travelling passengers further reminds us of the difficult situation we face and the need for us to overcome them.
“On the issue of herder-farmer clashes which has in recent weeks generated serious concerns, we remain firm that this is a matter that must be carefully addressed with an open mind and without sentiments. While we agree that open grazing is no longer sustainable for obvious reasons, the Forum has also keyed into the National Livestock Transformation Programme (NLTP) as a veritable option that will go a long way in ending these clashes through organised ranching.
“We set up various Committees to look into specific issues and advise us on what kind of measures to adopt in changing the narrative. Some of the reports we are receiving are from the following: Committee on the New Nigeria Development Committee (NNDC) Chaired by Jigawa State Governor. Committee on Security of the North headed by the Governor of Katsina State.
“Committee on Gamji Foundation Chaired by former Governor of Bauchi State with SSGs of Benue and Kaduna States as members; Committee on herdsmen-farmer clashes headed by Plateau State Governor; Committee on the Economy of the North Post-Covid-19 and Financial Sustainability, headed by the Governor of Kebbi State. Committee on Youths Engagement headed by Emir of Zazzau.
“Committee on Restructuring and Position of the North, headed by Governor of Sokoto State; Committee on Role of Traditional Rulers headed by Emir of Lafia; Committee on Ending Almajiri Phenomenon; Committee on Investment in Renewable Energy headed by Governor of Kaduna State.
“Committee Establishment of a Commercial Bank with Northern Investors as major shareholders headed by the Governor of Sokoto State and Committee on New Nigeria Newspapers Chaired by the SSG Kaduna State. These Committees have done substantial work on the assignments given to them and will thus give us a lot to work with in resolving some of the challenges confronting our region.”
Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna state who served as host, said the region is confronted by monumental challenges and need to find a way to resolve them.
He said criminals are ravaging the country with the region mostly affected putting food security at risk.
He said the meeting has the chance to offer hope to the people of the North, but they need peace and security in the region.
The Sultan of Sokoto and leader of the Northern traditional leaders, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, said the North is suffering under the spate of kidnappings, banditry, killings and Boko Haram insurgency.
“So many incidences of kidnapping, killings, Boko Haram. Kidnapping in schools in Katsina and Niger states.
“I commend Northern state governors, particularly the governors who went to Ondo, Oyo and Niger states for shows of patriotism. I asked you to do more because all eyes are on you as political leaders of the North. There are so many problems and people out there might think governors are not doing anything. But it’s not so. It’s very easy to destroy but difficult to build.
“For decades things have been going bad but if they are not arrested things would have to be rebuilt. It would take time but people would not be patient because they are in a hurry. We are here to pray for them, to support them and offer our input for the development of the North. The issue of almajiri is a key issue, our children are out there begging for food, they are not out there for Quranic education,” the Sultan said.
The Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari led a four man delegation of Minister for Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Director General Department of Security Service, Alhaji Yusuf Bichi, and the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.
The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan was represented by the Deputy Speaker, Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Ahmed Wase. Also in attendance at the meeting are Governors of Plateau, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Sokoto, Yobe, Kebbi, Niger, Nasarawa, Adamawa, while Kogi, Kwara, Benue, Plateau, Bauchi, Zamfara, Borno, Kaduna were represented by their deputy governors.
The Sultan of Sokoto led other royal fathers like Emir of Katsina, Shehu of Borno, Emir of Zazzau, Emir of Kano, Etsu Nupe, Emir of Lafia, Emir of Gombe, Emir of Zamfara and Tor Tiv among others.No tags for this post.