From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, restated that his administration would continue to deal with insurgents, bandits, kidnappers and other criminals who constitute a threat to innocent citizens across the country.
He acknowledged that the country is battling with different dimensions of security challenges, noting that he has asked the new service chiefs to fashion out fresh strategies to end the ugly situation.
President Buhari at Northern States Governors Forum and leaders meeting in Kaduna.
Represented by his Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, the president said the Federal Government would continue to fight bandits, kidnappers, insurgents and other criminals across until they are wiped out.
“Criminals are criminals and should be dealt with accordingly as such without resorting to ethnic profiling. I have already tasked the new service chiefs to devise new strategies that will end this ugly situation where lives of our people continue to be threatened by hoodlums and criminals. I expect that at this meeting, your Forum will also discuss ways of building stronger collaboration with the security architecture and the people in defeating criminality across the region and the nation at large.
“It is pertinent to note that the increased realisation of our security, democracy and development are inextricably linked. Democracy and rule of law promote stability and in turn reinforce the power to assert freedom and economic progress of are our people.
“This thread of interconnection needs support of the Northern States Governors Forum and entire citizenry of the country as any amount of positive sacrifice would be beneficial in bringing about national development and security of our nation.”
Mr. Simon Lalong, Plateau Governor and chairman, Northern States’ Governors Forum, regretted that insecurity has moved the region backward ever than before in terms of infrastructural and educational development.
“Our region continues to carry perhaps the heaviest burden of development in the country where the indices for quality of life are low within a large percentage of our population. Statistics have shown that we have a long way to go in terms of education, healthcare delivery, infrastructural development, food security, industrialisation and human capital development, among others. All these are exacerbated by the insecurity that has bedeviled us and the entire nation for many years now.”
He said the forum would receive and review 12 reports bordering on repositioning the region to address its challenges.
“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.
“Besides, their recommendations will also help us project a common position on national issues in such a way as to strengthen national unity and galvanise support towards a wholistic approach that will guarantee results.”
Lalong, however, said though some of the issues were not peculiar to the North, “but the ways we handle them will to a large extent shape how they are resolved at the national level”.
“For instance, 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 result is that the economy of the nation is gradually being affected and food security also jeopardised. That is why we have remained resolute in supporting and advising the Federal Government, collaborating with relevant security agencies and also using opportunities at our disposal to work for a more secured nation.”
The chairman noted that the abduction of school children and passengers in Niger, was a “reminder of the difficult situation we face and the need for us to redouble our efforts in overcoming them.”
On herder-farmer clashes and the harsh rhetorics from various parts of the country, Lalong said that the north remained 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, therefore, continue to appeal to our colleagues in other parts of the country and indeed all Nigerians, particularly opinion leaders, to be cautious in their utterances and actions so as not to provide the oxygen for the exploitation of our fault lines to the detriment of our nation.
“At all times, we must identify, isolate and punish crime no matter who commits it rather than resort to labeling and generalisation that shields the criminals and generates tension for the innocent.”
We must not play politics, trade blame over insecurity -El-Rufai
Kaduna Governor, Nasir El-rufai, admonished his colleagues to join hands to end insecurity in the region and the country in general and stop playing politics and trading blame.
“Our people are looking up to us for solutions. We need peace and security in the north and Nigeria. There is no time to engage in analysis-paralysis. There is no room to trading blame. There is no space for partisanship. Our people are in dire straits. We must discharge our duty as leaders to them by collaborating across all divides to solve the challenges that confront our region and Nigeria.
“Working with our traditional institutions, community and civic leaders, we need to accelerate efforts to avail our region every chance to successfully engage the challenges and possibilities of the 21st Century. We need enduring peace and security to ensure that our people can prosper and that our states can develop. Amidst the fears and despairs of the moment, we have a chance to offer hope and buoy up the spirit of our people,” he said.
Federal government’s delegations to the meeting included Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Ahmed Wase, who represented the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan.
Emirs and traditional rulers from the region led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Mohammed Sa’ad Abubakar also attended the meeting.
Sultan: You must be in hurry to arrest insecurity
In his contribution, the Sultan of Sokoto and Chairman Northern Traditional Council, Alhaji Sa’ad Mohammed Abubakar called on Northern governors to hurry up and end insecurity in the region.
“It is easy to destroy, but very difficult to build, and destruction have been going on for years; for decades things have been going bad an there were not arrested. Now the governors are trying to build , it will take time, but the people must be patient. But people are asking how long should we have to be patient. I know people are in a hurry, so the governors too must be in a hurry to do their best.
“Our own is to continue to encourage them , pray for them, partner with them , we are not competitors. We are here to encourage you and we will continue to do that.
“I would like to condole with our people who have suffered from this insecurity in Katsina, Niger, and other parts of the north, and to also commend our northern governors who went to different places to condole or to stand in for the people of the north.
“You were physically in areas like Ondo State, Oyo State and in Niger State. I would like to commend you for that show of patriotism to our people and ask you to do more because all eyes are on you as the political leaders of this great north.
“Our coming together has always provided us with an opportunity to interact on issues that affect our people and our region. You know there have been many problems and people outside there would not know what the Governors have been doing.”