From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday at the presidential villa, Abuja, had separate audiences with four northern state governors over the insecurity challenges bedeviling the region.
He met with Governors Aminu Masari of Katsina, Abdulahi Sule of Nasarawa and Darius Ishaku of Taraba states, who all requested for assistance to end the insecurity situation they are facing in their states.
Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state, had on Monday night met the president on the same issues.
Speaking to State House Correspondents in separate interviews after their meetings, Masari stressed the need for northern states to collaborate to tackle the security challenges in the northwest.
He said unless there is such cooperation, bandits and terrorists will always get away after committing their heinous acts.
Masari, who led a delegation of elders form Katsina to the closed door meeting with the President, said: “I think what is most important for us to succeed in fighting these bandits is for all of us in the states, especially the northwestern states to take the pains and work together to make sure that we block all the loopholes
“But if one state has a policy and another has a different one, certainly they (terrorists) will always be moving from one state to another. Luckily enough, we are already working closely with states that border us, like Nasarawa and Niger, to bring the problem to a manageable and tolerable level.”
On the recent killing of the state commissioner of science and technology, Rabe Nasir, by assassins, Governor Masari said the incident had nothong to do with banditry.
According to him, it was purely a case of assassination.
He assured the family of the deceased and the state that security agents are working hard to unravel the cause of the murder.
Masari added: “The incident we had last week had nothing to do with banditry attack. It was purely an assassination by unknown killers, which the Police and other security agencies are working round the clock to unravel what happened.
“Because my Commissioner was killed by an unknown assassins and not a single pin was stolen in his house. So, you could see that this was a pure crime that has to be fully investigated for us to know the root causes and why.”
While noting that the measures put in place by security agencies have brought an improvement in the security situation in Katsina, Masari further said: “I think if we are talking about banditry, certainly, we have seen some improvement; we cannot say normalcy has returned but there is improvement.
“When we had a comparative analysis before the issuance of the security containment order, what we saw in three months when we compared, was a drastic drop of over 100 percent in terms of the rate of kidnappings, killings and their associated crimes with banditry.
“So, the incident we had last week had nothing to do with banditry.”
Also speaking, Governor Sule of Nasarawa, said that he met the president to express his appreciation for the support being received by his state over security.
He said: “I came to express appreciation to Mr. President about all the supports we have continued to receive in the area of security.
“You must have heard, there were several joint operations of the special forces; the military, the police, together with vigilante, the Air Force and the Navy in the two local government areas bordering Abuja and as a result, the various operations have been very successful.
“Recently, some of our schools were being targeted, we privately approached and actions were taken and then we thank almighty God that we’ve been able to dislodge those ones.”
On the Boko Haram insurgents that had gathered in parts of the state, he said they have now been dispersed.
“Those are the ones I have mentioned that mostly they had been dislodged because of the joint operations, even from the support we get from my colleague in Kogi State. So, constantly, we share information with Kogi State as well as Benue and a lot of efforts have been put into that and so far, so good,” he said.
However, Sule affirmed that despite the effort that has been put in, Nasarawa state is not free from insecurity.
“Well, nowhere in the world is completely safe, but to a certain extent, we can say we are. If you compare us with so many parts of the country, you can consider Nasarawa as a very safe place today,” Governor Sule declared.
On his part, Governor Ishaku of Taraba state stated that he briefed President Buhari on the recent attack on Manga community in Takum local government area of the State by Ambazonia separatists from Southern Cameroon.
The invasion of the community by the separatists from neighbouring Cameroon led to the sack of residents of Manga village, which is said to be 20 kilometers away from Kashimbilla Dam.
Ishiaku said he requested for assistance from the federal government to tackle security and other developmental issues in the state.
Governor Ishaku said: “First is that I came to see, Mr. President, on security issues. If you remember, some weeks back, there was an attack in Taraba state, specifically, at Manga, which has boundary with Cameroon, it was invaded by the Cameroonian Ambazonia separatists. They kill 11 people, including the chief of the small town.
“And I have not been able to see Mr. President because of his busy schedule and his travels.
“So I’m fortunate today to have an appointment with him, to brief on details, about what transpired and need to give us some assistance in that axis. It was a very usual discussion and I am happy.”
Asked if he was satisfied with the way the federal government was handling the situation and if he was confident that there will not be a repeat of the attack, the Governor said: “That’s why I’m here to see Mr. President because he alone can give the order for us to strengthen our border there by sending security men along the border. Once we have that I think we will secure that border. Incidentally we have about the longest border with Cameroon. So there is absolute need to secure it and strengthen it. And this particular area of Manga is by the lakeshore because of the damming of Kasimila, the water has gone almost like six kilometers into Cameroon. So people now find it easy just to come in and go out.
“So we might also need a naval base to be able to secure, police and monitor the people that go in and out. And also an immigration posts. All these are requests and I think Mr. President has assured me that he will do something about it, I’m very hopeful.”
The Taraba Governor also told the president about the need of the federal government intervention to import 2,000 tractors donated to it by the Czech government, which he said had been long lying idle for two years.
He said he also sought President Buhari’s intervention in getting the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to release the a loans that have been approved but was yet to get to the state.
According to him, without these loans, the state government will not be able to encourage farmers to go into the dry season farming, which harvests are four times more than that of the rainy season. He added that the advantages of dry season farming far outweighs that of wet season.
The Governor said he also told the President that Taraba can supply the country with rice, saying “Indeed, Taraba is nature’s gift to the nation. We have all the zones, the seasons, the vegetation, right from Savannah, to the trunk rain forest.”