From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Governors from the North Central states have jointly appealed to the Federal Government to support the region in its ongoing digital technology projects and other security preventative measures to fight crime in the zone.
This appeal formed part of the communiqué released at the end of the meeting of the North Central state governors held at the Banquet Hall of the Government House in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, on Monday.
The meeting, which was chaired by the Governor of Niger State, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, harped on the need for member states to collaborate in the provision of security equipment and joint security operations.
The governors also advocated for the establishment of military camps or training grounds in forests to block the movement of the hoodlums, suggesting that the military units should be infantry heavy with adequate support weapons.
The Governors’ Forum called for the resuscitation of Peace and Security Committees at the Local Government levels to enhance quick decision on insecurity, crime prevention and detection.
They also stressed the need for the Nigeria Police Force to synergise with the State Governments in the recruitment and training of community police force for the provision of adequate security at the grassroots level.
Another resolution reached at the end of the meeting is the need to restore involvement of traditional and community leaders in intelligence gathering and sharing in order to assist security agencies in fighting issues of insecurity in the zone.
‘The need to share Intelligence amongst member states and create multi-layer intelligence gathering.
‘States should partner with Federal Government agencies, such as Immigration and Customs Services to track the proliferation of light and small weapons. States to enact unified laws to deal with the Almajiri phenomenon,’ the statement read.
The Forum, while appreciating the effort of security agencies in tackling the issues of insecurity in the zone, urged them not to relent.
On agriculture, the Forum enjoined states of the zone to request the services of Agro-Rangers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to provide security to farmers to enhance farming activities.
They also advised states of the zone to look into modern ways of livestock farming through the promotion of ranching and assistance to genuine livestock farmers.
The governors also agreed among other things, to key into the Federal Government Livestock Transformation Plan but asked that states be allowed to drive the process.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the Forum, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, called on his colleagues to be focused on issues that will create regional development, stressing that National interest should be the guiding principles.
Bello explained that the zone and the nation is going through challenging times, occasioned by ‘kidnapping, cattle rustling, banditry, low agricultural production, infrastructural deficit, and low Internally Generated Revenue,’ which will require the Forum’s collective sense of patriotism, dexterity and innovation to surmount particularly the insecurity bedevilling the zone.
He posited that despite their cultural and religious diversity, the zone had common interests and challenges, hence, the need for a collaborative effort by all the stakeholders to assist the zone in economic rejuvenation.