Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Governors of the North East have raised the alarm that Boko Haram insurgents are recruiting more members in the region.
The governor, who spoke, yesterday after a meeting at the Presidency, Abuja, called on the Federal Government to address the causes of insurgency in the region.
Chairman of North East Governors’ Forum (NEGF) and Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, made this disclosure while briefing State House Correspondents after they met with President Muhammadu Buhari and and heads of security agencies in Aso Rock, Villa.
This is as President Buhari again charged the military to do better in the war against insurgency.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, six of the North East Governors, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (retd) and the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari attended the meeting.
Governors in attendance were Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe), Darius Ishaku (Taraba) and Mai Mala Buni (Yobe.)
Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, and the Director General, Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi were part of the meeting.
Also in attendance were the Director General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufa’i, the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, and the Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammad Dingyadi.
Zulum, who briefed alongside his Adamawa State counterpart, Ahmadu Fintri, said: “The governments of the region have commended the efforts of Federal Government in securing the region. However, we told Mr. President that there is need to address the causes of insurgency, which are not limited to the endemic poverty, hunger among others.
“One of the root causes is that of access to farm lands, people need to go back to their farmlands, people need to be resettled in their original homes so that they can restart their means of livelihood. This is one of the reasons the insurgents are recruiting more into the sect. Therefore, creating enabling environment will enable the people to go about their normal duties and will no doubt reduce the cases of insurgency.
“We also recommended that police should be empowered with certain state-of-the-art equipment, armoured personnel carrier and so on with a view to bridging the manpower gap that we are having in the Nigerian military.”
Responding to a question on the remarks that he was an ungrateful person after the recent attack on him and the suggestions that the military were not committed to ending the insurgency challenge because “business” interest, he said: “We have had series of consultations after the attack and I think security is not only about Federal Government, there is need for the federal, states and the local government to come together with a view to providing solutions that will end this crisis in the region.”
Meanwhile, President Buhari has again charged the army to do better in the war against insurgency in the North East.
He said his administration ran on three key principles- security, economy and fighting corruption.
Buhari added that security was the ultimate job of government and that based on the level of insecurity his government inherited, the people of the North East will appreciate what his government has done so far.
“I assure you North East governors, especially the governor of Borno, that we go to bed and wake up thinking about you and how to secure our country. That is the fundamental responsibility of a government; security. In our party, we recognise this. We campaigned on three fundamental issues: security, economy and fighting corruption.
“Nigerians, we thank God, understood us and they voted for us. In 2019, we went round the whole country, saying the same thing and apologising for not doing better, but we are doing our best. I think Nigerians believe us and we did our best.
“It is true that we lost some states as a ruling party in a developing country, which is normal. I am proud of that because we are impartial, that is why as ruling party, we lost some states. That means we have our own mistakes.
“Some of those that defeated us are sitting here. We know we are a developing country but we respect our country, otherwise, with the use of Army, the police and the rest of them, we could have overrun you. We just wanted to show that we are humane and we are Nigerians. We will continue to do our best.”