Governors of the 19 Northern States in the country on Monday agreed to cooperate with the Federal Government in the fight to eliminate the Boko Haram terrorist group, which they said have become a threat to national security.
Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State and Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, who made the declaration during the commissioning of the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation Office Building in Kaduna on Monday, said with increased attacks by the terrorist group in the north east, the governors of the region will encourage President Goodluck Jonathan to declare total war on the insurgents.
He explained that members of Boko Haram are no longer terrorists but rebels and enemies of the nation who must be crushed at all costs before they destabilise the peaceful co-existence of the country.
Governor Aliyu, while explaining that the governors of the region have limited powers to crush the Boko Haram terrorists since they are not in control of security apparatus, however called for the creation of state police to enable the governors take responsibility of security challenges in their respective states.
On his part, Governor Mukhtar Yero of Kaduna state called on the Northern state governments to initiate a harmonised development plan that will ensure rapid economic growth and infrastructural development in the region, which he noted will in turn reduce restiveness in the north.
Governor Yero, who noted that the problem of the North is as a result of leadership failure orchestrated by mutual suspicion and self aggrandisement, said the time had come for the region to reflect on the vision and legacies of the late Sir Ahmadu Bello by introducing policies and programmes that will directly touch on the citizenry.
President Goodluck Jonathan, who was represented at the event by the Minister of Special Duties, Tanimu Turaki, said the Federal Government remains resolute to end terrorism in the country and reiterated government’s willingness to dialogue with any of the insurgents willing to lay down their arms.
President Jonathan also called for collective effort of all Nigerians in the war against terrorism and however eulogized the legacies of the late Ahmadu Bello whom he said fast tracked development in the northern region.