Insecurity: North-East Governors Back Community Policing, Sub-Regional Security

North-East governors’ forum at the meeting held in Bauchi.

 

The North-East governors’ forum says there is a need for the region to adopt community policing and sub-regional security outfits to tackle the current security challenges in the region.

This was contained in a 10-point communique issued shortly after their meeting held on Wednesday in Bauchi.

The communique was read by the Deputy Chairman, North-East Governors’ Forum, Adamawa State Umaru Fintiri.

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“The Forum appreciates the reinforced efforts in the fight against insurgency and other forms of criminalities in the sub-region, however, it strongly feels the need for community policing and sub-regional security outfit to compliment the efforts of the Military and other Federal Security Agencies in addressing these challenges,” the governors said.

They also decried the lack of commitment by the Federal Government to continue the Mambila Hydropower Project.

Other resolutions reached were centered on the economic development of the region and improving the education sector.

 

SEE THE FULL COMMUNIQUE BELOW:

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 4TH MEETING OF THE NORTHEAST GOVERNORS’ FORUM HELD IN BAUCHI ON WEDNESDAY,3RD MARCH, 2021 

The Executive Governors of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and the Yobe States, under the auspices of North East Governors’ Forum, held its 4th meeting in Bauchi, Bauchi State and discussed, among other things, the challenges facing the sub-region. Thereafter, it resolved as follows:

 

1. The Forum, appreciates the reinforced efforts in the fight against insurgency and other forms of criminalities in the sub-region, however, it strongly feels the need for community policing and sub-regional security outfits to compliment the efforts of the Military and other Federal Security Agencies in addressing these challenges.

2. The Forum deliberated extensively on the Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Project and noted with dismay, that the project as important as it is to Nigeria and the North-East sub-region, is only existing on paper but in reality, even the project has not commenced. The Forum, therefore, calls on the Federal Government to accord the project the desired seriousness because of its anticipated impact in turning around the fortunes of the sub-region and the country at large;

3.The Forum notes the need to be aggressive in repositioning Education in the sub-region and resolved to form the North East Council on Education, with the mandate to improve quality and performance of students, set up peer review, and collate data to drive decision making on education including performance, admissions, regulatory framework, human resource management, and digitalization among others. This Council is to be chaired by the Bauchi State Commissioner for Education – Dr. Aliyu Tilde.

4. The Forum noted that the zone remains short-changed in Capital Appropriation in the 2021 budget. While recognizing that the budget is already passed and signed into law, in view of the precarious situation of the sub-region with the fact that the region requires aggressive infrastructural intervention to defeat the insurgency and build the resilience of the communities, there is a need to make an adequate allocation for capital projects for the sub-region in the build-up to the supplementary budget which is the only appropriation window to redress the apparent injustice to the region.

5. The Forum notes with thanks the selection of some roads in the sub-region to benefit from the Presidential Executive Order 07, to be constructed by Dangote Group and Lafarge/Ashaka. However, the Forum advise there should be value in the implementation of the projects while calling on the authorities concerned to maintain consultations with the sub-nationals, especially State Governments while choosing beneficiaries of such Orders in the future;

6. The Forum, after meeting with the British High Commissioner in Nigeria resolved to work with the UK Government in all the areas beneficial to the sub-region without compromising the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;

7. The Forum acknowledged works of the Great Green Wall in the sub-region, but call on the Agency to develop a framework for regional/State partnership. This would engender robust collaboration with the sub-nationals and produce maximum impact;

8. The Forum notes with dismay the scourge of substance abuse in the sub-region. It, therefore, resolved to collaborate with the Substance Abuse Research Team (SART), through the Secretaries of the various State Governments to fight the scourge.

9. The Forum reiterated its support for the North East Development Commission (NEDC) and urged it to fast track the process of development of a Masterplan for its activities within the Sub-region. It also enjoined the Commission to work closely with the State Governments on areas of intervention. This would aid priority identification, close the needs gap and support project implementation.

10. The Forum considered the prospect for oil exploration in the region and resolved to have specialized institutions to provide the required local content in the Oil and Gas industry. It commended the Bauchi and Gombe State Governments for establishing the Oil and Gas Academy for Human Capital Development.

The meeting adjourned and to reconvene on Wednesday, 2nd June 2021 at Jalingo, Taraba State.

Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, FNSE, mni

Chairman, North East Governors’ Forum (NEGF)/

Executive Governor of Borno State

 

Why Insurgents Are Recruiting More Members – North-East Governors

President Muhammadu Buhari at a meeting with the north-east governors and others in Abuja on August 10, 2020.

 

State governors in the north-eastern part of the country have identified some of the root causes of the insurgency raving the region.

They stated this on Monday in Abuja at a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss ways to intensify the war against insurgency.

The Chairman of the North-East Governors’ Forum, Babagana Zulum of Borno State, who led the governors to the Villa, stressed the need for the Nigerian government to address the root causes of the insurgency.

According to him, the insurgents are taking advantage of endemic poverty and hunger among other challenges in the region to recruit more members into their fold.

Briefing State House correspondent at the end of the meeting, Zulum said, “One of the root causes is access to farmlands. People need to go back to their farmlands; people need to be resettled in their original homes so that they can start their means of livelihood.

“This is one of the reasons why insurgents are recruiting more (members) into their sects and creating an enabling environment for people to go about their normal activities will no doubt reduce the cases of insurgencies.”

“We also recommended that the police should be provided with state-of-the-art equipment, armoured personal carriers among others, with a view to bridging the manpower gap that we are having in the Nigerian military,” the governor added.

He also stressed the need for the Federal Government to work closely with the state and local governments with a view to providing solutions that would end the crisis in the region.

Governor Zulum, however, noted that the government was taking a bold step to ensure the best ways to tackle some of the challenges faced by people in the North East.

Other governors present included Darius Ishaku (Taraba), Umar Fintiri (Adamawa), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe), and Mai Mala Buni (Yobe).

Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State and his Yobe State counterpart, Mai Mala Buni, having a conversation with the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, after meeting with the President in Abuja on August 10, 2020.

 

Members of the Boko Haram terrorist group and the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) have carried out a series of attacks on communities in the region over the years, leading to the death of thousands of residents and forceful ejection of millions of others from their homes.

While the military said it has recorded many feats in the onslaught against the insurgents, the state governors in the region, who were apparently disturbed by the recent activities of the non-state fighters, met with the President.

 

‘Nigerians Believed Us’

Earlier, at the meeting, President Buhari gave strong assurances that security would be restored to Borno State, the North East, and the nation at large.

The President’s assurance, according to a statement by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, follows the recent adoption of new strategies and the acquisition of modern military equipment.

President Muhammadu Buhari at a meeting with the north-east governors and others in Abuja on August 10, 2020.

 

“Things will improve very soon. We are acquiring modern equipment; some are here, some are being cleared, and others still coming.

“We need patience with acquisition of equipment. You need to train the trainers for their usage ahead of their deployment to the field,” President Buhari was quoted as saying in the statement.

He added, “I assure you, the north-east governors, especially that of Borno, that we go to bed and wake up thinking about you, how to secure our country; that is the responsibility of every government.

“Our party campaigned in 2015 on three major objectives, among which is Security. We said the same thing in 2019 and Nigerians believed us. We are doing our best and we will continue to do even better.”

The President decried the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy which he said has made scarce resources even scarcer, coupled with its severe impact on the supply chain of military equipment and spare parts.

He, however, stated that his administration was doing its best on the question of equipment and the military was aware that equipment were coming from some countries.

President Buhari lamented that the acquisition of military wares and spares was not an easy task.

 

‘We Will Not Relent’

The meeting was also attended by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, as well as the Chief of Defence Staff, the Service Chiefs, the Inspector-General of Police, and the heads of intelligence agencies.

Some of the attendees promised that things would get better soon and made a strong case for strengthening ties among the military, state governments, traditional institutions, and all communities and the residents of the region.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, gave an assessment of the current efforts, stressing that Boko Haram terrorists have been flushed out of all the states in the region, leaving Borno State as the last stop.

 

“There are no Boko Haram terrorists in neighbouring states.  They have been pushed out, and now cornered in Borno State.

“We are coordinating with civil and traditional authorities, mobilising and reinforcing and all we need is patience. We will not relent,” he said.

On his part, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, briefed the meeting on the acquisition of military aircraft, stressing that the imminent arrival of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, UAVs, known as drones with more than 10 hours of flying time, would strongly reinforce the battlefront.

Briefs were also received on equipment needs of the police, as well as the changing alliances between criminal gangs and terrorist groups in the region from the intelligence community.