The Northern Governors Forum has called for calm and dialogue in resolving the ongoing face-off between the Kaduna State Government and the organised labour over purported plans by the Government to right-size its workforce.
Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Plateau State Simon Bako Lalong in a statement said the Forum is concerned about the impact of the strike on the State and its citizens.
While calling for dialogue and negotiations which is a long-standing dispute mechanism in labour relations, the Northern Governors has called for restraint and de-escalation of the situation to enable for amicable settlement of the issues in question.
He said this is only possible when both parties operate within the law and approved conventions in ventilating their grievances as well as avoid making comments or taking actions that will further exacerbate the situation thereby heightening tension.
The Northern Governors Forum also asked the labour leaders to guard against the hijack of its protests by hoodlums who may want to take advantage of the situation and cause destruction to lives and properties.
The forum asked security agencies to also be up and doing to ensure that law and order prevail so as to protect innocent citizens.
President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday met with governors from the northern part of Nigeria as the country seeks ways to contain its numerous security challenges.
The governors were led to the meeting by the Plateau State Governor and the Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Simon Lalong, and were also joined by the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof Ibrahim Gambari during the meeting held at the President Villa, Abuja.
According to the governors, the meeting was convened to review the region’s security situation and seek ways to address it.
Some of the governors who attended the meeting included those of Kebbi, Atiku Bagudu; Kaduna, Nasir El-Rufai; Yobe, Mai Mala-Buni; Niger, Abubakar Bello and Nasarawa, Abdullahi Sule.
Nigeria’s northern region as well as several parts of the country have been battling various forms of security challenges including banditry, kidnapping, and herders-farmers clashes among others.
‘Not Good Enough’
Although the Federal Government had changed the security chiefs and adopted several measures to tackle the issues, criminality appears to be on the rise and critics believe the government has not done the right thing.
Some northern governors alongside Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde on Tuesday visited Shasha Market in Ibadan the state capital to assess the destruction at the scene of the clash between Yoruba and Hausa communities.
The governors include Abdulahi Ganduje of Kano State; Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, Bello Matawalle of Zamfara and Abubakar Sanni of Niger States.
They were accompanied by security agents as they went round the market to assess the level of damage done.
The delegation later went into consultations with the Seriki Alhaji Haruna Maiyasin after which they would also visit the Baale of Shasha to appeal to both sides to stop hostilities and forge a more formidable bond for peaceful coexistence.
The delegation had earlier came into Ibadan on Monday night to visit the area where violence raged last Friday leading to the destruction of lives and property.
A delegation of the Federal Government and the newly appointed service chiefs on Monday met with northern governors.
The meeting which was held in Kaduna State had in attendance governors of Kaduna, Zamfara, Kebbi, Katsina, Jigawa, Kano, Sokoto, and Plateau states.
The National Security Adviser (NSA) Babagana Monguno, northern traditional rulers, clerics were also part of the meeting.
In his remarks, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor said the meeting is to intimate the governors and other leaders that the security situation in the North West is of great concern to the Federal Government.
He also assured that the Armed Forces is rejigging the nation’s security architecture in order to effectively tackle the security challenges in the zone and other parts of the country.
NSA Monguno, said the meeting is a fallout of his dialogue with service chiefs, heads of law enforcement, security, and intelligence agencies to discuss the threats of kidnapping, terrorism, and other security issues threatening the lives and property of Nigerians.
He added that the Federal Government is deeply committed to tackling the security challenges confronting the entire country especially with the appointment of new Service Chiefs.
He also urged all stakeholders including political and religious leaders to collaborate with the government towards finding lasting solutions to the problem.
Popular cleric, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi, in his remarks described the recent conflict in the southwest zone as the handiwork of a few miscreants whose intention is to cause an ethnic crisis.
He, however, called on all citizens especially those from the North to shun any form of reprisal and promote things that will further unite the country.
The Northern Governors Forum on Wednesday said contrary to some misconceptions in some quarters, it is not against the recent scrapping of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Chairman of the forum and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong made the clarification in Kaduna during the inauguration of a committee on Youths and Civil Societies.
“The Northern Governors Forum is not against the disbandment of SARS as misconstrued in some quarters. We rather caution against the blanket condemnation of the police that can erode the confidence and zeal of the hardworking and honest ones in performing their duties of protecting lives and properties,” he said.
Governor Lalong also reiterated the commitment of the forum to tackling the several challenges facing the region.
For the governor, the forum will collaborate with Federal Government and security agencies to address the issues of banditry, terrorism, kidnapping, and other criminal activities.
“We must tackle the current challenges of insecurity in the region which is dominated by insurgency, kidnapping, banditry, rape, child abuse and trafficking and other conflicts.
“We shall continue to work with the Federal Government and security agencies to tackle crime and criminality. That is why we have supported a comprehensive reform of police architecture in the country,” he said.
Speaking further, Lalong said the committee has a responsibility of creating a robust and conducive environment for the youths to flourish and tackle the current security and economic challenges in the region.
The committee is headed by the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Nuhu Bamali, and has the Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, and representatives of youths from the 19 northern states and FCT, religious groups, and civil societies as members.
The committee’s terms of reference include working out various ways of engaging the youths in the north at all levels, prioritize different programmes for youth development and identify and develop different platforms for youth inclusion in the governance in Nigeria and the north in particular.
Northern governor’s had earlier on Monday after a meeting with northern traditional and political leaders called for censorship and control of social media.
Their decision was contained in a communique read by the Chairman of the forum who is the Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong.
The northern governors lamented over what they described as the devastating effect of uncontrolled social media in spreading of fake news and in turn, fuelling crisis.
The Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill, popularly known as the Social Media Bill was sponsored in 2019 by Senator Mohammed Sani Musa.
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan earlier in 2020 said that the National Assembly would not arrogate to itself the power of exclusively passing the social media bill into law without inputs from Nigerians.
Lawan stated this in an address delivered to declare open a Public Hearing on the Social Media Bill
Lawan said freedom of speech and the inalienable rights of man are issues that should not be compromised under any guise.
Governors of the 19 Northern states on Monday held a meeting with key traditional rulers; the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu; and Ibrahim Gambari, the Chief of Staff President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed and Senate President, Ahmed Lawan and other political leaders were at the meeting which was held in Kaduna State.
The meeting was held behind closed doors at the executive council chamber of Kaduna State Government House.
The leader at the meeting are expected to deliberate on various issues especially as it affects peace, security and other developmental matters in the northern region.
State Governors at the meeting include that is Nasarawa, Zamfara, Kwara, Sokoto, Gombe, Kebbi, Kaduna while Deputy Governors of Kogi, Niger, Kano, and the Katsina States were present.
Key traditional rulers at the meeting include the Sultan of Sokoto, Emir of Zazzau, Emir of Kano, Emir of Lafia, Etsu Nupe among others.
Members of the Northern Governors Forum met on Thursday to review the security situation in the region.
The teleconference, which was presided over by the Chairman of the Forum and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, held against the backdrop of recent attacks on communities in northern states by Boko Haram and bandits among other criminals.
During the meeting, the governors were concerned about the level of insecurity in the region and took some measures to address the situation.
Among other resolutions, they agreed to set up a standing committee on security in the North to foster synergy with security agencies in the enforcement of security measures in the region.
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, was named as the committee chairman with the Governors Zamfara and Gombe, Bello Matawalle and Muhammad Yahaya, as members.
Another committee headed by Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, with Governors of Adamawa, Niger, and Sokoto States – Ahmadu Fintiri, Abubakar Bello, and Aminu Tambuwal, as members, was set up on the consultation with traditional, religious and community leaders in the North.
According to a statement by the spokesperson for Governor Lalong who is also the Forum’s chairman, Dr Makut Macham, the consultative committee would ensure that there is wider involvement in tackling insecurity in the North.
The governors also resolved to engage local vigilantes, hunters, and community watch groups in the security architecture of the region, to enhance intelligence gathering, rapid response, and sustained surveillance.
They, therefore, called on the Federal Government to closely look into the ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement of Persons regarding the cross-border movement of herders from other countries into Nigeria, particularly the North.
While commending the security forces for their efforts in tackling insecurity in the region, the governors called for increased synergy to enhance operations and assist in putting an end to the activities of bandits, insurgents, kidnappers and other criminals.
They also agreed to adopt dialogue where necessary while pursuing military measures in dealing with the various security challenges in the North.
On the recent attacks on communities, the governors sympathised with victims and appealed for calm by groups and those affected.
They assured the residents that the Forum, state governments, and the Federal Government were working together to bring the situation under control and address the humanitarian needs of the victims.
The governors asked the Federal Government to accelerate the Livestock Transformation Plan to assist in creating jobs for farmers and herders in the region and the country at large.
They commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his efforts to deal with the security situation in the country and the region.
Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje has called on his counterparts in the north to avoid ‘making noise’ about COVID-19 positive Almajiri kids and rather give them necessary care.
The governor who was speaking at a media briefing on Sunday said the fact that he is not making noise doesn’t mean all Almajiri brought back to Kano from other northern states are healthy.
“We agreed at the Northern Governors Forum that all Almajiris moved to their states of origin. That is why we are sending, in good faith and procedures, all Almajiris that are not from Kano state to their respective states of origin.
“The way we are sending back Almajiris to their states of origin, we are also receiving Almajiris from other states who are Kano indigenes. But the fact that we are not making noise about it does not mean they are all healthy without COVID-19 infections.
“We are not making politics out of it because we all believe that what they need most now, is not noise making or publicity. What they need at this critical point in time is caregiving,” he said.
The Kano State Governor has sent hundreds of Almajirai back to their states of origin with many of them testing positive for COVID-19 when they were tested upon their return to their respective states.
The move had attracted criticism but Ganduje defended the state’s action, saying it was mutually agreed by northern governors.
“People should also understand that these children were not infected in the process of transporting them to their respective states. So noise making is not fit as a way forward.
“All we are doing is simply to comply with the Northern Governors’ Forum decision that all Almajiris in our states should be taken back to their respective states, simple,” Ganduje said.
Kano State government had earlier commenced the evacuation of Almajiri children to their respective states of origin most of whom have now been tested positive for COVID-19.
Governor Ganduje at the briefing stressed that he also received Almajiris from other northern states some of who tested positive but he decided not to make noise about it.
They therefore decided to purchase mobile Testing Vans which they believe will facilitate testing in the rural areas.
The Forum also expressed deep appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for his quick intervention in Kano State because of the spike in the number of COVID-19 infections recently.
On the issue of inter-State border closure, the Northern Governors expressed serious concern that despite their efforts, the borders are still being compromised and more illegal routes are being created which is giving rise to more inter-State transfer of COVID-19.
They also noted that some of the trucks transporting goods are also used in smuggling people across States in violation of movement regulations.
They therefore decided to close all their borders from 6pm to 7am to all trucks carrying goods so as to enable proper scrutiny and examination the following day, which is difficult to achieve in the night when most of the infractions happen.
They also agreed to increase the use of vigilante groups, neighbourhood watch, and traditional rulers in enforcing the border closures.
On the profiling and return of Almajiris to their States of origin, the Governors noted that the exercise has commenced and is going on well except for some few logistic challenges, which are being addressed, between Governors of originating and receiving States.
They also agreed that Almajiris sent from one State to another should be profiled, tested and accompanied by State officials and their Alaramas (teachers) to facilitate the process of settling in.
They were also briefed on the post-COVID-19 Economic Blueprint for Northern Region by Chairman of the Committee Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State who said the document is being developed and will soon be presented to the Forum.
They also mandated the Governors of Kebbi, Katsina, Borno, and Plateau to engage the leadership of Security Agencies on the threat of banditry, terrorism and kidnapping on agriculture in the north as farmers are afraid to go their farms for fear of attacks.
The Northern Governors also commended the efforts of the Private Sector led Coalition Against Corona Virus (COCAVID) which has commenced the distribution of palliatives to States.
The Northern Governors’ Forum has met over the COVID-19 pandemic, calling for a coordinated response to tackle the virus in the region.
Chairman of the forum and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong chaired the meeting via a teleconference.
The governors met on Monday to discuss the impact of the virus in the region, stressing that they cannot lock down the entire north.
In a statement issued by the Director of Press and Public Affairs to Plateau Governor, Simon Macham, members of the Forum resolved to strengthen preventive measures against the pandemic.
Part of these measures include enhanced border controls and surveillance as well as greater collaboration to ensure that there is synergy among them in movement restriction.
While noting that the lockdown in some states in the region had varying levels of success, the governors also raised concerns that enforcing cross-border movements remains a challenge as some of the cases recorded in some states were imported from outside despite the closure of borders by their respective governments.
They agreed that each state would adopt the measure suitable to its setting, stressing that a total lockdown of the region will come at a very high cost since most of its citizens are farmers who need to go to farms as the rains have started.
Regarding palliatives from the Federal Government, the northern leaders regretted that so far, no state in the region has received a dime as special allocation.
They argued that some states have recorded coronavirus cases while others are making frantic efforts to prevent any outbreak as well as prepare against any eventuality.
Lamenting that the virus has caused a huge financial burden on them, the governors believe that they may not be able to sustain this for a long time.
They resolved that Governor Lalong will liaise with the Federal Government through the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha and the private sector to benefit from available palliatives and donations.
As for testing centres, the governors complained that the region has no testing centres, which to them is very disturbing.
Moving forward, they resolved to again liaise with the Federal Government to ensure that each state at least gets one testing centre while highly populated ones get two.
Chairman of the forum and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, disclosed this to reporters at the end of the meeting which lasted several hours.
Governor Lalong explained that the forum adopted the plan with hopes that it would address both economic and security challenges posed by the incessant conflicts between herders and farmers in the country.
He also called on state governments that were not included in the pilot scheme of the plan to key into it.
The increasing clashes between farmers and herders have recently become worrisome especially in wetland areas of the middle belt, north-central, and southern part of the country.
Violent conflicts between the two parties who are prominent stakeholders in the country’s agricultural sector have escalated in recent times and spreading southwards, thereby threatening Nigeria’s security and stability.
As part of the Federal Government efforts to tackling the crisis, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, inaugurated the National Livestock Transformation Plan On Tuesday at the Gongoshi Grazing Reserve in Mayo-Belwa Local Government Area of Adamawa State.
The government believes the plan, which is to be implemented in seven pilot states of Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara, will develop Nigeria’s livestock sector and also reduce the incessant conflicts between herders and farmers.
With the launching of the programme in Adamawa, the governors at Thursday’s meeting noted that that the stage is set for all northern states to key into it.
Although the resolution of the meeting sounded unanimous, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, represented by his deputy, Benson Abounu, said his state would only implement the plan if its conforms with the Benue laws on ranching of animals and the anti-open grazing laws.