Northern governors on insecurity: We must develop our economy, human capacity



Gombe state Governor and Chairman Northern States’ Governors Forum (NSGF), Alhaji Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, has called for immediate and planned development of economic and human capacity for the North to get out of the perennial security and other challenges bedeviling the region. 

Similarly, his Kaduna state counterpart, Senator Uba Sani, called for a marshal plan to develop the region by pulling the resources of the 19 states together to develop roads, rail, solid minerals, energy infrastructure and agriculture.

Addressing the Northern governors meeting at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim House Kaduna, Tuesday, Governor Yahaya lamented that Northern Nigeria bears the burden of the highest number of out-of-school children in the world, thus compounding the security challenges in the North.

He noted that long-term economic development was paramount to tackle insecurity in the region and set it on the path of development.

The northern governors described the current situation as unacceptable and must be addressed with every sense of urgency.

They said: “We consider economic development as a long-term solution to our security challenges. The revitalization of the New Nigeria Development Company (NNDC) is at the heart of our economic agenda for Northern Nigeria. We must also explore innovative ways to invest in critical infrastructure capable of unlocking the huge industrial and economic potentials of the Northern region. I urge us not to lose focus, but to strive, sustain and enhance the legacies of our founding fathers. Human capital development is very critical to the progress and prosperity of our region. 

“Northern Nigeria currently bears the burden of the highest number of out-of-school children in the world. Every child deserves access to quality education and the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to succeed in today’s rapidly changing global economic landscape. We have a moral obligation to invest massively in education and skills development, healthcare, and social services in order to unlock the full potential of our youth and empower future generations.

“During our last meeting, we reaffirmed our willingness to work with the Federal Government in order to provide lasting solutions to the security challenges bedeviling our region. Since then, we have had various engagements with the National Security Adviser, service chiefs, coalition of northern civil society groups, and other relevant stakeholders on charting a way forward for sustainable peace and stability in Northern Nigeria. It is important that we begin to explore state policing models built on the foundation of cooperation and collaboration amongst our Northern states. 

“Let me use this opportunity to express our deepest sympathy and unflinching support to our colleagues and the people of Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, Plateau and Zamfara states, who have been facing unprecedented security challenges recently. Let us stand together in solidarity by offering our firm commitment to supporting our fellow northern brethren during these difficult times. Our people are looking up to us in this period of extraordinary challenges. We cannot afford to fail them. 

“Environmental sustainability is equally crucial to both our present and future. Climate change, unsustainable agricultural practices, and population growth pose significant challenges to our communities. We must adopt holistic approaches that promote environmental conservation, sustainable agriculture, and responsible resource management so as to safeguard the livelihoods of our people and preserve our natural heritage for generations yet unborn. 

“Regional integration remains a cornerstone of our collective vision for a prosperous Northern region. Let us deepen our collaborations in infrastructure development, human capital enhancement, trade, security co-operation, and cultural exchange. Together, we can unlock the full potentials of our region and ensure inclusive growth and shared prosperity in the ever-competitive Nigeria.”

… Uba Sani urges synergy

In his remarks, Sani, who is the host governor, argued that synergy on economic marshal plans would reinvent the economy of Northern Nigeria and help tackle the challenges of insecurity and poverty.

He reiterated his earlier call for a common strategy and operational plan to tackle insecurity, through the establishment of a Command and Control Centre to coordinate joint security efforts.

“The Federal Government under the dynamic, focused and courageous leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has demonstrated total commitment to winning the war against terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and other forms of criminality. It has strengthened partnership with Northern states and sustained its support to us. But challenges still remain.

“Today’s meeting affords us an opportunity to look at our successes and challenges so far in the war against terrorism, banditry and kidnapping and fashion new strategies for a final push against these enemies of development. It is for this reason that I wish to reiterate my earlier call for Northern States to develop a common strategy and operational plan to tackle insecurity. Let us establish a Command and Control Centre to coordinate our joint efforts. I urge us to re-strategize on forging a common approach to the development of Northern Nigeria. 

“We have been working assiduously in our respective states to address our developmental challenges, but the disturbing development indices in Northern Nigeria requires a collective and sustained effort. We need to fashion a marshall plan for the development of Northern Nigeria. Let us pull resources together to develop our road, rail, solid minerals and energy infrastructure. Agriculture is another key area we can pull resources together to reinvent the economy of Northern Nigeria,” Sani said.

…Bamaiyi on political will

In a related development, a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Ishaya Rizi Bamaiyi, said security challenges in the country can be dealt with within a short period of time with the proper will from the government. 

Barring his mind in an interview Tuesday on the best strategy to restore tranquility, General Bamaiyi said, “personally, the insecurity we have in this country, to me, is self-made. Why did I say so? It started from Boko Haram, but the government did not take it seriously then. We allowed it to escalate and today it has become a business. I am sure you are aware even in villages now you have indigenes that are either informants and sometimes they operate.” 

He spoke about a recent episode around Wasagu area in Bena, where security operatives who were aware of the movement of the bandits, laid out an ambush and killed 40 of them among whom nine were from the village. 

The former Army boss averred: “If we want to tackle this thing, I believe between three and six months, we have the security, we have the Army, the Air Force and everybody that can handle this situation. I think what is lacking is the will. I believe the will is not there and politics has come into it, we have a lot of names of these people. Some of them were even going to Government House to take pictures with Governors with their weapons. 

 “It is not a matter of anybody going to the press and say we are going to finish them, we are going to do that, this will not do anything. Give orders! There are ways of giving orders to the military, to the armed forces. Give them the orders, give them the equipment, give them free hand. I assure you, in three to six months, these things will be over.” 

 General Bamaiyi said the security report indicated that most of the bandits were not Nigerians. 

 “We have allowed people to come and do whatever they want to do with us and get away with it. Their leaders are known in places; go to Zamfara and other bases.  

“Their leaders are known by name. I heard that one of them has been bestowed with a traditional title. The leader of the bandits has been given a traditional title. It shows you that we are not serious. It augurs that even our traditional rulers are involved in this unfortunate incident,” Bamaiyi said. 

About AbdulRaheem Aodu, Kaduna and Muhammad Sadisu Abubakar,Birnin Kebbi

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