Governors of the nineteen Northern States, Traditional Rulers, and Security Chiefs are meeting in Kaduna today to discuss the alarming rise in security threats and other socioeconomic problems in the region.
The meeting which is taking place at the Kaduna state government house comes barely two weeks after governors of the Northwest zone held a similar meeting with the service Chiefs and the National Security Adviser to discuss ways to address the issue of banditry and kidnapping bedeviling the zone.
Among the governors attending today’s meeting are those of Kebbi, Jigawa, Sokoto, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Kano, Katsina, Plateau, as well as the deputy Governors of Bauchi, Kogi, Zamfara, Benue, and Niger states.
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Also in attendance is the Chief of Staff to the president, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, the Deputy Speaker House of Representatives, the Inspector General of Police, the Minister of Information and Culture, and the Director-General State Security Services.
Others are traditional Rulers led by the sultan of Sokoto and representatives of the Northern Elders Forum.
In their opening remarks, the host Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, and the Chairman of the forum, Simon Lalong said the meeting is long overdue and crucial for the progress of the north and the country in general.
While El-Rufai urges his colleagues to adopt strategies to forestall all forms of security challenges in the north, Governor Lalong regrets the attacks and killings menacing the region, noting that it is the responsibility of governors and other leaders to find lasting solutions to the problem.
He also describes the recent kidnap of school children in Government Science Secondary School Kagara, Niger State as well as travelling passengers as a wake-up call for leaders and also as a sad reminder of the difficult situation the north is facing.
On the issue of herder-farmer clashes which has in recent weeks generated serious concerns because of the harsh rhetoric from various parts of the country, Lalong agrees that open grazing is no longer sustainable for obvious reasons, hence, he also says that the Northern Governors Forum (NGF) also keyed into the National Livestock Transformation Programme (NLTP) is a veritable option that will go a long way in ending the clashes through organised ranching.
The northern governors also appealed to their colleagues in other parts of the country and all citizens particularly opinion leaders to be cautious in their utterances and actions, warning that such unguided utterances could provide the oxygen for the exploitation of the nation’s fault lines to the detriment of the entire country.
During the meeting, the leaders are expected to take a hard and critical look at the conflicts and come up with implementable ways and means of addressing them squarely