By Longtong Ibrahim
Kaduna (Nigeria) – Northern Governors in Nigeria have met in Kaduna – the first meeting since 2015 election, lamenting terrorism, poverty, and unemployment as challenges bedeviling the region which has also dragged the entire nation backward from attaining purposeful development.
Reading a communiqué at the end of the meeting, Chairman of the Governors Forum – Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, said, with the enormous challenges and the near collapse of vital institutions in the region, it has become imperative for them to rise and live up to people’s expectation.
He decried the alarming rate of insecurity which is characterized by kidnappings, Boko Haram, armed robbery, cattle rustling, boundary dispute and sporadic killings of innocent citizens by insurgents/bandits in the region, caused by unemployment, poverty, arms and drugs proliferation, inciting preaching, Almajiri phenomenon, among others.
He added that the Forum after exhaustive deliberations commended Nigeria’s President Buhari for his willful determination to end Insurgency, while urging him to recruit more security personnel to enhance the capacities of security agencies so as to cope with the security challenges.
Shettima added that, “The forum appreciates the initiation of the Joint Multi-National Task Force as well as relocating the command and control structure of the security forces to the epicenter of Borno State. This has turned the tide against the insurgents.”
“The forum has agreed to set up a Committee of Attorney Generals of the northern states to look into the criminal justice system, taking into cognizance the current security challenges, so as to proffer strict punishments to crimes such as cattle rustling, kidnapping, terrorism, rape and domestic violence.”
Condemning the last Friday bomb blast at the IDPs camp in Adamawa State, the forum pleaded with the Federal Government to provide intervention funds to assist victims, as well as those affected by flood in Northern states to alleviate their suffering.
On the fate of the defunct New Nigerian Newspaper, the New Nigerian Development Company (NNDC), and the Kaduna Textile Limited (KTL), Governor Shettima said the forum would take pro-active steps that would turn the fortunes of the companies around and provide job opportunities for the teeming youths.
“NNDC needs to be recapitalized to a profit oriented industry and be reposition as a breeding ground for youths of northern extraction to be professionals in all facets of human endeavors.”
“That the management of KTL to articulate a comprehensive and pragmatic approach of reviving the company without selling any of its asset. The forum agreed to have bilateral and multi cooperation with organizations and international institutions in order to explore the opportunity of reviving textiles in the region”
“The forum noted the challenges of the New Nigeria Newspapers which was beyond injection of funds by member states to generate working capital. It therefore resolved that the secretaries to the northern state governments should carry out an in-depth study of the company and present a report for consideration at the next meeting of the forum.”
On National Primary Health Care, the forum resolved to partner with the national primary health care development agency with a view to improving primary health care delivery in the north. It also resolved to have primary health care delivery under one roof in the north.”
“This generation of northern governors led by us the governors, have both a moral and constitutional responsibilities as well as a historic opportunity to reverse the negative fortunes of our people. We must do everything to in our power to restore and entrench the lofty values of unity, understanding, tolerance, mutual respect, empathy, justice and mutual coexistence in the mind of our people and region. We must firmly and decisively commit ourselves to fight poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, terrorism and other forms violent crimes in the north,” Gov Shettima said.
The meeting was attended by 14 state Governors, with five States represented by their deputies where they expressed willingness to collaborate and work to achieved common goals.