By Joseph Edegbo
Kaduna (Nigeria)- Worried by the growing and wide spread of drug abuse, especially among the youths, Governors of the 19 northern States have asked the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency to combat the scourge.
In a communique at the end of their meeting in Kaduna, Northwest of the country on Thursday, the Governors want the Federal government to provide all the necessary funds and equipment to relevant agencies to fight against the menace.
The meeting stressed the need for state governments to set up high powered enforcement committees to ensure that all relevant laws and statutory provisions in respect of drug abuse are effectively implemented.
Ministries of Women Affairs, the meeting resolved, should intensify sensitization and enlightenment programs on the dangers of drug abuse.
On the New Nigerian Development Company, NNDC, the meeting resolved to give the company all the needed impetus to be one of the formidable business outfits in Nigeria.
The meeting noted with satisfaction the operations of the company so far towards realizing its potentials and therefore resolved to recapitalize it by injecting more equity funds to strengthen it.
The governors declared their full and unequivocal support to the Federal government in its commitment and determination to address conflicts between farmers and herdsmen as well as other security challenges in the country.
The meeting resolved that implementable and viable measures be initiated by government at all levels to forestall future occurrence of any forms of communal crisis.
Below is the full text of the communique read by the Governors’ Chairman, Kashim Shettima of Borno State.
COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE MEETING OF THE NORTHERN STATES GOVERNORS’ FORUM HELD ON THURSDAY, 1ST MARCH, 2018 AT THE COUNCIL CHAMBER, SIR KASHIM IBRAHIM HO– — USE, KADUNA
The Northern States Governors Forum, met in Kaduna on Thursday 1 st March, 2018 and deliberated extensively on security challenges and crises of development as well as other issues of concern, currently affecting the 19 Northern States.
2. The meeting specifically deliberated on the seemingly intractable and excruciating nature of the conflicts between farmers and herdsmen, as well as other deadly and destructive security challenges confronting various parts of the North vis-a-vis their counter-veiling effects on social stability and developmental programmes of the various state governments in the region. The Forum particularly discussed the lethality and widespread nature of the spate of communal clashes and emergent criminal activities like kidnapping and armed banditry in various parts of the Northern States.
3. The Forum also exhaustively deliberated on all the outstanding issues affecting the New Nigerian Development Company (NNDC), especially the institutional and structural challenges and impediments that have been retarding its viability and potentials as the economic live wire of the jegio’n. The Forum also discussed some pending challenges facing the New Nigerian Newspapers Company (NNNC) particularly the lingering concern of its pensioners and how best to resolve the issue in an all-encompassing and amicable way
4. The meeting, furthermore, discussed the current problem of drug abuse among the youths and its concomitant effects on the social fabric of the society. The Forum was particularly disturbed that the phenomenon of drug abuse seems to be escalating with its attendant physical and psychological consequences, notwithstanding the various measures initiated by governments at various levels to stem the tide.
5. The Forum also expressed its profound gratitude and sincere appreciation to the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR for his untiring efforts in addressing the various security challenges across the country. The meeting was particularly impressed with the President for his timely and effective response to the abduction of the Dapchi school .girls in Yobe State. Our prayers and commiseration goes to the Government and people of Yobe State as well as the families of the victims over the sad and unfortunate incident.
6. After extensive deliberations and far reaching discussions on the various issues under consideration, the Forum arrived at the following resolutions:
a. Conflict between farmers and herdsmen and other security challenges:
The Forum, after a thorough and meticulous analysis of the incessant crisis between farmers and herdsmen especially in Benue and Nasarawa States, as well as other associated security challenges and the various factors that difectly or indirectly contribute to the worsening situation, resolved to
i. render full and unequivocal support to the Federal Government in its unwavering commitment and dogged determination to address the multifarious security challenges in all parts of the nation. The Forum particularly extends its support to the Federal Government for the measures so far put in place to resolve the lingering clashes between farmers and herdsmen;
ii. Implementable and viable strategic measures should be initiated by governments at all levels, to forestall future occurrence of any form of communal crisis;
iii. Articulate a comprehensive plan for intervention to those States affected by the lingering crisis; and
iv. Strongly admonish political, religious and ethnic jingoist to avoid imputing religious, ethnic and political coloration to such conflict.
b. New Nigerian Development Company Limited:
The Forum, after careful scrutiny and thorough examination of the outstanding challenges and institutional requirements of the NNDC, resolved to ensure that all the needed incentives and the required impetus are given to the company to be one of the most formidable and competitive business outfits in the country.
In this respect, the Forum noted with appreciation the commendable strides so for taken by the current management of the company towards realizing its full potentials. Furthermore, the Company was encouraged to come up with investment plans in areas of competence and comparative advantage of the North.
The Forum also resolved to recapitalize the Company by injecting more equity funds to strengthen it and as well ensure the full take off of the New Nigerian Commodity Marketing Company. Immense appreciation was extended to the Board and Management of the NNDC, their international technical partners, as well as the Bank of Industry for their efforts and determjnation towards resuscitating the Kaduna Textile Company.
c. New Nigerian Newspapers Company Limited:
The meeting noted the lingering agitation by pensioners of the company and the subsequent litigation which came about as a result of the non-payment of their pension entitlements. The meeting further noted that the Federal Government’s Pension
Transition Arrangement Programme had conducted a verification exercise of the pensioners as a prelude to effecting payment of the pension arrears. The Forum therefore resolved to meet with the pensioners of the Company with a view to calming and engaging them in dialogue towards the resolution of the impasse. The Forum urged the Hon. Minister of Finance to expedite action on the release of the pensioners arrears.
d. Presentation on Drug Abuse
The meeting noted with utmost concern the growing and widespread nature of drug abuse, especially among our youths and appealed to all the relevant authorities to step up efforts in combating the menace. The meeting specifically called on the Federal Government to declare STATE OF EMERGENCY ON DRUG AB– — USE in the country as part of renewed efforts to deal with the scourge. It also urged the Federal Government to provide all the necessary funds and equipment to the relevant agencies like NAFDAC and NDLEA in their unrelenting fight against drug abuse. The meeting also called on State Governments to set up High Powered Enforcement Committees under the chairmanship of either the Deputy Governor or Secretary to the State Government, to ensure that all the relevant laws and statutory provisions in respect of drug abuse are fully and effectively implemented at all times. It further enjoined State Ministries of Women and Youths to intensify sensitization and enlightenment programmes on the dangers of drug abuse. It also resolved to come up with appropriate legislation by the various Houses of Assembly in the Northern States.
e. NSGF Committee on Restructuring the Country:
The Forum was presented with an Interim Report of the NSGF Committee on Restructuring of the Country which was mandated to collate views and opinions of individuals, groups and organisations in the North and come up with a northern position on the national clamour for restructuring. The report touched on the various efforts being made by the Committee towards actualizing its mandate.
The Forum noted the presentation of the report and commended the Committee for its relentless efforts towards ensuring comprehensive conduct of the exercise. It then assured the Committee of its full support towards executing its mandate successfulIy.
7. Thank you and God bless.
GOVERNOR OF BORNO STATE and
CHAIRMAN, NORTHERN STATES GOVERNORS’ FORUM