..Says, new Boko Haram killings meant to incite religious war
By Omeiza Ajayi
Amotekun: There is a growing consensus among Governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, regarding the best strategy for tackling insecurity in their states, with many of them settling for “Community Policing”.
Plateau state Governor, Barr. Simon Lalong disclosed this, Friday, in Abuja during the first quarterly meeting of the Governance Programme Steering Committee of the Progressive Governors’ Forum PGF.
This was as he sued for peace among Nigerians, saying the recent killings by the Boko Haram sect was meant to inflame religious passion and set Christians against Muslims.
Lalong who is also the Chairman, Northern Governors’ Forum spoke in his capacity as Co-Chairman of the governance steering committee.
He said the committee aims to develop a Common Policy Framework for APC States, “The overarching objective is to identify common issues of governance that can be replicated across all the APC controlled States. As we pointed out during the inaugural meeting of this Steering Committee, during the era of 2019-2023 we will want the work of the PGF Governance Programme Steering Committee to focus more on strengthening the capacity of our states to have increased commitment to implement approved initiatives. The PGF Secretariat would need to work with necessary experts to develop a strategic framework to address this”, he said.
On the regional security initiative, Amotekun, recently launched by Southwest Governors, Lalong who said he was not in a position to speak on the programme of southern governors, however, said many of his colleagues have a common position on community policing.
He said; “Ours is to design policies for implementation for good governance in APC states. Here, we are not talking about Amotekun, we are talking about general insecurity and so once we lay the foundation for the APC states and it is approved then we will begin to talk about implementation. Maybe at the level of approval, people will bring up Amotekun, people will bring different issues. I always try not to talk about what the south is doing; for me, I am not from that Zone, I am the Chairman of Northern Governors’ Forum who has a different opinion from what is obtained there.
“What we are laying down now in the framework is general insecurity because we are not unmindful of the situation in the country that is for every year we make a framework and tell them these are things that are current and these are things that APC governors should adopt in terms of preparing their budget and also in governance in their States.
“In general terms, what we did after presentation from security agencies is, all of us appear to be talking about community policing. That one, we all agreed on, so we don’t want a situation where you start doing something and the federal government will say what you are doing is outside the law just like what they said about Amotekun. It is now that they are going to dialogue. Even if they are doing that, it has to be within the law. So, what is within the law as far as Governors are concerned is the issue of community policing. We are all agreed on that. Like my co-chairman said, when you go into implementation, you use different kinds of methods. I made a briefing in Lafia and I told them I have been using community policing for a very long time. In Jos, I have about three organizations. Three security outfits. I have the Headquarters of a Division; I have Operation Safe Haven established by the Federal government for only few states at that time, and I have what is called Operation Rainbow. For us, Operation Rainbow is like community policing because while Operation Safe Haven and Police are answerable to the Federal Government, Operation Rainbow is answerable to the Governor and it is a combination of different security organizations. So, what they do is intelligence gathering and we find that very effective because if you do not understand the intelligence, you will not understand how to even nip the security situation in the bud. So, because of this intelligence, before anything happens, we know because we have an early warning system”.
“The last one was the issue where Boko Haram killed someone. I take it as part of war propaganda because when they are getting to that level, they can use any means to propagate and incite people to go into killings. We heard what happened in Adamawa where they killed a pastor and then they went to Plateau state and killed a student. I have been telling the people, trying to caution them because the intention is to incite people to start fighting on religious grounds. By the time you fall into it, they will come back again. When you are fighting, they will come back and start mingling with the people. So, it is very unfortunate when they start killing students and religious leaders. We have to keep appealing to the people. We have made a strong appeal to the security agencies to go back to those places because we do not expect Boko Haram to be more superior than our security agencies”, he added.
Chairman of the steering committee and Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Mohammed Badaru Abubakar said both the federal government and states are finding solutions to the security challenges in the country.
He said; “On Amotekun, I believe the Federal Government and the regions are finding some solutions and I think they will resolve the issues on how they will do it and also I think security is peculiar to each state … it depends, for each state what they believe will work for them, some will want Amotekun, some will want dialogue. In Jigawa, we don’t need any. We can not say it is a policy that all APC states will take – it depends on your peculiarities, what will work for you to protect lives and properties.
“On general security situation, I believe there is a standing committee that is looking at security that involves not only APC governors but all governors in the federation. The President is so worried about the security situation and he is working tirelessly to see how this menace will really come down but I am sure you will agree with me that around Zamfara, Katsina and Sokoto it has dropped. Kaduna not so much as it used to be and when you go to the North East we have been able to reduce it significantly. If you remember clearly, coming from Kano to Abuja you were not sure if you would arrive without somebody bombing your car or you are afraid of been kidnapped. The government is looking at social intervention to see how we can create jobs, create wealth and we believe that will help in strengthening the economy and that will help in reducing the security challenges”, he added.