—As President meets Govs, Security heads in Aso Rock
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
FOLLOWING the worsening security situation in the country, especially in the Northern flank, the North East Governors on Monday told President Muhammadu Buhari that there is the need to address the root causes of the Boko Haram insurgency in the zone.
This is the President and the governors from the zone as well as the nation’s security heads met behind closed doors at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, Chairman of the North East Governors Forum and Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Zulum, flanked by his Adamawa State counterpart, Governor Ahmadu Fintri, said one of the root causes of insurgency was access to farmlands, adding that people of the zone need to go back to their farmlands.
He said that the displaced people should be resettled in their original homes so that they can start their means of livelihood and go about their normal duties.
According to him, “Arising from the North East Governors Forum meeting held in Maiduguri on Saturday, we met the President with a view to highlighting the key challenges in the region, especially issues of security, decaying infrastructure especially rock projects, issues of oil exploration in the region, issues of enhancing river basin development in the region among others. That is the main reason why we met Mr President.”
Asked what they discussed on insecurity, he said, “The government of the region has commended the efforts of the federal government in securing the region. However, we told Mr President that there is a need for the Nigerian government to address the root causes of the insurgency, which are not limited to the endemic poverty, hunger among others.
“One of the root causes is that of access to farmlands, people need to go back to their farmlands, people need to be resettled in their original homes so that they can start their means of livelihood. This is one of the reasons why the insurgents are recruiting more into the sect and therefore creating enabling environment to the population to go about their normal duties will no doubt reduce the cases of insurgency.
“We also recommended that police should be empowered, to be provided with certain state-of-the-art equipment, armoured personnel carrier and so on with a view to bridging the manpower gap that we are having in the Nigerian military.”
On his recent altercation with the military, which had suggested that he was ungrateful as well as his suspicion that there is a deliberate attempt to prolong the insurgency, Governor Zulum called for cooperation among all tiers of government to end the menace.
He said, “We have had series of consultations after the attack and I think security is not only about federal government, there is need for the federal as well as the states and the local government to come together with a view to providing solutions that will end this crisis in the region.
“But most importantly, there is a war economy in the region and I think that is why we are here. So I think the government is taking a bold step with a view to ensuring speedy resolution of some of the grey areas that we have in the region.”
The meeting had in attendance Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha, the National Security Adviser, NSA, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd), and the Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari.
The North East Governors at the meeting are Prof. Zulum, Ahmadu Fintri, Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, Inuwa Yahaya, Gombe, Darius Ishaku, Taraba and Mai Mala Buni, Yobe.
The Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, and the Director-General, Department of State Services, DSS, Yusuf Bichi were also in attendance.
Also present were the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, NIA, Ahmed Rufa’i, the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi said the Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammad Dingyadi.