Governors from the Northeast region of the country on Saturday challenged the Federal Government to step up action to perpetually address the intractable security challenges bedeviling the region.
The governors, however, commended Vice President Kashim Shettima for gracing the opening ceremony of the 8th meeting of the North East Governors’ Forum (NEGF).
The governor’s position was contained in a communique issued at the end of their meeting held in Maiduguri, and read by Babagana Zulum, the chairman of the forum.
The NEGF expressed concern over the escalating menace of banditry in the region with a particular reference to Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba apart from Borno State that has suffered insecurity for years
The NEGF meeting was attended by the governors of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe with the Governors of Gombe and Taraba represented by their deputy governors.
The NEGF expressed delight at the growing strength of the cooperation, collaboration and cordial relationship among the governors of the six states. The forum reiterated its commitment to foster a common ground and pursue a collective course for the benefit of the region.
After exhaustive deliberations, the forum issued the following communique. While acknowledging the relative success recorded against insurgency, it expressed concern about a new dimension of growing banditry adding to worsen the security situation in the region.
It said due to the push by the military to flush bandits from the other parts of the country, the bandits were now moving towards the Northeast. The case is becoming worse in Bauchi, Gombe, and Taraba with a call on the Federal Government to urgently intervene to address this issue.
The forum is aware that some traditional rulers and other local authorities are conniving with the bandits, giving them shelter and cover to commit crimes within the subregion. The forum unanimously resolved to decisively deal with any traditional ruler or community leader that is found to be harbouring or conniving with the bandits.
The proliferation of mining in the region is becoming a problem. This includes both legal and illegal mining. It noted the link between mining activities and insecurity, especially the abuse of the mining leases. The forum calls on the respective governments to enforce compliance with the provisions of local consent as contained in Nigeria’s mining policy. The forum reiterated its call for strict compliance with the provisions of the Land Use Act.
The forum noted with great concern that climate change and environmental degradation a major issues affecting the subregion. The issue of flooding that had affected the States leading to the destruction of properties and loss of livelihoods is increasing the sufferings of the people. This has been compounded by the silting of our rivers as well as deforestation brought about by the massive charcoal business. There is a need for the Federal Government’s intervention in the area of desilting the rivers. Furthermore, there is the need for effective control of deforestation with stern regulation to local authorities against compromise to granting approvals for such business, the forum said in the communique.