Governors of the 19 northern states, traditional rulers, and security chiefs on Thursday met over the alarming rise of insecurity and other socio-economic problems bedevilling the northern part of the country.
The meeting held at Government House, Kaduna, barely two weeks after governors of the North-West zone held a similar dialogue with the service Chiefs and the National Security Adviser to discuss ways to address the issue of banditry and kidnapping occurring in the region.
In their opening remarks, the host Governor, Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, and the Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Simon Lalong of Plateau State, said the meeting is long overdue and crucial for the progress of the north and the country in general.
Governor Lalong said he regrets the attacks and killings menacing the region, noting that it is the responsibility of governors and other leaders to find lasting solutions to the problem.
He described the recent abduction of students and staff of Government Science Secondary School Kagara, Niger State, as well as travelling passengers also in Niger State as a wake-up call for leaders and a sad reminder of the difficult situation the north is facing.
On the issue of herder-farmer clashes which has generated serious concerns in recent weeks, Governor Lalong said the northern governors agreed that open grazing is no longer sustainable for obvious reasons.
He disclosed that northern governors have adopted the National Livestock Transformation Programme (NLTP) as a veritable option that will go a long way in ending the clashes through organised ranching.
In his remarks, Governor El-Rufai urged his colleagues to adopt strategies to forestall all forms of security challenges in the north.
The northern governors also appealed to their colleagues in other parts of the country and all citizens. particularly opinion leaders, to be cautious in their utterances and actions, warning that such unguided utterances could provide the oxygen for the exploitation of the nation’s fault lines to the detriment of the entire country.
The governors who attended the meeting were those of Kebbi, Jigawa, Sokoto, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Kano, Katsina and Plateau states.
The deputy governors of Bauchi, Kogi, Zamfara, Benue, and Niger states represented their principals.
Others in attendance were traditional Rulers led by the Sultan of Sokoto and representatives of the Northern Elders Forum.