Nigeria to set up Security Trust Fund

Cyril Okonkwo, Abuja

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The Nigerian government, working with governors of the 36 states, is to set up a trust fund to tackle security challenges bedeviling the country.

This was part of the issues that arose at Friday’s meeting between the governors and President Muhammadu Buhari.

Chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Kayode Fayemi, who briefed State House correspondents after the meeting, said the meeting had security as the only item on its agenda.

Fayemi, who is also the governor of Ekiti State, said the trust fund would be bring public and private players together to fund security.

He said that President Buhari would work with the governors to address various issues of insecurity in the country.

He will also work with us to address questions of intelligence, of broadening community policing, of insuring inter-service co-ordination among the various security agencies, of strengthening the criminal justice system, working with our states innovatively on mechanism for addressing these issues, be it security trust fund that brings the public and private players together in order to fund security and increase the resources available to security institutions.”

Fruitful meeting

Fayemi said the meeting with the president, which was at the instance of the president, was a fruitful one.

He said the governors, as chief security officers of their states, felt the need to bring to the notice of the president the enormity of the security challenges facing them.

Of course, he was not oblivious of the challenges;  he gets security reports on a daily basis; he understands what the issues are. 

“But we felt as chief security officers in our respective states it is also important that we should at least keep the president abreast of the enormity of the challenges that we are facing and also highlight the concerns of our citizens across the board about rural banditry,  farmers-herders clashes, kidnapping, militancy in the Delta, insurgency, cultism. 

“So, we discussed extensively all of these issues and looked at the various ways that we felt as governors we could assist the president as the commander-in-chief to curb these issues. 

“Of course, we were able in the first instance, look at the nexus between our economic challenges and the rise in security challenges as well and the importance of tackling the cause of crime not just crime on its own.

We also looked at the criminal justice system that appears to give some room for impunity. 

“When people commit crimes and they are not punished effectively in accordance with the statutes, it then creates opportunity for replicating such crimes.

“Of course the president was equally concerned about that and made it clear to us that we all knew that he campaigned on the basis of security, economy and accountability.   These things are still the most germane issues on his agenda. “

Special Economic Council meeting.

He said that it was agreed to convene a special meeting of the National Economic Council, NEC, to deal with the issues raised more comprehensively.

He said the special NEC meeting, which would be attended by the governors and presided over by the vice president, would bring “out specifically quick wins and quick responses that can reassure and build the level of confidence of our own citizens.   

“Even in areas where significant progress has been made, for example in the North East, we were clearly informed by the governor of Borno, who spoke for the north east, that even when you resolve issues militarily, the stabilization activities that must continue is critical to eventual resolution of challenges: rehabilitation, resettlement, and all those elements of stabilization activities will be brought to bear in order for us to have sustained peace over the long term.” 

No decision on state police

According to Fayemi, the meeting with the president did not taken a decision on the creation of state police.

He said states have different security needs, which needed to be tackled differently.

“The position of NGF on that is that we have not taken position because experiences vary.

There are governors and states where their experience does not necessarily learn itself to more evolved policing to the states.

“There are also states where there are agitations for it, there are governors who have the views that that will work better in such states.

“And of course there are the economic issues relating to that so we have the capacity at the state level to fund state policing.

“Those are all issues that will come in play when we get to the national economic council meeting that has been called, particularly because there is a committee that is looking into it after the submission of the report on SARS.”

Fayemi said the governors expressed gratitude to President Buhari for supporting them through bailout funds and salary support.

Ime Njoku