The Northern Governors’ Forum,NGF will soon organise a security summit, to help address the challenges confronting northern Nigeria.
Chairman of the Forum, Simon Lalong of Plateau State, said this on Monday after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
On what he intends to do as the new Chairman of the Forum, Lalong said: “So many things. I am going to takeover tomorrow (Tuesday), I have not done the formal handing but I am going back to Kaduna to take the handing-over and thereafter, create a roadmap for peace and security in the north and we are also thinking of immediately organizing a northern security summit.
“Secondly, it’s how we intern to start operation in respect to the general insecurity in the north and I have already briefed him because we are still going to have our meeting in the north. Particularly also, some of the issues about my state is to express our gratitude for his support when we have the National Assembly leadership position. Of course you know I am a beneficiary – the deputy speaker directly comes from my state and I should come and say thank you for given me deputy speaker and for ensuring that we had a smooth election.”
Commenting on the proposed ‘Ruga Settlements,’ the Governor said there are a lot of misconceptions about the programme, adding that if fully embraced, it would help ameliorate the security problem the nation is facing.
“I think the Ruga thing should not be anything that should bring controversy with the level of sensitization we’ve already made. I am a member of the food security committee, I am a member of the herdsmen/farmers committee, we’ve gone a long way on this issue and we’ve said that the only solution that can address some of these insecurity issues between herdsmen and farmers is the ranching policy.
“You remember that one time we had gone far when some people called it colony and called it this and that, and it created controversy. Again, we have gone far under the leadership of Mr Vice President, and then we are hearing other terms, what they are talking about is the same thing that we are talking about. But I think when they mentioned Ruga, it may be particular to a particular tribe but what we are doing is all encompassing, it’s for the benefit of Nigeria,” he said.
Lalong said on its part, Plateau State Government has already sensitized its people on the proposed programme.
“I have said particularly in my state that animal husbandry, a live stock rearing is not a prerogative of one tribe, everybody must get involved in it and that is what we have done in our state when we registered for it.
“We did a lot of sensitization, in my state it took me three months to do sensitization and we all agreed that we should bring this concept to empower people. It is not meant to empower one tribe it is for everybody and that would address the issue of insecurity because we don’t want people moving from one place to another looking for grasses.
“We said we are going to put these structures to enable us to encourage the youth and train them. Right now we are training Permanent Secretaries, and retired civil servants who would also get involved in it so that we can address some of the insecurity that we have in the nation,” he explained.
The Governor said the Federal government is only assisting states that want to embrace the programme with more support from international bodies like the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
He said: “So when somebody mentioned another word, people would not wait to question and find out who and who are bringing those words, that is just the simple fact. But if you go to what we have done because they have mentioned some states which are included, yes, those states applied, and those states said we have land for it.
“It’s not Federal government that is imposing it on any state. To the benefit of Mr President, the President has not imposed that on any state, it was voluntary. And they said any state that is prepared to do that to address insecurity in his state should come and apply. So some of the states applied and we are at the level of the pilot scheme and some mischief makers would start bringing terms to cause confusion in the country. It’s very unfortunate.
They said if you have land for pilot scheme they can assist, and donor agencies are coming from all over, it is not a federal government project, the World Bank in involved, and the African Development Bank is involved too. So if you have a scheme like this that can take poverty, bring revenue and also address insecurity, you will need to go into it but with due consultation from your state.”