Security: Governors demand special intervention fund, hails dialogue approach

Solomon Chung, Katsina

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As part of strategies to curb insecurity in the North western part of Nigeria, stakeholders have agreed that there must be a special intervention fund as well as modern communication and security technology in place.

Speaking at a special town hall meeting on security on Tuesday in Katsina state, North West Nigeria, the governors of the front-line states of Katsina, Zamfara and Sokoto states all called for the need for a special intervention fund  to enable them consolidate on the successes recorded so far against insecurity in the region.

In their different submissions, the 3 state governors said the ongoing strategy of reconciliation and dialogue has reduced the activity of banditry, cattle rustling and kidnapping greatly.

At the event, the host governor, Aminu Masari said the North West governors have spent a lot of resources on insecurity and as such would want the federal government to consider a special intervention to help them sustain what they have achieved so far.

He said the dialogue approach to ending the insecurity is an agreement among the regions governors and they are pleased with the outcome so far. He said the dialogue was yielding results.

Governor Masari said the insecurity in the North West has gone up to Niger, Mali, Guinea and to Central African Republic and that was why the governors have been engaging with other governors of border states in Niger Republic to find a lasting solution to the menace.

Meanwhile, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state said the state has already passed into law a legal framework to tackle insecurity, he said the state did that by amending the penal code and also established a rent commission with the idea of knowing every tenant and every property owner in the state. They are of the view that all these will help in curbing insecurity in the state.

Also Governor Bello Matawale of Zamfara state submitted that reconciliation and dialogue is the best way to go and further confirmed that the concept has yielded fruits so far.

He said the state has put in so much money in fighting insecurity and as such would need some federal government support as well.

In his remarks, the convener of the town hall meeting, The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the Federal Government does not play politics with the security and welfare of the citizens.

“Today’s Town Hall Meeting is very unique. Since we started in 2016, this is the first time that we are having Governors from the APC and the PDP as panelists.

”This is first a testimony to the fact that this Federal Government does not play politics with the security and welfare of citizens and secondly, a reflection of the patriotism, commitment and nationalism of the Governors, irrespective of their party affiliations,’‘ he said.

The event had in attendance the PDP Governors of Sokoto and Zamfara, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and Alhaji Bello Matawalle respectively, as well as the host Governor Aminu Bello Masari of the APC.

The three Governors joined the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohamed; Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi (Rtd) and the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, as panellists.

Mr. Mohammed said even though a lot of successes have been recorded in tackling the unique security challenges in the North West, such efforts have not been receiving much publicity in the media.

“Unfortunately, the progress that has been made in combating banditry, cattle rustling and kidnapping has not made the kind of headlines that the security challenges were making at their peak. It has therefore become imperative for the Federal Government, working with the affected states, to provide a platform for the Governors of the front-line states to highlight the successes they have achieved in their various states in tackling these cases of insecurity, as well as for relevant Federal Government Ministers to highlight the efforts that have helped to drastically reduce the level of insecurity in the North West,” he said.

The Minister expressed delight that the unrelenting efforts of the Federal Government as well as the determination and innovative efforts of the governments of the affected states have yielded positive results.

He said the Federal Government will continue to use the Town Hall Meetings to regularly give account of its stewardship to the people, in addition to getting a feedback as well as input from them, thus enhancing citizens’ participation in governance.

In his remarks, Maj.-Gen. Magashi (Rtd) said three of the nine special military operations in the country are concentrated in the North West, in order to most effectively tackle the security challenges in the region.

For his part, the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Aregbesola, said 6,000 personnel of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps are currently operating in the North West, with six hundred of them deployed as Agro Rangers to tackle farmers-herders clashes.

There was consensus among the participants at the event that there has been a tremendous improvement in the security situation in the North West.