Worried by the worsening insecurity in their region, governors of the 19 northern states, under the auspices of the Northern States’ Governors’ Forum (NSGF), have decided to explore local solutions, including hunters and vigilantes, to stem the tide.
Rising from their virtual meeting on Thursday night, the governors resolved to set up a standing committee on security to foster a synergy between security agencies and local groups for the proper enforcement of appropriate measures to secure the region.
The meeting, which was presided over by NSGF Chairman, Plateau State Governor Simon Bako Lalong, also set up another committee on consultation with traditional, religious and community leaders, headed by Lalong, with a view to ensuring wider stakeholder involvement in tackling insecurity in the region.
Other members of the committee are Governors Amadu Fintri (Adamawa), Abubakar Bello (Niger) and Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (Sokoto).
The governors said the engagement of local vigilantes, hunters and community watch groups in the security architecture would go a long way to “foster intelligence gathering, rapid response and sustained surveillance.”
They, however, called on the federal government to take a closer look at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol on the free movement of persons, particularly as it relates to the cross-border movement of herders from other countries into Nigeria, especially the north.
While commending Nigeria’s security forces for their efforts so far in tackling insecurity in the region, the northern governors called for increased synergy to further enhance their operations and assist in putting an end to the activities of bandits, insurgents, kidnappers and other criminals.
The governors agreed to adopt dialogue, where necessary while pursuing military measures in dealing with the various security challenges, even as they sympathised with victims of the various attacks and other forms of criminality in the region.
The northern governors also appealed for calm by groups and those affected, stressing that individual state governments and the federal government were working together to ensure the “this ugly situation is brought under control immediately, as well as addressing the humanitarian needs of the victims.”
“The federal government should accelerate the Livestock Transformation Plan, which will assist in creating jobs among farmers and herders in the region and the country at large.
“We commend President Muhammadu Buhari for his efforts to deal with the security situation in the country and the region,” the governors stated.