Governors forum accuses traditional rulers of promoting banditry

The Governors of the North-East region in Nigeria have accused traditional rulers and local authorities of collaborating with bandits to terrorise innocent citizens, and vowed to deal with anyone of them found collaborating with terrorists

Penpushing reports that the Governors under the aegis of the North-East Governors’ Forum made the accusation and threat in a communique issued at the end of their 8th meeting held on Saturday, September 9,2023 in Maiduguri, Borno State Capital.

The communique signed by the Forum’s Chairman and Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, said  the forum was aware that some traditional rulers and other local authorities are conniving with the bandits, giving them shelter and cover to commit crimes within the subregion.

‘The Forum is aware that some traditional rulers and other local authorities are conniving with the bandits, giving them shelter and cover to commit crimes within the subregion. The Forum unanimously resolved to decisively deal with any traditional ruler or community leader that is found to be harbouring or conniving with the bandits’, the communique reads.

Penpushing further reports that the forum noted that the rising cases of banditry in the six states of the region, particularly in Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba states was a result of the aggressive military operations against them in other parts of the country.

‘While acknowledging the relative success recorded against insurgency, a new dimension of growing banditry is added to worsen the security situation in the subregion. As a result of the concerted efforts of the military to flush out bandits from the other parts of the country, the bandits are now moving towards the North-East’.

‘The case is becoming worse in Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba, places hitherto without banditry. The Forum calls on the Federal Government to urgently intervene to address this issue”, the Governors emphasised

Penpushing also reports that the communique added that the proliferation of legal and illegal mining in the region is becoming a problem, noting that there is a link between mining activities and insecurity, especially the abuse of the mining leases.

‘The Forum, therefore, calls on the respective Governments to enforce compliance with the provisions of local consent as contained in Nigeria’s Mining Policy and reiterates its call for strict compliance with the provisions of the Land Use Act.”

Penpushing reports that the Governors in similar vein, pointed out that climate change and environmental degradation which are major issues affecting the subregion are a source of great concern.

‘The issue of flooding that has affected the states leading to the destruction of properties and loss of livelihoods is increasing the sufferings of the people. This has been compounded by the silting of our rivers as well as deforestation brought about by the massive charcoal business. There is a need for the Federal Government’s intervention in the area of desilting the rivers’.

‘Furthermore, there is the need for effective control on deforestation with stern regulation to local authorities against compromise to granting approvals for such business. The Forum has resolved to key into the Global Initiative of Carbon Credi, the Great Green Wall and other initiatives that will mitigate the devastating impact of climate change in the sub-region,” it stated.

Penpushing further reports that the forum noted with dismay the seeming neglect of road and railway infrastructure especially along the economic corridors that link the North-east zone to the rest of the country.

The communiques stated and pointed out that the roads from Enugu to Maiduguri are in deplorable State and equally worse is the railway from Enugu up to Maiduguri which has been destroyed, and called on the Federal Government to intervene

‘We called on the Federal Government to look into the situation and consider the reconstruction of these basic infrastructures along the Enugu-Maiduguri Economic Corridor because it is a major route for regional trade and very important for integration, peace building and improving national unity.”

Penpushing also reports that the communique indicated that the North-East Governors agreed that all the States within the region are to domesticate the Education Law 2022, as recommended by the Northeast Education Council earlier constituted by the Forum.

‘The Forum charges the Northeast Development Commission to be more proactive with the issues of development in the sub-region. Its intervention should be well prioritised in the short, medium and long term to take care of the sustainable development needs of the people within the subregion’, the communique said.

‘The forum resolved to promote subregional commerce among member States. It further agreed to resuscitate the northeast trade fair to be held in Bauchi in January 2024. The Forum appreciated the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Kashim Shettima for gracing the opening ceremony of the 8th meeting of the NEGF and the Government and People of Borno State for hosting the event. The Forum resolved to hold the 9th Meeting in Yola, Adamawa State between Friday 3rd – Saturday 4th – November, 2023.”

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