Worried by the spate of killings and kidnapping in the region, the Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) rose from a meeting in Kaduna yesterday with a resolve to develop a regional action plan to end the multiple security challenges.
This was as the Forum announced Plateau State Governor, Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong, as its new chairman with effect from May 29.
The meeting chaired by Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State lamented what it called the deteriorating security challenges in the region.
It set up a committee headed by Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State to develop an acton plan towards addressing the security challenges.
The NSGF Chairman said: “The Northern States Governors’ Forum convened a meeting to deliberate on the major issues affecting the northern states and the nation at large, particularly the current challenges of insecurity which seems to be deteriorating, despite concerted efforts by the federal and state governments.
“The Forum deliberated extensively on the nature of insecurity currently bedeviling the region and various ways and means of dealing with the situation.
“In order to tackle the challenges holistically in an all-encompassing manner, the Forum set up a committee under the chairmanship the Governor of Katsina State, Alh. Aminu Bello Masari, to develop inter-alia comprehensive regional plan of action that could bring lasting solutions to the lingering crises.
“The committee, as part of its mandate, would seek audience with Mr. President and make adequate presentation to him on the true nature of the security challenges.
“It would also make suggestion based on thorough and insightful analysis and assessment of the situation on the best possible way the Federal Government can resolve the incessant problems.” On New Nigerian Newspapers (NNN), The Northern Governors directed New Capital Properties to continue with the disposal of NNN properties with a view to settling other outstanding liabilities of the company and transforming it into a new media outfit.
The forum also set up a committee under the Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Badaru Abubakar, to come up with a road map on how best to resuscitate and re-invigorate New Nigerian Development Company (NNDC).
Shettima said: “On New Nigeria Development Company Limited (NNDC), the Forum appointed a Committee under the Chairmanship of His Excellency, the Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Badaru Abubakar, to meticulously study the current structure as well as mission and vision of the company and come up with a road map on how best to resuscitate and re-invigorate the Company towards the realization of its pre-set goals and objectives.
“The Forum, after due consideration and wide consultations resolved to appoint Mallam Tanimu Yakubu as the new Chairman of the New Nigeria Development Company in view of his vast knowledge and wealth of experience. “It also resolved that the current management of the Company who have been operating in acting capacity should remain until the appointment of a substantive executive management.
“The Committee on the NNDC as part of its assignment should ensure that the Board of the NNDC follow due process in the appointment of the new Executive Management through advertisement of vacant positions and other extant procedures.
“Similarly, due process to be followed in respect to the new Nigerian Newspapers Company Limited.
“The Forum also directed New Capital Properties a subsidiary under NNDC to continue with the disposal of NNN properties with a view to settling other outstanding liabilities of the Company and transforming it into a new media outfit. “The Forum expressed appreciation to the Federal Government for settling the pension arrears of the company’s pensioners.
“The Forum thanked the management of Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation for their laudable programmes and other noble activities that has direct impact on the lives of the people. The Forum assured the Foundation of its continued support and assistance at all times.
“The Forum elected the Executive Governor of Plateau State, His Excellency, Mr. Simon Lalong as the New Chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum with effect from 29th May, 2019.” Why Northern govs can’t interfere in Sanusi/Ganduje feud
Governor Shettima also explained why Northern governors seemed to be silent on the feud between Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State and the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi whose domain was recently split into five.
He said: “We, governors, have one unwritten policy: we don’t openly interfere with the issues of one another. We only play background roles to lobby and appeal.
“I cannot dictate to Ganduje how he should run Kano, but we can work un derground as bridge builders. God willing, the Governor and the Emir will come back together as one.”
He said that he is particularly close to both Ganduje and Sanusi.
His words: “Governor Ganduje and his highness, the Emir of Kano have done some things that eternally dear to the people of Borno, to me in particular.
“Governor Ganduje has adopted and granted lifetime scholarship from primary to University levels to 200 orphans from Borno State whose parents were killed by Boko Haram.
“These children are provided with accommodation, feeding and being given very good �education in Kano State under a special welfare programme that the Governor approved.
“On the other hand, the Emir of Kano was our main link to Alhaji Aliko Dangote. In 2016, the Emir was in Borno and on seeing the humanitarian situation, he spoke to Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Dangote has been to Borno State more than 3 times.
“He has given the highest individual and private sector support to our humanitarian course and I will never forget that the Emir of Kano was the link. As CBN Governor, the Emir brought the CBN entrepreneurship development center to Borno State back in 2013 or so.
“He helped in raising global local and global awareness to our situation in Borno. I will never forget the empathy shown to us by the Emir of Kano as well as Governor Ganduje and this is why I play the role of a bridge builder.”
My stewardship, by Shettima Shettima believes that the forum under his leadership in the past four years has made modest achievements despite security challenges.
He said: “Within this period, we have been able to collectively make some modest achievements in various sectors, which are deliberately initiated and im THE plemented for the overall growth and development of the Northern region and, to some extent, Nigeria as a whole.
“In the face of the increasing security challenges, especially emergent criminal activities such as kidnapping, cattle rustling, incessant communal clashes, inciting religious preachings and suicide bombings among others, most of which were not properly codified in the criminal justice system of Northern Nigeria, we found it judicially imperative to incorporate such criminal offences into the penal code.
“The Forum, therefore established a committee of Attorneys-General of the 19 Northern States to critically examine the provisions of the criminal justice system vis-à-vis, the emergent criminal activities, with a view to ensuring that perpetrators of such criminal offences are brought to justice.
“Accordingly, the forum advised all State Houses of Assembly in the 19 Northern States to make amendments and modifications to the existing criminal justice system.
“Sequel to persistent reports of drug abuse, especially among the youths and women in the Northern States, the Forum initiated the move to fight the menace in a holistic and all-encompassing manner by setting up committees of relevant stakeholders in each State of the region towards ensuring eliminating the scourge of drug abuse.
“At the National level, the Forum made a passionate appeal to the Federal Government to frontally deal with the issue of drug abuse and possibly declare a state of emergency in the fight against the scourge. It is gratifying to note that the Federal Government has heeded our call, which culminated in the setting up of the Marwa Committee against drug abuse.”
The governor also disclosed that the Forum, in a bid to attain some degree of financial independence, resolved to create a joint financial institution which could serve as a vehicle for the region’s economic recovery and overall sectoral development.
“In pursuance of this objective, each state is to contribute N50 million monthly, for a period of six months. So far, we have N650 million out of the expected N5.7 billion,” he said.
He called on states that were yet to fulfil their pledge to do so in order to enable the forum embark on the implementation of the various programmes and projects articulated under the scheme.
Some of the projects, he said, include the establish ment of a renewable energy plant, capable of generating 3000 – 4000MW of electricity.
“The Forum has also been able to make pragmatic initiatives towards the resuscitation of the New Nigeria Development Company in ortder to restore its position as the business and economic live-wire of the region. “To this end, about six billion naira was approved by the Forum for the implementation of a five-year strategic development plan, which if properly executed would undoubtedly propel the region into economic prosperity.
“In addition, a new commodity marketing company was established as a subsidiary of the NNDC, to develop and promote agricultural activities in the region.
“In order to further consolidate the economic base of the region, the NNDC had signed a memoran dum of understanding with Savanna Petroleum Limited for the development of four oil blocks.
“Additionally, the NNDC has commenced negotiations with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to venture into oil and gas exploration in the Northern region.” He further disclosed that plans are underway to resuscitate the Kaduna Textiles Company into full production of textile materials, which hopefully would, among other things, “meet the uniform needs of our Armed Forces and other para-military agencies.
“I appeal to Your Excellencies to extend similar support and cooperation to my successor. I also appeal to Your Excellencies for your forgiveness if during my tenure as Chairman of the Forum, I had offended you in one way or another.”