President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said there will be no softening of the ongoing measures aimed at tackling insurgents, bandits, kidnappers, and other criminals constituting a threat to innocent citizens across the country.
The President gave the warning through his Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, during a security meeting of the Northern State Governor’s Forum and traditional rulers in Kaduna State.
President Buhari admitted that the country is battling with different dimensions of security challenges, but added that he has asked the new Service Chiefs to devise new strategies that will end the ugly situation.
Meanwhile, the Northern Governors have resolved to partner with the Federal Government and their Southern counterparts in tackling the challenges.
Thursday’s meeting, which took place at the Kaduna state government house, came barely two weeks after governors of the Northwest zone held a similar meeting with the service Chiefs and the National Security Adviser to discuss ways to address the issue of banditry and kidnapping bedeviling the zone.
Among the governors who attended the meeting were those of Kebbi, Jigawa, Sokoto, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Kano, Katsina, Plateau, as well as the Deputy Governors of Bauchi, Kogi, Zamfara, Benue, and Niger states.
In their opening remarks, the host Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, and the Chairman of the forum, Simon Lalong said the meeting was long overdue and crucial for the progress of the North and the country in general.
While El-Rufai urged his colleagues to adopt strategies to forestall all forms of security challenges in the North, Governor Lalong regretted the attacks and killings menacing the region, noting that it is the responsibility of governors and other leaders to find lasting solutions to the problem.
He also described the recent kidnap of school children in Government Science Secondary School, Kagara, Niger State as a wake-up call for leaders and also as a sad reminder of the difficult situation the north is facing.
On the issue of herder-farmer clashes, which has in recent weeks generated serious concerns because of the harsh rhetoric from various parts of the country, Lalong agreed that open grazing is no longer sustainable for obvious reasons.
He also reiterated that the Northern Governors Forum (NGF) has keyed into the National Livestock Transformation Programme (NLTP), a veritable option that will go a long way in ending the clashes through organised ranching.
The northern governors also appealed to their colleagues in other parts of the country and all citizens particularly opinion leaders to be cautious in their utterances and actions, warning that such unguided utterances could provide the oxygen for the exploitation of the nation’s fault lines to the detriment of the entire country.