Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi
By Chuks Okocha
Ahead of today’s meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), the Northern Nigerian Governors Forum (NNGF) will meet in the morning to harmonise their position on their opposition to the demands for the decentralisation of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF).
The Northern governors, THISDAY gathered, will be meeting this morning at the Niger State Governor’s Lodge, while the main body of the governors will be meeting in the evening at the Rivers State Governor’s Lodge.
THISDAY was told that the meeting of the Northern governors is aimed at harmonising their position on their opposition to the creation of state police formations, which their counterparts from the South as well as the Governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, are in support of.
At their meeting last month, the Northern governors had declared that the forum was not in support of the creation of state police units and resolved to prevail on the Federal Government to embark on police reforms that will assist the states with the control and management of police affairs.
They also resolved that Section 215 of the constitution be amended, while Section 214 of the constitution be deleted.
Reacting to their decisions, Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, who is the chairman of the NGF, countered that he was not aware of any division in the governors’ demand for state police formations, as a decision had been taken for the unanimous demand for state police.
As a result, another meeting to discuss the decentralisation of the police force among other constitutional amendments was scheduled for last week, but most of the Northern governors were absent as they had gone on pilgrimage for the lesser Hajj. The NGF therefore postponed the meeting till after the Muslim fast.
A source informed THISDAY that today’s meeting of the NGF is crucial for the continued unity of the governors. Already, some of the Northern governors were in Abuja last night, as a visit to the Asokoro homes of some them revealed.
Though one of the major planks of the Northern governors’ meeting this morning will be on the state police, another issue that will preoccupy them is security, for which a special committee of prominent Northerners would be inaugurated.
It was gathered that members of the committee on security include Ambassador Zakari Ibrahim, AVM Muhktar Mohammed, Bishop Hassan Matthew Kukah, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, Prof. Tijjani el-Miskin, AIG Hamisu Ali Jos (rtd), Gen. Martin Luther Agwai, HRH Nde Joshua, Y. Dimlong, HRH Ibrahim Sulu Gambari, Sheikh Ahmad Lemo and Mrs. Aisha Oyebode.
According to the Secretary to the Government of Niger State and Chairman, Forum of Secretaries to the Government of Northern States, Daniel C. Shashere, “The high powered committee is to handle issues bordering on reconciliation, healing, peace and security within the troubled areas across the Northern states of the federation, with a view to engendering the most desired peaceful co-existence, unity and development in the entire region.”