L-R , Governor Aminu Masari of Kastina State ; Governor Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari of Zamfara State and Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State responding to questions from State House Correspondent shortly after the meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa , Abuja on Thursday Photo: GODWIN OMOIGUI
  •  Pledge to support FG tackle security challenges

John Shiklam in Kaduna

In a departure from their initial stance, governors of the 19 Northern states in the country have said that they were not opposed to the ranching of cattle as a way of checking the incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen and improving the production of dairy and meat products from livestock production.

In a communiqué issued by the forum and read out by the Governor of Borno State Kashim Shettima after its meeting in Kaduna Thursday, the forum said ranching was the surest way of enhancing the productivity of animals in the country.

According to him, while cattle in other climes produce as much as 40 litres of milk per day, the breed of cattle in the country produce only one litre daily, noting that it is not enough to meet the demands of Nigeria’s growing population, especially the Northern part.

He said measures were being put in place by various state governments to improve the breed of cattle and quality of milk they produce.

On the incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the country, the forum noted that it was committed to rendering “full and unequivocal support to the federal government in its unwavering commitment and dogged determination to address the multifarious security challenges in all parts of the country”.

The forum particularly extended its support to the federal government for the measures so far put in place to resolve the lingering clashes between farmers and herdsmen.

It also called for “implementable and viable strategic measures to be initiated by governments at all levels to forestall future occurrence of any form of communal crisis”.

While calling for an articulation of a comprehensive plan for intervention in the states affected by the lingering crisis, the forum strongly admonished political, religious and ethnic jingoists to avoid imputing religious, ethnic and political coloration to the conflicts.

“The meeting specifically deliberated on the seemingly intractable and excruciating nature of the conflicts between farmers and herdsmen, as well as other deadly and destructive security challenges confronting various parts of the North vis-a-vis their counter-veiling effects on social stability and developmental programmes of the various state governments in the region.

“The forum particularly discussed the lethality and widespread nature of the spate of communal clashes and emergent criminal activities like kidnapping and armed banditry in various parts of the Northern states,” the governors said.

On the recent abduction of 110 schoolgirls from a secondary school in Dapchi, Yobe State, the forum expressed appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for his timely and effective response to the abduction of the Dapchi students.

“Our prayers and commiseration goes to the government and people of Yobe State as well as the families of the victims over the sad and unfortunate incident,” the forum said.

The forum also expressed concern over the growing and widespread drug abuse in the North, especially among the youths, and appealed to all the relevant authorities to step up efforts in combating the menace.

The communiqué called on the federal government to declare a state of emergency on drug abuse in the country as part of renewed efforts to deal with the scourge.

It also urged the federal government to provide all the necessary funding and logistics to the relevant agencies like NAFDAC and NDLEA to boost the fight against drug abuse.

“The meeting also called on state governments to set up high powered enforcement committees under the chairmanship of either a deputy governor or secretary to the state government, to ensure that all the relevant laws and statutory provisions in respect to drug abuse are fully and effectively implemented at all times,” the forum added.

It further enjoined state Ministries of Women and Youth Affairs to intensify sensitisation and enlightenment programmes on the dangers of drug abuse.

It also resolved to come up with appropriate legislations by the various Houses of Assembly in the Northern states

The forum also received an interim report from its committee on restructuring of the country, which was mandated to collate views and opinions of individuals, groups and organisations in the North and come up with a Northern position on the national clamour for restructuring.
The report touched on the various efforts being made by the committee towards actualising its mandate.

The forum noted the presentation of the report and commended the committee for its relentless efforts on the comprehensive conduct of the exercise.

The governors at the meeting also deliberated on the structural and institutional challenges that have hamstrung the Northern Nigeria Development Company (NNDC), and the lingering unpaid pensions of former workers of the defunct New Nigeria Newspapers Company (NNNC).

“The forum also exhaustively deliberated on all the outstanding issues affecting the Northern Nigeria Development Company (NNDC), especially the institutional and structural challenges and impediments that have been retarding its viability and potential as the economic livewire of the region.

“The forum also discussed some pending challenges facing the New Nigeria Newspapers Company (NNNC), particularly the lingering concern of its pensioners and how best to resolve the issue in an all-encompassing and amicable way,” the communiqué added.