By John Shiklam in Kaduna
Governors of the 19 Northern States, under the umbrella of the Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) on Thursday summoned an emergency meeting to deliberate on the security challenges facing the region.
The region is being threatened by the activities of insurgents and the increasing wave of kidnappings and banditry.
Speaking before the meeting went behind close doors at the Government House, Kaduna, chairman of the forum and governor of Plateau state, Mr. Simon Lalong, said the emergency meeting was summoned to enable them address some matters of urgent importance to the survival of the region as it concerns the well being of the people.
“Your Excellencies, this emergency meeting has been summoned to enable us address some matters of urgent importance in the survival of our region and the well-being of our people.
“You will recall that during our last meeting, we deliberated extensively on many issues, particularly the nature of the insecurity currently bedeviling our region and how to deal with the situation.
“We consequently set up a Committee under the Chairmanship of His Excellency, Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State, to inter-alia develop a comprehensive regional plan of action that could bring lasting solutions to the lingering crises”.
Lalong said Thursday’s meeting will receive briefing from the committee and also deliberate on their findings and recommendations.
He said, “Another major issue we shall also deliberate on is the issue of livestock management in the country and in particular our region, which has continued to generate discourse, controversy, misinformation and even politicisation.
“You are aware of the many attempts to find lasting solutions to the incessant Farmer-Herder clashes, cattle rustling and associated criminality such as banditry, kidnapping among others.
“At this meeting, we shall deliberate on the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), which was commissioned by the National Economic Council chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and seeks to support and strengthen the development of market-driven ranches in the livestock ecosystem for improved productivity through breed improvement, pasture production, efficient land and water utilization.”
He noted that “as a region that holds the comparative advantage in livestock management as an economic and socio-cultural vocation, we need to come up with a common front on how to synergise and draw from the funds available for the programme and ensure that we derive maximum benefits for our people”.
Lalong said: “Hopefully, we shall develop strategies on how best to deal with the misinformation about the NLTF, which is sometimes confused with the Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) project.
“This is important because of the urgent need to cultivate the buy-in of all stakeholders and provide a conducive environment for nomadic herders and those who rear livestock using the private/public partnership model to key into the National Livestock Transformation Plan of the Federal Government.”
He said the forum, in the course of its engagements in Kaduna, shall commission the New Nigeria Development Company (NNDC) Shopping Mall which was awarded in 2014 with the aim of consolidating the investment portfolio of the Company and promoting its mission of advancing the commercial and industrial development of the North.
“You will recall that we set up a committee under the Chairmanship of His Excellency, the Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Badaru Abubakar, to study the current structure, mission and vision of the company and come up with a road map on how best to resuscitate and re-invigorate the Company.
“We have to think out of the box especially when it comes to the economy of our region which has so much needs that are staring us in the face every day.
We also have to continue our discourse on how to solve the Almajiri phenomenon which continues to be a social and security challenge that we cannot, but find solutions to.
“I therefore urge us all to engage in robust, open and frank discussions that will assist us come up with practical and effective resolutions that will move our region to the next level.
“We cannot afford to do otherwise because our people have entrusted us with their mandate and look up to us in dealing with their day to day challenges, which include poverty, illiteracy, insecurity, and economic opportunities.
“It is on this note that I welcome you to this emergency meeting as we receive some reports and deliberate on the issues outlined”.