The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), have said bandits, who are killing and kidnapping innocent Nigerians, are criminals and should be treated as such.
Buhari, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, stated this on Thursday at a security meeting in Kaduna attended by 19 northern governors, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; Director General of the Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi and the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar lll led traditional rulers from all parts of the north to the meeting.
The President, through his chief of staff, said his regime would continue to deal decisively with insurgents, bandits and kidnappers.
He said, “This meeting is coming at a time when the nation is making steady progress in addressing the many challenges impeding development and progress.
“We are providing critical infrastructural facilities such as roads, railways, airports, among others, which are critical to economic prosperity of our people as well as opening up economic opportunities for our citizens to pursue legitimate aspirations that grow the economy.
“At the same time, we are confronting the various dimensions of security challenges that continue to slow down the emancipation of our people from poverty and economic deprivation.
“The government shall continue to deal with insurgents, bandits, kidnappers and other criminals that constitute threat to innocent citizens across the country.
“Criminals are criminals and should be dealt with accordingly without resorting to ethnic profiling. I have already tasked the new service chiefs to devise new strategies that will end this ugly situation where the lives of our people continue to be threatened by hoodlums and criminals.
In his opening remarks, the Plateau State Governor and Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Simon Lalong, said the North had a long way to go in term of “education, healthcare delivery, infrastructural development, food security, industrialisation and human capital development among others.”
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who was represented by the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ahmad Wase, on behalf of northern National Assembly lawmakers, said the lawmakers would collaborate with governors to solve problems bedevilling the region and by extension the country.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State while addressing the gathering, stressed the need for peace for the development of the region and the country.
El-Rufai said, “We need enduring peace and security to ensure that our people can prosper and that our states can develop.
“Amidst the fears and despairs of the moment, we have a chance to offer hope and buoy up the spirit of our people.
“Our people are looking up to us for solutions. We need peace and security in the north and Nigeria.
“We must discharge our duty as leaders to them by collaborating across all divides to solve the challenges that confront our region and Nigeria.”
On his part, the Sultan of Sokoto urged northerners to be patient with the governors.
Abubakar noted that the governors were trying to rebuild what had been destroyed in the north over a decade ago.
He also said the traditional council in the region would continue to defend the action of the governors.
The Sultan decried the almajirinci menace in the North which he claimed was poverty driven.
In a communiqué issued after the meeting, the 19 northern governors resolved to partner the Federal Government to tackle insurgency and banditry ravaging the region.
Lalong, who read the communiqué shortly after the meeting which lasted several hours, also said his colleagues resolved to work with their southern counterparts to end the rising ethno- religious in the country.
The 12-point- communiqué partly read, “the Northern States’ Governors’ Forum resolved to work assiduously and jointly with the Federal Government in tackling the challenges of insecurity in the country to create conducive atmosphere for socio-political economic growth and development of the country.
“The forum also resolved to address the menace of ‘Yan’Sakai’ (Volunteer Vigilante Service Providers) in some states through meaningful engagements and legislation.
“The meeting resolved to collaborate with meaningful individuals and corporate organizations to invest in areas of agriculture and mining industries in order to improve the economy of the Northern Region and Nigeria at large.
“The forum calls for due diligence in the execution of the Federal Government initiative in its economic sustainability plan wherein N700bn is earmarked for the project in order to address farming, animal husbandry and other agro-allied business. This effort will create jobs opportunities thereby creating wealth for our teaming population.
“The forum received various reports from the committees constituted by the Northern States Governors’ Forum and resolved to look into the report for possible implementation.
“The forum reiterated its commitment to work in synergy with their southern counterparts and appealed to their colleagues to extend their presence in the northern part of the country in order to enable harmonious and peaceful coexistence among citizens and other ethnic nationalities.”