By Lawal A. Dogara, Kaduna
The Northern Governors Forum on political office holders and opinion leaders to refrain from making inflammatory statements that can create tension in polity and cause chaos, especially on the social media.
They made the call Friday during a two-day joint meeting of the Northern governors forum and traditional rulers at Sir Kashim Ibrahim House in Kaduna , deliberating on topical issues of common interest for the security, speedy enhancement of economic prosperity and sociopolitical advancement of the north and Nigeria.
The governors expressed worry over the increasing rate of armed banditry and the fact that Kamuku and Falgore forests in the north have provided shelter for bandits. They called on the Federal Government to relinquish forest reserves to be domiciled states for better manning and security coverage.
In a communique issued at the end of the meeting, signed by the chairman of Northern States Governors’ Forum and the Borno state governor, Kashim Shettima, the governors expressed worries over the recurring conflicts between farmers and cattle rearers.
While opining that the free movement of persons, goods and services within the West African subregion as ratified by the ECOWAS convention be subjected to the laws of individual members states in other to crosscheck border crimes, especially cattle rustling, the governors blamed the escalating crises between farmers and cattle rearers on what they described as infiltration of criminals from outside the region, posing themselves as Fulani herdsmen to attack farmers.
Adding that “creating more grazing reserves and providing adequate infrastructure in such reserves by way of addressing the needs of cattle rearers and this of their animals before the enactment of of the appropriate legislation will also meliorte the challenges.
“The forum therefore discourages ethnicizing the deadly conflicts and crimes with the Fulani tribe as any other tribe could be cattle rearers too.”
On the issues pertaining to agitation for restructuring the nation, they said “the forum has constituted a high -powered committee to collate views and comments on the state of the nation with specific reference to the agitations for restructuring of the country which has assumed different meanings to different people.
“The committee will be chaired by his excellency , Rt. Hon . Aminu Waziri Tambuwal , the executive governor of Sokoto state, the governors of Nassarawa , Gombe, Benue , Bauchi , and Kaduna States, as well as their Royal Highnesses , the Emirs of Kano, Zazzau, Gummi, Etsu Nupe and Gbong-Gwom Jos as members .
” The committee has the mandate to collect and collte views regarding various agitations for the restructuring of the country from individuals , groups and corporate organization in the region . it is to come up with acceptable , tenable and sustainable position for the Northern region in consonance with provisions of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended , taking into cognizance the current constitutional amendment process going on in the National Assembly,” the communique reads.
While reaffirming its commitment to national unity , peaceful coexistence and the right of all Nigerians to reside and own property in any part of the country as guaranteed by the constitution of Nigeria, the forum strongly condemned the recent attack on security personnel and NNPC staff which resulted to the suspension of oil exploration activities in Chad Basin.