Kaduna state governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has called for more collaboration and common approach among Northern governors to rid the region of security challenges, saying the incessant attacks, communal clashes, cattle rustling, kidnapping, rural banditry, among other challenges, need to be tackled so as to unleash the economic potentials of the region.
El-Rufai made the call during a meeting of Northern States Governors with chairmen of Council of Chiefs at Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, the Government House of Kaduna State, on Thursday.
The Governor added that, places like the Falgore, Kuyambana and Kamuku forests in the north are being utilized by outlaws and non-state actors of all sorts to perpetrate different atrocities; hence, there is need to request from the federal government to handover such forests to states for better and closer management, to improve security.
He said, “These forests constitute sources of peril to ordinary people, the states and the country. After our recent bitter experience, we will not be forgiven if we allow the emergence of new Sambissas in these vast spaces, which provide safe refuge for outlaws. Robberies, kidnappings and cattle rustling are headquartered in these ungoverned forest ranges.
“What is proposed is that we continue to jointly fund special security operations to sanitise these spaces, which must now be accompanied with a development agenda to convert them from arenas of insecurity to places that are properly integrated into the economy.”
El-Rufai further tasked them on the need to build and sustain peace in the region, saying, “The message needs to go out to our communities – that peace requires a determination to have peace, sustain and protect it.
“There is no humane alternative to choosing to resolve all differences by exclusively peaceful and legal means. Our region is the most diverse area in our vast country. It cannot afford the ghastly luxury of transforming differences in religion, language and culture into sources of conflict, death and destruction.
“Your Excellencies, Your Royal Highnesses, we need to challenge our elite to stop the commoditization of difference and unite our peoples for development and prosperity. For such efforts to be credible and sustainable, the state must vigorously reclaim its prerogatives as the guarantor of security. Robust actions in the security sector must be undertaken quickly to implant a visible, reassuring and effective presence of the protective hand of the state across our region.
“The credentials of our region as a reasonably secure place are crucial to our economic development. With vast land mass, abundant waters, and, above all, tens of millions of hardworking people, ours is a region waiting to break out of poverty and all its restraints to the human spirit,” he noted.