Northeast Governors Forum elects Zulum chairman, seeks empowerment of Police on counter-insurgency

 By Adamu Aliyu Ngulde, Maiduguri

Governor of the Northeast states had on Saturday called for the full involvement of the Nigeria police in the ongoing Boko Haram war as a way of beefing up the personnel shortage in the region.

The governors also said existing laws guiding the armed should be altered to allow the police to use high calibre weapons like the soldiers.

The Humanitarian Times had last night reported that six governours of the Northeast region were meeting in Maiduguri at a subregional level to brainstorm on their everyday challenges. The report indicated that the governors of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and the Yobe States, who had earlier this year agreed to form a regional body as North East Governors’ Forum met in Maiduguri for the second time.

At the Maiduguri meeting, which held behind closed doors, the governors reportedly discussed the challenges facing the sub-region after which they issued a communique. The high point of the Communique was the call for the deployment of troops with better arms and ammunition.

The Communiqué, issued late Saturday night, commended the federal government’s fight against Boko Haram insurgency with a call for the armed forces to “intensify effort to secure hard-to-reach areas in the region and ensure safe access to farmlands.”

“The Forum called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to ensure the deployment of state of the art military hard ware to the region.”

“The Forum recommends that the manpower deficit in the Nigerian Armed Forces should be bridged by allowing the Police to carry state of the art weapons where necessary.”

“The Forum suggested that the police should be equipped with strategic equipment like high-velocity tear gas, trackers and Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC).

As a way of addressing the remote cause of the Boko Haram insurgency, the Forum implored the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to double its commitment “to recharging the Lake Chad from National water bodies and strengthen the river basins in the sub region.”

The governors had also pledged a united front towards fostering regional integration, growth and development “especially in exploitation of its oil and gas potentials, mineral resources, agriculture and industrialization.

 “The Forum calls on the Federal Government to revoke selected roads contracts awarded by Federal Ministry of Works for years without progress and re-award same to more competent contractors and fund to ensure timely execution.

They also called on the Federal Government to ensure local content in the execution of the Mambila Hydroelectric power project and other programmes of the North East Development Commission to ensure synergy with state governments.

The Forum said it supported the management and Board of the North East Development Commission and agreed to work together in producing comprehensive strategic Master Plan for the region that will ensure sustainable development.

The Forum supports of the Federal Government plan in transforming the system “to strengthen both Islamic and western education as well as stop street begging and prevalence of out of school children in the region as agreed by the Northern Governors.”

The Communiqué indicated that Governor of Borno state, Babagana Zulum has been nominated and endorsed as the Forum’s chairman for a period, during which their head Headquarters will remain in Maiduguri, Borno State.

 The Forum’s next meeting is to hold on November 7th 2020 in Yola, Adamawa State.

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