Governors of the North were at the State House in Abuja yesterday to tell President Muhammadu Buhari about their fears on the rising insecurity in the land.
They said the wave of killings, banditry and kidnapping in the Northwest and the Northcentral was becoming more threatening like the insurgency in the Northeast.
The President assured them that his administration will never treat security of lives and properties across the country with levity. He promised not let the nation down.
Speaking at the meeting with the states’ chief executives under the auspices of the Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF), President Buhari said: “The security of the country is on my mind 24 hours of the day. I get daily and weekly situation reports.”
The governors were led by their outgoing Chairman, Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima.
They included: Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna); Yahaya Bello (Kogi); Simon Lalong (Plateau); Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto); Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi) and Sani Bello (Niger).
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, the President said: “I have listened to your brief. I will look into your recommendations. I am acutely aware of the situation, but I have learnt more today.”
The President bemoaned the ravaging effect of unchecked corruption in the past on the country’s Armed Forces, saying: “The terrible effects of mismanagement were prevalent, and these are the consequences.”
“If you follow the efforts we are making within the system, you will see that we have curbed much of the corruption that is there. See the recoveries that we have made – money, landed property. We are not going as fast as we want under the system, but we will keep trying to improve it.”
President Buhari promised to increase the frequency of his meetings with security chiefs, who are to keep updating him.
He also expressed interest in getting reports from governors who have difficult relationships with the heads of security agencies in their domains.
The governors drew the President’s attention to specific challenges they faced in their states.
They praised the Federal Government’s efforts at curbing Boko Haram terrorism and farmers/herders clashes, which they said had been dealt with.
Noting that normalcy had virtually returned to the Northeast, the governors however, warned that armed banditry was posing a dangerous threat and needed to be tackled with equal swiftness.
Speaking with reporters after the meeting, Katsina State Governor Aminu Bello Masari said their mission was to brief the President on the increasing insecurity in the North.
He said they came to see the President based on a resolution of the NGF at a meeting in Kaduna 10 days ago.
According to him, the increasing banditry and kidnapping in the Northwest could be likened to insurgency in the Northeast and Northcentral.
He called for an urgent and decisive action to curb the trend.
Masari said: “The issue that brought us to the President is about the rising insecurity in the Northwest, Northcentral and Northeast. Northeast is known for Boko Haram insurgency but of recent, what was known to be cattle rustling in Northwest and some parts of Northcentral has turned out to be something different from what we had before.