State governors from the North-Eastern part of the country on Monday met with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on the deteriorating security situation in the zone and appealed to him to address the causes without further delay.
They also lamented the rate at which more members are being recruited into the sect.
As one of the ways out, the governors recommended that more sophisticated equipment should be provided for the Nigeria Police Force in order to cover the manpower deficit they said they noticed in the nation’s military.
Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum, disclosed these to State House correspondents at the end of the meeting they had with Buhari inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting was held at a time the North East is witnessing a deteriorating security situation.
Penultimate Wednesday, Zulum’s convoy was attacked between Baga and Munguno while he was on a routine inspection.
The following day, multiple explosions from mortars fired by suspected Boko Haram members hit Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, leaving many injured.
Zulum, who was joined at the press briefing, by the Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, said the meeting with the President was a fallout of a meeting of the North East governors held in Maiduguri on Saturday.
He said the governors resolved on Saturday to meet Buhari with a view to highlighting the key challenges in the region, especially the issues of security, decaying infrastructure especially road projects, cases of oil exploration in the region, and the issues of enhancing river basin development in the region among others.
When asked to give further details of what transpired at the meeting concerning security, the governor said, “The governors of the region have commended the efforts of the Federal Government in securing the region.
“However, we told the President that there is the need for the Federal Government to address the causes of insurgency, which are not limited to endemic poverty and hunger among others.
“One of the causes is that of access to farmlands. People need to go back to their farmlands; people need to be resettled in their original homes so that they can restart their means of livelihood.
“This is one of the reasons the insurgents are recruiting more into the sect. Therefore, creating an enabling environment for the people to go about their normal duties will no doubt reduce the cases of insurgency.
“We also recommended that police should be empowered, to be provided with a certain state of the art equipment, armored personnel carrier and so on with a view to bridging the manpower gap that we are having in the Nigerian military.”
When also asked to comment on the recent attack on his convoy and the controversy that ensued following his indictment of the military, Zulum said a series of meetings had been held after the attack.
He, however, refused to disclose the agreement reached during the said consultations.
The governor simply said, “We have had a series of consultations after the attack and I think security is not only about the Federal Government. There is a need for the federal, state, and local governments to come together with a view to proffering solutions that will end this crisis in the region.
“But most importantly, there is war economy in the region and I think that is why we are here.
“So, I think the government is taking a bold step with a view to ensuring the speedy resolution of some of the grey areas that we have in the region.”
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd); Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; the Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari; Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi; and the Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammad Dingyadi, were among top government officials who joined Buhari at the meeting.
Governors in attendance were Zulum; Fintri; Bala Mohammed of Bauchi; Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe; Darius Ishaku of Taraba; and Mai Mala Buni of Yobe.
The Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar; the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Rufa’I; and the Director-General, Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi, also attended.