Governors of the 19 northern states of Nigeria are in the process of identifying security experts from the northern part of the country with a view to engaging them to develop a blueprint for tackling security challenges in the region.
The governors are also looking at ways of harmonizing the Penal Codes in the country so that criminal elements would not migrate from states to avoid punishment.
The Northern States Governors’ Forum met on Friday in Kaduna and deliberated on major issues affecting security in the northern states and constituted a committee headed by the Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Bello Masari, to work out the blueprint.
The committee is expected to, according to the Forum, develop a comprehensive regional plan of action that could bring lasting solution to the lingering crises in the region.
“It would also make suggestions based on the thorough and insightful analysis and assessment of the situation on the best possible way the federal government can resolve the incessant problems, the forum chairman, Governor Shettima, had stated.
The committee is expected to seek audience with President Muhammadu Buhari and make adequate presentation to him on the true nature of the security challenges in Northern Nigeria.
One of the governors who was at the meeting told our correspondent in Kaduna, that the governors are, however not considering the option of amnesty for the criminals as it has not worked in some states in the region.
He said the governors agreed with the federal government on its suspension of mining activities in Zamfara State because they noted curiously that despite the wave of kidnapping going on there, none of the big miners were affected despite the fact that they are always in the bushes.
He said the governors decided that it would be better to bring a pool of experts on security matters to review the situation in Northern Nigeria and develop a master plan for onward presentation to the federal government.
He said the approach would be two-pronged and woven in a way that would first address the problem on a national scale as well as at the regional level.
The governor said his colleagues at the meeting agreed that the problem of insecurity had become worrisome and that drastic steps had to be taken to prevent it from getting out of hand.
He said the challenges identified by his colleagues on why banditry appears intractable in the North include the issues of porous borders which allows criminal elements to freely move within the West African sub-region, access to arms through the black-market and the lack of a strong legal framework.
The governor said the huge forests in the North allow the bandits to move from place to place, adding that, that is why it has been difficult engaging them in combat.
He said the military is also tasked as they are currently in operation in almost every part of the country.
“They are in the Niger Delta, North-East, North-West and other regions engaged in one operation or the other, so it’s difficult mobilizing the kind of number that would have made it easy to flush them out,” he said.
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