Northern governors, monarchs meet in Kaduna over restructuring

Northern governors, monarchs meet in Kaduna over restructuring
July 28 16:56 2017

The Northern Governors Forum and traditional rulers drawn from all parts of the region are meeting in Kaduna over the the current agitation for the restructuring of the Nigeria federation.

Also on the agenda of the meeting is the security situation in the region occasioned by the farmers, herders’ clashes as well as the problem of the girl-child education.

The meeting which started on Thursday and will continue on Friday had in attendance all the 19 governors, except those of Borno, Benue, Kano and Zamfara states who visited President Muhammadu Buhari in London and were represented by their deputies.

Declaring the meeting held at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim Government House, Kaduna open, the Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, who read the speech of the Chairman of the Forum and Borno State helmsman, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, said the regional governors and the monarchs would make the North’s stand on restructuring known after the two-day meeting.

This, he noted, was imperative to rest the erroneous impression that the region was against restructuring and to counter the “specific versions of restructuring which generally seek to place the North in a position of strategic political and economic disadvantage, but portrayed as the only version that can work for the nation.”

He urged those clamouring for the restructuring of the country and other agitators to do so within the ambit of the law of the land and not to resort to hate speech that could lead to the disintegration of the country.

Specifically, Shettima took exception to the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra.

In this regards, he called on all constituted authorities and responsible leaders of thought in the South-East and other well meaning Nigerians to caution IPOB and MASSOB.

Another problem to be discussed at the meeting, according to Shettima, is the vexing and protracted Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East, which had resulted in the “massive destruction of lives and communities’ property, mass displacement of persons, threat to food security and social dislocation arising from the forced and sudden emergence of thousands of orphans and widows.”

“There are also the deeply rooted issues of child destitution thrown up by the Almajiri system, alarmingly fallen standard of public education system, youth employment and restiveness, drug peddling and abuse, and sectarian violence,” he added.

As a way forward, Shettima said, “We must wear our thinking caps to find immediate and lasting solutions to these teething problems otherwise we will get drowned by them.”

Shettima warned that unless the political leaders, including the monarchs, set aside their differences, the socio-economic and political challenges bedeviling the region would consume the North.

According to Shettima, to tackle these challenges, the North must go back to agriculture.

The chief host and the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, in his welcome address, expressed concern over the continued insecurity in the North, noting that the meeting was coming at a time when peace should be restored to the North.

El-Rufai noted that in place of strife and division, the regional leaders should create economic opportunities for the North to move forward.

El-Rufai, however, noted that this must be accompanied with a “development agenda to convert them from arenas of insecurity to places that are properly integrated into the economy.”

“The frequency and savagery of communal clashes in some of our states, and the prevalence of untoward phenomena such as rural banditry, cattle-rustling and kidnapping need to be tackled,” he added.

Emir and chiefs who attended the meeting include, Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III; Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Umar Ibn Garbai El-Kanemi; Emir of Gwandu, Maj. Gen Muhammad Bashir (retd.); Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II; Emir of Bauchi, Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu; Emir of Katsina, Dr. Abdulmumini Usman; and Etsu-Nupe, Dr. Yahaya Abubakar.