To contain the high level of insecurity in Nigeria, especially in the North, governors and traditional rulers from the region have thrown their weight behind the establishment of state police.
Northern Governors’ Forum (NoGF) yesterday met with the Northern Traditional Rulers Council (NTRC) in Abuja and came out with a resolution calling for the establishment of state police to tackle security challenges in the region and the nation as a whole.
LEADERSHIP reports that calls for the police force to be set up and run at the state levels have been usually rebuffed by lawmakers in the National Assembly during the constitution amendment processes, on the fear that they could be abused by governors.
But, according to the communique issued at the end of their meeting held at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, the Northern political and traditional leaders reviewed the security situation in the North and other matters relating to its development and resolved to support the amendment of the constitution to accommodate the establishment of state police.
The communique, which was read by the chairman of the Forum and governor of Plateau State, Rt. Hon Simon Lalong, said having state police would effectively and efficiently address the security challenges of the region.
The NGF, in a statement issued in Jos, Plateau State, by the director of press and public affairs to Governor Lalong, Dr. Simon Makut Macham, also reiterated its commitment to the development of solar energy in view of the comparative advantage of abundant sunshine in the region.
Accordingly, it was unanimously resolved that 2,000 megawatts of solar power be harvested across the 19 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, with a view to harnessing the huge potential of power from solar.
The joint meeting also noted with regret the ongoing ASUU strike which it believes was more punitive in the region as most of the students in the North attend public universities.
It, therefore, called on ASUU to cooperate with the federal government in resolving the dispute.
The Northern Governors also engaged officials of the World Bank to discuss the level of implementation of the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE) and Nigeria for Women Project which are being implemented in five Northern states.
Also, according to a press statement issued by the spokesman of Gombe State governor, Isma’ila Uba Misilli, who accompanied his principal, Inuwa Yahaya, to the meeting, governors of Katsina, Kaduna, Kebbi, Borno, Niger, Taraba and deputy governors of Adamawa, Benue, Nasarawa and Jigawa states attended the meeting.
On the part of the traditional rulers, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, led other traditional rulers, including the Shehu of Borno, Emirs of Kano, Zazzau, Fika, Lafiya, Anka and Gumi, as well as the Attah Igala, Ochi Doma, and Aku Uka of Wukari among others.
The leaders, according to the statement, discussed security issues, women development, agriculture, trade and investment and the role of traditional rulers in engendering peace and security in the northern region.
It noted that during the meeting, there were presentations by development partners, including Nigeria for Women Project (NFWP) and Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE), both funded by the World Bank.
“The governors also received updates on Northern Nigeria Renewable Energy Project (NNREP), Nigeria Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), Livestock Productivity and Resilience Support Project (L- PRES) and Kaduna Textile Limited (KTL) among others,” it added.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday scored his administration a pass mark on providing security and infrastructure, saying the regime had done well in the two areas.
The president made the comment while addressing a stakeholders’ meeting at the Imo State Government House in Owerri after inaugurating the Owerri- Orlu Road, the phase one of the Owerri-Okigwe Road and the state House of Assembly complex rebuilt by Governor Hope Uzodimma.
He said despite the scarce resources, his administration had achieved much.
“My administration is addressing infrastructure and security in Nigeria when compared with what we used to have from 1999 till 2015 when we took over,” he stated.
The president praised his administration’s efforts at addressing the challenge posed by Boko Haram terrorists in the North East and tackling infrastructural decay which he said he inherited from the Peoples Democratic Party administration in 2015.
Buhari disclosed that the federal government will continue to support the Imo State government and other states to deliver the dividends of democracy to their people irrespective of party affiliations.
He said, “I commend Governor Uzodinma for rebuilding the House of Assembly complex. The federal government will continue to support Imo State government. This support is also available to other states of the federation irrespective of political party affiliation.”
Buhari commended Uzodinma for inviting him twice within a year to commission projects executed by his administration, saying he had performed well.
Buhari said, “Governor Uzodinma is doing well in Imo State. He is doing well with limited resources. The roads which I have just commissioned will stimulate the local economy in the state.”
An excited Uzodimma, in his address, said the commissioned roads were abandoned by previous administrations for decades.
He disclosed that already, his administration had constructed 105 roads in less than three years of his administration, adding that the economy of the state had received a boost as a result.
Uzodimma maintained that his administration had done so much with scarce resources, especially in the face of insecurity and social media blackmail which he said were politically contrived.
On his part, president-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof George Obiozor said insecurity and infrastructural decay were the two major concerns affecting the South East region, appealing to the federal government to address them.
President Buhari praised Governor Uzodimma for his efforts in developing the state, saying, “You have written your own history.’’
The president, in a statement by his media aide , Femi Adesina, said his administration will leave a legacy of major development projects across the country, while saluting Imo State Governor for giving more attention to construction and institutional reforms that will improve the lives of the people.
President Buhari, who commissioned the Owerri/Orlu dual carriage, Owerri/Okigwe road and the renovated House of Assembly Complex, noted that the Imo State government had made remarkable progress with infrastructure in three years.
“I am delighted to be back in Imo State – the Eastern Heartland – to commission a number of projects executed by the administration of His Excellency, Governor Hope Uzodimma.
“I am happy to note that within just three years of the administration of Governor Uzodimma, I have made two official visits to Imo State to commission projects in the state.
“On each occasion, I have received a very warm hospitality of Imo people, for which I am always appreciative. Ndi Imo, Ndewo!
“As it is often said in local Igbo parlance, a good road deserves a second passage. It is a pleasant coincidence that the name of your governor, Uzodimma, is derived from this same idiom. Little wonder, therefore, that he has made the provision of good roads one of his top priorities,” he said.
The president said his administration recognizes the importance of critical infrastructure in economic development and was determined to drive the economic development of Nigeria through the provision of vital infrastructure across the length and breadth of the country.
“This can be seen in our commitment to certain critical projects such as Deep Sea Ports, new airport terminals and buildings, various railway projects, a network of gas and power infrastructure, roads and bridges including the Second Niger Bridge, telecommunications infrastructure to mention but a few.
“I am therefore happy to see that the APC administration of Governor Uzodimma is doing similar improvement here in Imo State.
“I commend the Governor for being able to do so with the limited resources at the disposal of the state government. This proves that when leaders are dedicated and focused, much can be achieved for our people,” he added.
The president encouraged Imo State indigenes to keep supporting the governor to actualise his dream for the state, particularly on good governance.
“In my last visit here, I encouraged you all to support your governor so that he can do more for the people of Imo state. I am happy that you took my advice and today he has presented to me three key projects for commissioning.
“I have just commissioned the dualised Owerri – Orlu road, the Owerri Okigwe road (Phase 1) and the rebuilt House of Assembly Complex.
“I am told that these two major roads, which I commissioned, cut through several local government areas of the state. The roads will therefore serve as major stimulants to the local economy of these parts of the state,” the president stated.
President Buhari noted that previous administrations in the state were unable to fix the roads because of their unique and difficult terrains, which were complicated by erosion.
According to him, “It took the sheer determination and courage of the current government to fix these roads. So, I say “bravo” to the Governor of Imo State, whose name I was informed means “good road”.
“I was also informed that the House of Assembly Complex which I have just commissioned was dilapidated and abandoned for over 10 years before the intervention of the present administration.
“This is equally commendable because of the importance of the legislative arm of government in the sustenance of democracy. I, therefore, applaud the governor for according due respect to this arm of government which is at the heart of our democracy, “ he said.
President Buhari extolled the government of Imo state for “the road revolution”, describing it as “infrastructure revolution”.
In his remarks, the Imo State governor noted that the Owerri/Orlu dual carriage and Owerri/Okigwe road had significant economic value to the state and other neighboring states.
“Each of the projects has a remarkable history. The dualised road has been a nightmare for decades,’’ he said, adding that erosion made the construction more difficult.
The governor thanked president for his interventions to ensure development in the South East, with historic projects like Second Niger Bridge, which would gulp the highest single investment in the zone of more than N360 billion, approval for upgrading of the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, to a teaching hospital and establishment of a naval base in Oguta, Imo State.