Abuja — Nineteen governors from the northern part of the country yesterday met with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja and appealed to him to take more decisive and swifter action on the violence ravaging the region.
The region has come under massive pillage by Boko Haram insurgents in the North-east, armed bandits and kidnappers in the North-west, and killer herdsmen in the North-central.
Faced with prospects of economic and social degradation due to the virtually unchecked violence of these non-state actors, the governors demanded and got audience with the president, asking him to save the region from the devastation of the criminals.
At the end of the meeting yesterday, Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State told State House Correspondents that Buhari listened attentively to them and pledged to take more concrete actions to end the reign of the hoodlums who had made life uncomfortable for the citizens of the region.
He said the president assured them that serious steps would be taken to restore public confidence in the ability and capacity of the government to execute its constitutional responsibility of securing lives and property of the citizens.
Masari said the governors briefed the president on the escalating security concerns in the region and called on him to stop the banditry, kidnappings and cattle rustling that had combined to foist a security siege on the northern part of the county.
According to him, the decision to meet the president over security crisis confronting the north was taken at a meeting of northern governors 10 days ago in Kaduna.
He said whereas insecurity used to be prevalent in the North-east because of the activities of Boko Haram, the trend has changed in recent times with escalating cases of banditry and cattle rustling in the North-west and North-central.
He added that the governors resolved to meet the president to express their concerns and to find a way of restoring public order.
He said they told the president on the need to act on the matter quickly and decisively to forestall the situation getting out of hand.
The president, on the other hand, assured them that something drastic would be done to bring the menace under control.
Masari said: "The issue that brought us to the president is about the rising insecurity in the North-west, North-central and North-east. North-east is known for Boko Haram insurgency but of recent, what was known to be cattle rustling in North-west and some parts of North-central has turned out to be something different from what we had before.
"So, this concern made us to come and brief the president so that urgent action would be taken in order to curb this deadly menace of banditry, which is gradually graduating into insurgency. You know the North-west with a vast forest area going to North-central and then even going out of Nigeria.
"So, we need to act quickly and decisively so that it doesn't turn into something else like what we had in the North-east."
Asked on the development on the kidnap of Magajin Gari Daura 26 days ago in front of his house, in Daura, Katsina State, Masari said: "I think the police are working seriously and they have made some progress but for obvious reasons, they cannot disclose all what they have done for security reasons but work is going on."
Present at the meeting aside Masari were Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Senator Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Malam Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna), Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), Mr. Simon Lalong (Plateau), Alhaji Sani Bello (Niger), Alhaji Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Alhaji Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa) and Alhaji Kashim Shettima (Borno).
President Promises Not to Let Nigerians Down
Later yesterday, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement, quoted the president as saying that he will not let the nation down on security.
He quoted the president: "The security of the country is on my mind 24 hours of the day. I get daily and weekly situation reports.
"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.
He said 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," the president added.
Buhari said he would increase the frequency of his meetings with security chiefs and keep updating himself.
Buhari also told the governors that normalcy had returned to the North-east, adding that the governors warned that banditry was posing a dangerous threat and needed to be tackled with equal swiftness.