BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
Governors of the North East have accused traditional rulers and local authorities in the region of collaborating with bandits to cause mayhem among innocent citizens.
Lamenting that the spate of banditry in the region has been worsening with many lives lost and properties destroyed by the criminals, the governors under the auspices of the North-East Governors’ Forum claimed they were aware that some monarchs and other local authorities are conniving with the bandits, giving them shelter and cover to commit crimes within the subregion.
Those in attendance were governors of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno and Yobe; while the governors of Gombe and Taraba were represented by their deputies.
The governors, in a communique issued at the end of their 8th meeting which was held in Maiduguri, Borno State at the weekend, threatened to decisively deal with any traditional ruler or community leader that is found to be harbouring or conniving with the bandits.
According to the communique which was signed and read by the Forum’s Chairman and Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, the rising banditry in the region was because of the aggressive military operations against them in other parts of the country.
“While acknowledging the relative success recorded against insurgency, a new dimension of growing banditry is added to worsen the security situation in the subregion. As a result of the concerted efforts of the Military to flush bandits from the other parts of the country, the bandits are now moving towards the North East.
“The case is becoming worse in Bauchi, Gombe, and Taraba, places hitherto without banditry. The forum calls on the Federal Government to urgently intervene to address this issue.
“The forum is aware that some traditional rulers and other local authorities are conniving with the bandits, giving them shelter and cover to commit crimes within the subregion. The Forum unanimously resolved to decisively deal with any traditional ruler or community leader that is found to be harbouring or conniving with the bandits,” it stated.
It added that the proliferation of legal and illegal mining in the region is becoming a problem, noting that there is a link between mining activities and insecurity, especially the abuse of the mining leases.
The forum, therefore, called on the respective governments to enforce compliance with the provisions of local consent as contained in Nigeria’s Mining Policy and reiterated its call for strict compliance with the provisions of the Land Use Act.
According to the them, climate change and environmental degradation which are major issues affecting the subregion are a source of great concern.
“The issue of flooding that has affected the States leading to the destruction of properties and loss of livelihoods is increasing the sufferings of the people. This has been compounded by the silting of our rivers as well as deforestation brought about by the massive charcoal business. There is a need for the Federal Government’s intervention in the area of desilting the rivers.
“Furthermore, there is the need for effective control of deforestation with stern regulation to local authorities against compromise to granting approvals for such business. The Forum has resolved to key into the Global Initiative of Carbon Credi, the Great Green Wall, and other initiatives that will mitigate the devastating impact of climate change in the sub-region,” it stated.