Jonathan, gov­er­nors: We must find miss­ing school­girls

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Isi­aka Wak­ili

An ex­panded meet­ing of Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil con­vened yes­ter­day by Pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan re­solved to do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to find the over 200 school­girls ab­ducted in Borno State 11 days ago.

Brief­ing jour­nal­ists af­ter meet­ing, along with other gov­er­nors, Ek­iti State Gover­nor Kay­ode Fayemi said the par­tic­i­pants re­solved that ev­ery­thing be done to en­sure the girls are re­leased un­harmed.

“The meet­ing agreed that the is­sue of the mo­ment is Chi­bok and the ab­duc­tion of the chil­dren and we must do ev­ery­thing to en­sure that the ab­ducted chil­dren are re­trieved and re­ha­bil­i­tated and re­turned to their their par­ents, and the mil­i­tary as­sured us that they are work­ing on it,” he said.

The closed-door meet­ing, held in­side the Coun­cil Cham­ber of the Pres­i­den­tial Villa, lasted for about seven hours. It was at­tended by nearly all the state gov­er­nors, the Min­is­ter of De­fence, the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser, ser­vice chiefs and other high-rank­ing of­fi­cials.

Fayemi said it was also re­solved that all po­lit­i­cal lead­ers should rise above par­ti­san­ship when deal­ing with se­cu­rity is­sues, es­pe­cially by avoid hate speeches.

He said apart from em­pha­sis­ing the im­por­tance of data shar­ing among se­cu­rity agencies, the meet­ing also agreed that a holis­tic and com­pre­hen­sive re­sponse to ter­ror­ism and “we should work out anti-poverty poli­cies”.

Fayemi said the meet­ing did not dis­cuss the state of emer­gency in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, which ex­pires next month.

Also speak­ing, Borno State Gover­nor Kashim Shet­tima said all the lead­ers at the meet­ing reaf­firmed their com­mit­ment to work­ing to­gether, ir­re­spec­tive of their po­lit­i­cal, eth­nic and re­li­gious af­fil­i­a­tions, to tackle the prob­lem con­fronting the na­tion.

He said the meet­ing em­pha­sised the need for greater in­vest­ment in the de­vel­op­ment of ad­vanced se­cu­rity tech­nol­ogy “be­cause of the pro­lif­er­a­tion of small arms and light weapons”.

De­fence Min­is­ter Aliyu Gusau said it was agreed that the Federal Govern­ment, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with state and lo­cal gov­ern­ments, must do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to bring the se­cu­rity chal­lenges un­der con­trol.

The min­is­ter said the meet­ing also re­solved that all Nige­ri­ans must be se­cu­rity con­scious as se­cu­rity is ev­ery­body’s re­spon­si­bil­ity.

The gov­er­nors of Abia, Niger and Ek­iti states said the meet­ing unan­i­mously con­demned Gover­nor Mur­tala Nyako’s re­cent memo in which he ac­cused the Federal Govern­ment of geno­cide against north­ern­ers.

Gover­nor Theodore Orji of Abia State said, “The memo writ­ten by one of our col­leagues, Gover­nor Nyako of Adamawa State, was dis­cussed and there was a very unan­i­mous con­dem­na­tion of that memo. All of­fi­cers and people in po­si­tions of author­ity were ad­vised to be cau­tious of what they say. That what they say should at least en­liven ev­ery per­son and make us to know that this coun­try be­longs to all of us and not some­thing that will de­mor­alise us, not some­thing that will incite people to go the neg­a­tive way.”

Orji said the meet­ing also agreed that the Boko Haram in­sur­gency is not a re­li­gious war “be­cause both Mus­lims and Chris­tians are be­ing killed. It doesn’t dis­crim­i­nate against any per­son.”

He added: “The meet­ing recog­nised that se­cu­rity is­sue is not for the Federal Govern­ment alone, it should be a co­op­er­a­tive is­sue han­dled co­op­er­a­tively by the federal, state and lo­cal gov­ern­ments. When there is a syn­ergy, ob­vi­ously progress will be made.

“The meet­ing also agreed that at the state level, gov­er­nors who are chief se­cu­rity of­fi­cers have to do a lot to help be­cause that is where the se­cu­rity is­sue is. In so do­ing, the state gov­er­nors should mo­bilise their ra­dio houses to sen­si­tise the people so that they’ll be aware of this se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion.”

Niger State Gover­nor Mu’azu Ba­bangida Aliyu said af­ter con­demn­ing Nyako’s memo, the meet­ing con­cluded that “we need to be care­ful about our state­ments in or­der not to give ter­ror­ists the im­pres­sion that they’ve won.”

He added: “We looked at it (Nyako’s let­ter) all. In fact, he (Nyako) was al­lowed to read the memo to all us. We con­cluded that for many of us, we need to be very care­ful about the kind of state­ments we make; and that we need to be very care­ful that what­ever we say are ei­ther ev­i­denced­based or some­thing that can be au­then­ti­cated, other­wise, there is no need to be giv­ing ter­ror­ists the op­por­tu­nity of think­ing that they’re suc­ceed­ing be­cause all a ter­ror­ist wants is for him to find out that what he does is re­ally car­ried out in such a way that people will have the im­pres­sion that he has made im­pact.”

On the be­tween

in­ces­sant herds­men crises

and farm­ers, Aliyu said the meet­ing agreed that all graz­ing routes be prop­erly gazetted for peace to reign and that herds­men be set­tled/re­lo­cated.

He said the meet­ing also cau­tioned against re­li­gious preach­ing that could un­der­mine na­tional se­cu­rity.

He also noted that it was agreed that it is le­gal for the pres­i­dent to in­volve the mil­i­tary in any do­mes­tic af­fair when nec­es­sary.

Aliyu said the meet­ing un­der­stands that there is we need to re­move the is­sue of in­di­ge­ne­ship from the con­sti­tu­tion.

Gov­er­nors present at the meet­ing were those Zam­fara, Anam­bra, Abia, Bayelsa, Benue, Adamawa, Sokoto, Borno, Kaduna, Kwara, Ebonyi, Taraba, Nasarawa, Ek­iti, Kebbi, Niger, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ondo, Bauchi, Enugu, Osun, Delta and Katsina states.

Gov­er­nors of Ji­gawa, Kano, Rivers, Yobe, Oyo, Edo, Plateau, Imo and Ogun states were rep­re­sented by their deputies, while La­gos State Gover­nor Ba­batunde Fashola did not at­tend and was not rep­re­sented.

Also present were Sul­tan of Sokoto Muham­mad Sa’ad Abubakar, pres­i­dent of the Chris­tian As­so­ci­a­tion of Nigeria Pas­tor Ayo Orit­se­jafor, Vice Pres­i­dent Na­madi Sambo, Sec­re­tary to the Govern­ment of the Fed­er­a­tion Se­na­tor Anyim Pius Anyim, Chief of De­fence Staff Air Chief Mar­shal Alex Badeh, the ser­vice chiefs, In­spec­tor-Gen­eral of Po­lice Mo­hammed Abubakar, the Di­rec­tors-Gen­eral of the State Se­cu­rity Ser­vices and the Na­tional In­tel­li­gence Agency, as well as heads of para­mil­i­tary agencies.

From left: Sokoto State Gover­nor Aliyu Wa­mako and Adamawa State Gover­nor Mur­tala Nyako at the meet­ing.

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