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North East governors seek foreign assistance in insurgency fight

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NorthEast Governors’ Forum (NEGF) has urged the Federal Government to seek assistance from neighbouring countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroun to end insurgency in the country.

Speaking yesterday at their fourth meeting in Bauchi, they promised to float a regional security outfit in line with the 1999 Constitution and guidelines from the service chiefs.

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Borno State Governor and Chairman of NEGF, Prof. Babagana Zulum said: “I call on the Federal Government to seek support from our neighbours, especially, Niger, Chad and Cameroun with a view to providing a joint action that will assist in ending the insurgency.

“Furthermore, the Federal Government has to explore the possibility of involving mercenaries with a view to ending the crisis, because it seems there is no commitment. Therefore, if we must end the insurgency, we must be totally committed.

“We must seek external support and ensure that mercenaries are hired to end insecurity. On our part, in addition to the logical, logistics and financial support we have been rendering to the armed forces in their fight against insecurity in the sub-region, we should also look into the possibility of forming a security outfit within the ambit of constitutional precedence and professional possibility.”

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He said protection of schools was an urgent matter, adding: “Particularly, at this period, the provision of urgent security in our schools has become a compelling necessity.

“And this is in view of the current trend in which secondary school children have now become targets of choice to bandits and insurgents –particularly in the Northern parts of the country.

“In this regard, Borno State has had the most excruciating experience when Boko Haram terrorists abducted over 200 students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in 2014.”

He lamented that in spite of the best efforts by the representatives of the state, Federal Government and international communities, most of the girls have not been released, saying their condition was virtually unknown.

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Zulum also cited attacks on Dapchi in Yobe State, Kankara in Katsina State, Kagara in Niger State and Jangabe in Zamfara State, besides the physical and traumatic effects on the innocent children.

“We should, therefore, deploy appropriate strategies and explore options to provide effective and sustainable security and protection in our educational institutions, especially boarding schools.”

“If we cannot provide proper security for whatever reason, the affected boarding institutions should be converted to day schools to reduce the vulnerability,” Zulum said.

MEANWHILE, Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed said centralised security architecture was obsolete and, therefore, advocated the establishment of state police.

“The urgency of the problem demands that we must be innovative and deploy out-of-the-box security infrastructure. To allow ourselves to be confined to a dysfunctional security apparatus, while enemies ravage our lands and mortgage the future of our children, defeats Nigeria’s political leaders.

“The security situation is the greatest test of our leadership. If we must be honest, public opinion is that we have failed. That many of our compatriots have adamantly resorted to self-help. We must accept the fact that the over-centralised security arrangement is obsolete in tackling live and death scenario in our country, especially in our region,” he stated.

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