By Luka Binniyat & Suzan Edeh,VANGUARD.December 7,2012
Bauchi — Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, yesterday, blamed the governors in the North and the Federal Government for the Boko Haram insurgency in the northern part of the country.
Speaking at the North-East Alliance For Transformation Summit in Yankari, Bauchi State, Governor Shettima said the failure of the northern governors to provide good governance to the teeming populace who gave them their mandates, has worsened the insecurity situation.
L-r: Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa of Kaduna State with chairman, Northern Governors Forum, Dr Babangida Aliyu of Niger State and Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State at one of their meetings in Kaduna
He equally accused the Federal Government of neglecting the zone by abandoning ongoing projects worth billions of Naira in the zone. Shettima said poverty confronting the North East zone was responsible for the emergence of the terrorist groups who held the zone and the country hostage.
He said: “The Federal Government and the governors of the North are to blame for the insurgence of Boko Haram in the North-East of the country because the region has been marginalised.
The federal allocation to the North-East is very small compared to other regions in the country and this has given rise to high rate of unemployment, insecurity, educational backwardness and political thuggery in the region.
Hold FG responsible
“The Federal Government is to be held responsible for the current insecurity, and crisis in the country because they have not displayed sincerity in resolving the lingering issue at hand.
“The northern governors on their part have not been forthcoming in articulating issues that concern them and presenting them at the Governors’ Forum meeting. There is lack of unity among northern leaders; they don’t speak with one voice and they just do whatever they like”.
He said security was everybody’s business and should not be left to the state alone urging the Federal Government and other well-meaning Nigerians to urgently partner with the state in its quest to stem the activities of Boko Haram.
Also speaking, Governor Isa Yuguda ofBauchiStatesaid the zone was backward in all ramifications, owing to the insecurity bedeviling the zone, expressing optimism that the summit would be geared towards addressing the security challenges and other problems of the zone.
According to him: “The zone is blessed with both human and natural resources that have not been explored”. He called on foreign and local investors to come and invest in order to develop the region as well as to meaningfully engage the youths and women.
Yuguda then charged all the governors and other prominent Nigerians to unite in search of lasting and permanent peace in the region, stressing that recommendations of the summit will be implemented.
It will take 20 years to revive the North – Abdulsalami
Meanwhile, former Head of State, General Abubakar Abdulsalami (rtd)has bemoaned the current socio-economic situation of the North, saying it would take about 20 years of consistent effort to revive the region.
He also encouraged all residents of the north to help in the security situation by being vigilant and reporting suspicious persons and objects to the right authorities.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after chairing a session on, “security, politics and economy of the North,” on the second day of the Arewa House Conference on “The North and Strategies for Sustainable Development,” Abdulsalami said the essence of the conference was to seek unity among the people of the North.
Asked to compare today’s unity ofNorthern Nigeriaand that of the past, he said: “Certainly if there is unity we wouldn’t be here at this conference: So since there is no unity, that is why the Arewa House is trying to galvanize it at this conference.
“It will take 20 years to revive the North. A lot of socio-economic damages have been done. If you go round the affected areas that is when you will appreciate the extent of damages done to the region. We have to work together to revive it.
“All of us should join hands. We cannot leave security to the government alone. Every Nigerian is a security officer; let’s try to join hands and report what we see, so that the government will be able to take action. We should be government’s watch dogs and also watch our communities.”
Also, former Secretary of INEC, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed spoke, saying: “The next two years will test the resilience of theNigerianState; and the capacity of Northerners to bounce back.
Right now, the Boko Haram insurgency is eating it up like a cancer, and it will require bold initiatives by Northerners to find a solution, by influencing both the insurgency and the Government.
Not all Nigerians are comfortable with a united and strong North. Its current position therefore is welcome to its detractors and rivals. They will not lift a finger to heal its wound. This will have to be done by people in this hall who feel the pain most.”
North no longer safe — Akume
Senator George Akume who chaired another session on, “Values and Leadership,” said that it was sad that North was no longer safe for both its people and visitors.
“If there is no peace, development hardly takes place, no matter the determinations of the actors. The theme of this conference bears direct relevance to what is happening in the North. The topic for today is values and leadership. I do not intend to go into conceptual definition of values and leadership.
In every society, there are norms and values, these are highly respected, for sanctity of human life, and where this is not respected, there is no way you can have peace. This is a very big challenge, particularly in the North.”