By Armstrong Tseaa
Middle Belt Governors has called on the Federal Government to establish Military Camps or Training Grounds in Forest’ zones to block movement of the hoodlums into the region as a panacea to worsening security challenges in the country.
The governors made the call in a communique reached at the end of the Middle Belt Governors Forum held on Monday, at The Peoples (Government) House, Makurdi, the Benue State capital.
‘The Military Units should be Infantry with adequate support weapons with elements of Armoured Unit (Track Armour Vehicles/APC) as a necessity’, the communiqué stated.
A communiqué signed by the Chairman of the Forum, His Excellency Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State urged member states in the zone to individually and jointly appeal to the Federal Government to support the Zone in its ongoing Digital Technology project(s) and other security preventive measures so as to fight all forms of criminality.
‘ Member States must also collaborate in the provision of security equipment and joint operations’.
” We must also resuscitate Peace and Security Committees at Local Government levels to enhance quick decision on insecurity, crime prevention and detection’, the communiqué further stated.
The Forum called on the Nigeria Police Force to synergize with the State Governments in the recruitment and training of Community Police for the provision of adequate security at grassroots level.
They also stressed the need to restore involvement of Traditional and Community Leaders in intelligence gathering and sharing in order to assist Security Agencies in fighting the insecurity in the zone.
“The need to create Multi-layer intelligence gathering cannot be overemphasized’, they added.
The governors agreed to partner with Federal Government agencies, such as Immigration and Customs Services to track the proliferation of light and small weapons.
They also called on States to enact unified laws to deal with Almajiri phenomenon.
The Forum appreciated the effort of Security Agencies in tackling the issues of insecurity in the zone and urged them not to relent.
To boost agriculture in the region, States of the zone are encouraged to request the services of Agro-Rangers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps to provide security to farmers/farming activities.
“States of the zone to look into modern way(s) of livestock farming through the promotion of Ranching and assistance to genuine livestock farmers”, the communiqué read in part.
“The zone to key into the Federal Government Livestock Transformation Plan, allowing States to drive the process.
“Individual member States to develop Fishery production programme and approach Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for funding in order to create employment.
“Member States to take advantage of National Agricultural Land Development Authority [(NALDA) to encourage farming activities.
“Member States to deepen the production of high economic valued crops such as Soya Beans, Sesame, Maize, Rice and Cashew, Ginger, among others and establish Livestock and Commodity Border Markets.
According to the statement made available to journalists, the forum also called on states in the zone to concentrate on infrastructural development such as roads and liaise with the Federal Government on the need to rehabilitate Federal Roads and allow State Governments to manage using the tolling system.
The governors also urged member States to individually and collectively enact enabling laws to enhance revenue generation as a response to the dwindling FAAC allocation.
The Forum also expressed concern on the upsurge of Covid19 pandemic in the country and urged member States to intensify risk communication and sensitization on the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic and the need for people to adhere strictly to established Protocols which includes regular hand-washing with soap under running water, use of face-mask and maintaining physical and social distancing among others.
In attendance was the host, Governor Samuel Ortom, Governors of Kwara, AbdulRahman AbdulRazag, Niger, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, and Kogi, Alhaji Yahaya Bello respectively while their colleagues from Nasarawa and Plateau States were represented by the Deputy Governor and SSG, Emmanuel Akabe and Professor Danladi Atu among other government officials.