Immediate past governors of Nasarawa and Kwara States, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura and Abdulfatah Ahmed yesterday lent their voices to the mitigation of the security challenges in the North Central zone.
The situation, they noted, is impacting socioeconomic activities in the zone and must be promptly addressed, so as to return the North Central to its erstwhile place as the domain of peace and tranquility.
Both leaders spoke at a meeting of the Central Planning Committee of the proposed Security Summit being organised under the auspices of the North Central Peoples’ Forum, NCPF, held in Abuja yesterday.
At the meeting, chaired by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the NCPF, and former Minister of Transport under the military administration of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, Lt. Gen. Jeremiah Timbut Useni, the former governors noted that pragmatic propositions must be articulated in the management of the security situation in the North Central.
Tanko Al Makura, who is presently senator representing Nasarawa South Senatorial Zone in the National Assembly, noted that virtually every state in the North Central, except perhaps Kwara State, was in the stranglehold of some form of insecurity or another.
According to him, “Our zone has always been known as the home of tourism, of harmony, of solid minerals, the confluence of the two major rivers in the country, the food basket of the nation.” Continuing, he said “unfortunately, various acts of lawlessness have negatively impacted peace in the zone. We cannot sit back and watch these developments without taking action.”
Former governor Abdulfatah Ahmed noted that even Kwara State which is generally regarded as a safe haven, has also experienced incidents of banditry, some of which did not make this headlines. Drawing on a Yoruba proverb, he noted that “once forewarned, a wise cripple will not be caught up in the thick of battle.”
Ahmed expressed the hope that major stakeholders in the North Central, especially the chief executives of the various states, will partner with the NCPF to deliver a Summit which will be a reference point for the future.
Former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ibrahim Mantu noted that the NCPF is totally apolitical. This he said, explains why leaders of the two major political parties, the All Progressives Congress, APC, Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP and even eminent non-partisan patriots and academics, are members of the NPCF.
Pointing in the direction of former governors Al Makura and Ahmed, he said “We can see Their Excellencies Al Makura and Ahmed seated together. They belong to different political affiliations. But they are united in our collective quest for peace and order in our zone.”
Echoing Mantu’s observation, Gen Useni noted that there were former military chiefs at the meeting, who are non-partisan, but who are in the NCPF to make their experiences available for the restoration of the North Central, to its pride of place. “Maj Gen Wahab Garuba from Kwara, Rear Admiral Christopher Ehamo from Benue, are retired Generals who have no party affiliation, but who are here to add value to what we are doing.
Also present at the meeting were Arc Gabriel Aduku, former Minister of State for Health; Secretary General of the NCPF Khaleel Bolaji; Prof Joseph Golwa; Dr Fatima Kabir-Gaya; Galadima Tatari Gbako and Secretary of the Publicity Sub-Committee of the proposed Security Summit, Hon Agbo Sule, among others.
The Security Summit which was earlier scheduled for the month of June, was at the meeting rescheduled for the second week of July.0