Insecurity: Northern governors support declaration of bandits as terrorists

The Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, has said the region is happy with the declaration of bandits as terrorists

He also added that the region commends the deployment of the recently acquired Super Tucano jets to fight the bandits.

Governor Lalong was speaking to State House Correspondents on Friday, after he met behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said: “In terms of security, we are already beginning to see progress on some of the issues we raised with the president, last year. You recall that we have been very eager to see the use of the Tucano helicopters so that we can have massive engagement with all the bandits.

“Part of the problem was also the status of the bandits and already you can see that the Nigerian government has declared them as a terrorist group so, the military is now going to do full engagement and we are also getting prepared in the North for such actions. That is what we are expecting.

“So, if we are going to take action, let it be massive and such that will ensure that within the first quarter of this year people will have hope of their security and peaceful living in all parts of the North.”

Mr Lalong said action needs to be taken against the bandits before the next farming season, to guarantee the safety of farmers, towards a bumper harvest.

“We are expecting this action before the next rainy season. You recall we mentioned that we are an agrarian society so, we want our people to go back to the farm and in most cases, it is this insecurity that is keeping them away from the farms,” he added.

Mr Lalong said Northern governors would continue to collaborate with traditional rulers and local vigilantes to safeguard their domains.

He also said the governors’ forum has sent a bill on redefining the role of traditional rulers in governance and would ensure the bill scales through the legislative processes.

APC crisis

Commenting on the current crisis in Nigeria’s governing party, he assured members of the APC that the storm will soon be over.

He stressed that the party will hold its convention next month and it will be successful.

ALSO READ: Troops eliminate 858 bandits, arrest 2,318 – DHQ

He said: “I agree that all the times there are meetings, especially taking final decisions on the party, I am always part of it and part of it was also why I visited the president and the president still stands committed that there must be an immediate convention.

“You know, when a convention is coming there are fears here and there. Some people will tell you it will work, it will not work. I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but the visit to the president has already assured us and you know that there is already a notice that all the governors are meeting on Sunday. By Sunday we will tell you when we are doing the convention.

“We have taken a date already. I think our first date before Christmas we said we are going to do a convention in February and we are still be working for the convention, as far as I am concerned, except things change from another angle. But as far as I am concerned, we are working for our convention in February.

“These are things that the president was raising his fears about, but we have already given him assurances that nothing will stop us from having a very peaceful election. Some parties have done their own, the PDP did their own, nothing will stop APC from doing their own.”

Mr Lalong allayed fear that litigation may mar the holding of the convention and the chances of the party.

“There are procedures for holding court processes. Many of the court processes were there when we set up the caretaker committee, but up to this moment, if you go to take a census of some of the court proceedings, you will realise that a lot of them have been resolved out of court. So, it is still the duty of the party, it is still part of the functions of the party to resolve.

“But we must not wait to resolve all court processes before you go to the convention. I don’t think so because there (is) also machinery for resolving court processes, even after the convention. I had a court process in my state, that did not stop me from going on and at the end of the day, we resolved the court process and we are still going on, preparing and waiting for the convention.

“Well, I’m not the chairman of the convention committee, but I want to assure you that we’ve called a meeting for Sunday and if there is a meeting on Sunday, and you are thinking about next Friday, just wait and see what will happen before next Friday. I don’t want to draw a conclusion now,” he said.

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