From Sule Aliyu, Bauchi
The North-East Governors’ Forum (NEGF) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the security agencies for their efforts in combating the Boko Haram insurgency and other security challenges in the sub-region.
The commendation was contained in a communique issued at the end of the seventh meeting of the forum held in Gombe recently.
They noted the improvement in the security situation in the sub-region, which had largely been achieved through kinetic and non-kinetic measures.
The forum also noted the relative peace being experienced in the sub-region, especially the reduced incidences of farmer-herder clashes, as encouraging.
It however lamented that there was an increasing vulnerability of the sub-region to insecurity due to the mass movement of the bandits who are gradually being pushed out of the North-West by the security forces.
On the influx of the bandits, the forum observed that there is an urgent need to launch a coordinated security road map in conjunction with the security agencies and the Federal Government.
The forum further noted the link between mining activities and insecurity, especially the abuse of the mining leases and therefore resolved to ensure strict compliance with the provisions of the Land Use Act.
It again expressed concern about the parlous state of power supply in the North-East sub-region, which at present receives less than five per cent of the national allocation of grid energy while accounting for 14 per cent of the population and 30 per cent of the landmass of the country.
While noting the direct correlation between energy security and a high level of poverty and their GDP status, it called on the Federal Government to introduce innovative strategies by investing in the production of comparatively cheaper hydropower and renewable energy.
Related to this, as contained in the communiqué, signed by the forum chairman, Prof. Babagana Zulum, is the call on the Federal Government to accelerate the execution of the Mambila hydroelectricity project.
The forum noted the need to harness the vast untapped resources of the sub-region by fostering integration in commerce as well as holding trade fairs with a view to attracting foreign investments.
The forum, therefore, urged the North-East Council of Chambers of Commerce to revive the Northeast joint trade fair and commodity markets to stimulate economic activities.
The forum thanked the Federal Government for establishing the University of Health Sciences, in Azare to address the huge manpower deficit in the health sector, pledging to support the university to deliver on its mandate.
It further expressed grave concern about the devastating effect of flooding which is destroying homes and livelihoods including road infrastructures, calling on the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, direct its relevant agencies to immediately deploy all necessary interventions to ameliorate the situation in the affected areas.
The forum appreciated the government and people of Gombe State for hosting the meeting.
It resolved to hold the eighth meeting in Maiduguri, Borno State on Friday, November 25, this year.
The forum, comprising of the governors of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and the Yobe States, expressed delight at the growing strength of the cooperation, collaboration and cordial relationship between the governors of the six states of the region.
It reiterated its commitment to foster common ground and pursue a collective course for the benefit of the sub-region.