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Lack of power supply, insecurity and the handling of repentant insurgents, main issues tackled by governors’ forum

17 December 2021
Reading time: 4 minutes

Power supply, or rather the lack of it, insecurity and the handling of repentant insurgents were three of the main issues tackled at the sixth meeting of the Northeastern Governors’ Forum held on Tuesday, December 14, in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital.

The forum was established in 2020 in an effort to provide long-lasting solutions to challenges faced in the area.

RNI reporter Alhaji Sheriff Bura said the governors of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, Gombe State, Inuwa Yahaya, and Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, attended the meeting. The governors of Adamawa, Gombe, Bauchi and Taraba were represented by their deputies.

Although the meeting was behind closed doors, a five-point communiqué – signed by Zulum, the chairman of the forum – was issued at the end of the meeting.

It noted the significant improvement in the security situation in the sub-region as evidenced by the mass surrender of Boko Haram fighters and commended the Federal Government for its various initiatives towards stabilising the sub-region. However, the forum called for the establishment of a sustainable programme for the handling of repentant insurgents.

It said that kidnappings and farmer-herder clashes, among others, were “worrisome” in the sub-region and it resolved to undertake the “necessary measures to curtail the menace”.

The forum deliberated on a presentation by Minister of Power Abubakar Aliyu on planned and ongoing power projects in the northeast which highlighted the challenges of a steady power supply to the sub-region and noted with dismay the nearly one-year lack of electricity in Maiduguri and its environs.

It urged the Federal Government to urgently find a lasting solution.

The forum raised concerns over the non-commissioning of the Dadin Kowa and Kashimbila hydro-power plants which, it said, were stalling development and appealed to the Federal Government to increase its investments in the sub-region to guarantee peace and economic prosperity.

Members of the forum deliberated extensively on the Mambilla Hydroelectric project and called on the National Assembly and the Federal Government to make adequate budgetary provisions in the 2022 appropriation bill for the implementation of the project.

While recognising that the 2022 budget was in its final stages, the forum called on the National Assembly to look critically at the sub-region to ensure that adequate budgetary provisions were made for all major capital projects.

They resolved to hold the next meeting from March 9 to 11at Gombe, Gombe State.

During the meeting the Zulum said: “Developing the infrastructural capacities of the region may be futile, unless the Boko Haram insurgency and other similar forms of insecurity are completely sacked.”

Buni said: “Efforts are being put in place on plans to revive the Yobe River, which flows into Lake Chad, to revive trading and fishing activities in the area.”

Musa Modu, a resident of Damaturu, said that this was the sixth meeting of the forum and still “nothing positive has resulted from any of the previous gatherings”.

“In the previous meetings, they went to President Muhammadu Buhari forwarding the issues that is needed to be addressed. But nothing was done. Boko Haram insurgents are still killing and kidnapping people in the sub-region. Maybe this meeting will yield a positive result. If not, then the meeting was not even important,” Modu said.

Bukar Aji, another resident, said: “Several meetings but nothing on ground, I hope this time around solutions to northeast problems will be achieved.”

He was happy with the meeting, especially when the Borno State government talked about the security crisis. “That gives us hope about ending the insurgency soon. Without peace, there will be no development.”

Banditry, kidnappings, unemployment, corruption, power outages and the insecurity were the main problems faced in the region, said Aji.

About the author

Aisha Sd Jamal