Following the recent Boko Haram attack on the convoy of Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, the six governors in the North East states have attributed lack of access to farmlands as the main reason the insurgents are able to recruit more followers easily.
The governors made the disclosure after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and heads of security agencies at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday.
They said the people need their farmlands, want to be resettled and go back to their normal lives, calling on the President to address the causes of insurgency in the region.
Briefing State House correspondents on behalf of the governors’, Zulum revealed that stemming from the meeting of the governors in Maiduguri, they resolved to come and brief the president on the lingering insecurity in the zone and to explore ways to end it.
He said: “Arising from the North East governors’ forum meeting held in Maiduguri on Saturday, we met the president with a view to highlighting the key challenges in the region, especially issues of security, decaying infrastructure especially rock projects, cases of oil exploration in the region, issues of enhancing river basin development in the region among others. That is the main reason why we met Mr President.”
He added: “The government of the region have commended the efforts of the federal government in securing the region.
“However, we told Mr President that there is a need for the federal government to address the causes of the insurgency, which are not limited to the endemic poverty, hunger among others.
“One of the root causes is that of access to farmlands, people need to go back to their farmlands, people need to be resettled in their original homes so that they can restart their means of livelihood.
“This is one of the reasons the insurgents are recruiting more into the sect and therefore creating enabling environment will enable the people to go about their normal duties and this will no doubt reduce the cases of insurgency.
“We also recommended that police should be empowered, to be provided with a certain state of the art equipment, armoured personnel carrier and so on with a view to bridging the manpower gap that we are having in the Nigerian military.”
On his recent altercation with the military, which had suggested that he was ungrateful as well as his suspicion that there is a deliberate attempt to prolong the insurgency, the Borno Governor called for cooperation among all tiers of government to end the crisis.
He added: “We have had series of consultations after the attack and I think security is not only about the federal government.
“There is a need for the federal, states and the local government to come together with a view to finding solutions that will end this crisis in the region.
“But most importantly, there is a war on economy in the region and I think that is why we are here.
“So. I think the federal government is taking a bold step with a view to ensuring the speedy resolution of some of the grey areas that we have in the region.”
The governors who were at the meeting also attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo include Zulum (Borno); Mai Bala Buni (Yobe); Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa); Bala Mohammed (Bauchi); Mohammed Yahaya (Gombe), and Darius Ishaku (Taraba).