overnors of the 19 Northern States of the federation have lauded the Federal Government for approving the deployment of the newly acquired Super Tucano fighter jets to rout the bandits in some parts of the country.
Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau, who is also the Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, made the commendation when he addressed State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday in Abuja.
He expressed the happiness of the Northern states over the recent declaration of bandits as terrorists by the government.
He said: “Well, 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.”
The governor stressed the need for drastic measures against the bandits and other criminals, saying such actions had become imperative in order to ensure conducive environment for farmers to boost food production across the states.
“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 farm and in most cases it is this insecurity that is keeping them away from the farms,” he added.
He reiterated that the governors would continue to collaborate with traditional rulers and local vigilantes to safeguard their domains.
On the purported crisis facing the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Lalong assured members of the APC that the storm would soon be over.
He announced that the party would hold its convention next month and expressed optimism that the exercise would be successful.
He said: “I agree that all the times there are meetings, especially taking final decisions on the party. I’m 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’re doing the convention.
“We’ve taken a date already. I think our first date before Christmas we said we’re going to do a convention in February and we are still working for the convention, as far as I’m concerned, except things change from another angle. But as far as I’m concerned, we’re working for our convention in February.
“These are things that the President was raising his fears about, but we’ve 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.”
On the impending litigation that might mar the holding of the proposed convention and chances of the party, Lalong dismissed such fears.
“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’s still the duty of the party, it’s 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 are also machineries for resolving court processes, even after 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’re 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’re thinking about next Friday.
“Just wait and see what will happen before next Friday. I don’t want to draw a conclusion now,” he added.