Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi on Monday said that the sponsors of insurgency in the Northeast geo-political zone are also behind banditry in the Northwest and kidnapping in the Southwest.
The Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) spoke with reporters in Abuja on National security, shortly after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Villa.
He also disclosed that the President would soon approach the National Assembly for more funding for arms for the Armed forces to successfully combat insecurity.
He however, said military operations should be combined with an investigation into the causes of insecurity, political will by the leadership and concrete action in tackling the crisis.
Fayemi said the Armed Forces should also unite in their bid to successfully fight the war.
He said poverty, inequality, social disconnection between leadership and the youth, which had rendered the youth available to derailing tendencies, should also be addressed.
While commending President Buhari for effective changes in the nation’s security architecture, he clarified that the step would not automatically bring answers to the security questions, until other required factors are combined with the military solution.
He said: “Two or three days ago, all the service chiefs came together to issue a statement that we are accountable to our Chief of Defence Staff, that’s a very significant position to take because we know what has been the source of inter service rivalry in our military, which then tends to affect performance on the field, where the air force does not communicate with the army and yet they’re supposed to be involved in the same war against insurgency.
The President has already informed the National Assembly that they will be receiving a special request from him on procurement of equipment on an accelerated basis for our security services, because that was one of the issues that we put before him and he was very categorical that yes, we have a point.
“Some of the equipment that had been procured are on the way, they haven’t arrived, but they will soon arrive. There is also a need to buy more equipment and he is going into government-to-government partnership with a number of countries and that would necessitate an accelerated clearance from the National Assembly.
Fayemi added: “ I also don’t think we’re naive enough to think that it’s simply a military action that will resolve all these security challenges. They have root causes and the root causes require political will, political action on our part against poverty, against inequality, against the disconnections between our youth and the government because these are some of the things that have pushed younger people into harm’s way and into becoming cannon fodder for those who don’t have the interest of our country at heart and I ready to destroy the country.
“There is a direct correlation between insurgency in the Northeast and what we’re seeing manifesting itself as banditry in the Northwest, or kidnapping in the Southwest. Some of the people involved in these are also the ones responsible for insurgency.
“They are using the resources that they make from kidnapping for the activities that they’re conducting in the Northeast. So we need to take a comprehensive look at all these things and not treat them in compartments. We must treat them as a comprehensive issue and then tackle them collectively”.
Fayemi said efforts were being made to resolve the farmers/herders crisis.
“That’s why majority of our states are very focused on the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) that would at least confine those who want to graze their cattle to a dedicated space rather than roaming around and destroying crops, which then result in the kind of conflicts that we’ve had between farmers and herders.
“We have a regular meeting between farmers and herders in the state to define the relationship and promote harmony between both sides, the representatives of the farmers, the ALFAN and the representatives of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, and that has been going reasonably well.
“ If we don’t take concerted steps to address this, we are definitely going to end up with food shortage in the country”.
On the controversy over the legislative/judicial autonomy, he said the governors have no case against the principle, adding that they are particularly concerned about getting the framework for the process right.
Fayemi stressed: “Governors agree, and indeed, very supportive of autonomy to the legislature and the judiciary, but what we were working out is the framework.
“What we objected to at the time and we made it clear to you too, which was what led to the intervention of Mr. President, that the Chief of Staff should coordinate an exit from that logjam, was that we felt that these were issues that were constitutional in nature and we really did not need an executive order for us to achieve the collective wish of the President, as well as the government.
“In a matter of one or two weeks, we’ll come out with the full entire gamut of the agreement that we had with the speakers and the representatives of the judiciary in states”, he said.