Northwest Governors, Niger Republic counterpart seek review of ECOWAS Article on movement of persons, arms
Governors of the Northwest and their counterpart in Niger Republic call for a review of the ECOWAS Article on movement of persons and arms to tackle the lingering security challenges in the region.
This is contained in a communique read on Tuesday by the Secretary of Katsina State Government (SSG), Alhaji Muntari Lawal at the end of a multilateral security meeting held in the state.
The meeting had in attendance, Gov. Schiabou Aboubacar of Maradi Region, as the convener, governors of Katsina, Sokoto, and also the Deputy governors of Zamfara and Kebbi.
“In the light of the bilateral arrangement on pursuit of criminals up to 30km by security agents across each other’s border between Nigeria and Niger Republic, the meeting recommends appropriate review of the ECOWAS Article on movement of persons and arms.”
“Considering the significance of the role of traditional rulers, security management, the meeting recommends periodic meeting of selected traditional rulers from the affected states to share information and exchange ideas on security management,” he said.
Lawal said the meeting noted that substantial proportion of the citizens of these states partake in animal husbandry or rearing as vacation for their livelihood.
He added that overtime however, this trade has been infiltrated by criminal elements leading to the menace of cattle rustling, armed banditry, kidnapping for ransom and proliferation of small arms, light weapons and ammunition.
The Katsina SSG said that after extensive deliberations, observations, the meeting supported the operation ‘Hadarin Daji’, being conducted by the Military, covers Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi.
“There is therefore the need for Defence Headquarters clearance to these sectors to meet and develop unified strategies to combat the common security challenges bedeviling the areas.”
“Accordingly. the meeting further recommends the need for stakeholders meeting involving all the heads of Security Agencies in Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi States and Maradi and Tahoua regions to be hosted by the Headquarters of operation Hadarin Daji and facilitated by the governors of the affected states.
“The meeting also recommends that in the the event of an express directive for a clearance operation, once it is started, it should be coordinated by land and air, and should not stop until it reaches its final point.”
“For efficient and credible intelligence information dissemination and security management inclusiveness, the affected state governments are recommended to see to the establishment of emergency call centres and community based structures.”
He added that relatedly, synergy and cooperation between contiguous local governments should also be enhanced in order to further facilitate intelligence sharing.
Lawal said the meeting want all emergency centres across the participating states and Maradi Region interconnected for broader intelligence sharing.
“The meeting also noted and frowned at the manner some media practitioners render information or news items to the general public, which invariably portray bandits and other criminals as heroes,” he said.
He said that consequently, the meeting recommends that the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) should appraise the situation and reverse the trend, for the good of the people and the Nation.
“The meeting noted the overwhelming challenges being faced by security agencies and strongly appealed to the Nigerian and National Government of Niger Republic to deploy more resources to the security agencies manning this affected corridor.”
“In order to ensure sustained and simultaneous operations across the states, there is the need to provide adequate and sustained logistics like petrol, oil, labour, spare parts and rations;”
“The meeting noted the rampant use of high powered motorcycle such as Boxer’ by the bandits and strongly recommends the need to ban the importation of such motorcycle for a period of 24 months.”
“The meeting further noted the negative perception of some people on military operations of this nature, and recommends the need to educate the general public on the inevitability of collateral damage.”
“The need is also recommended for continuous improvement of synergy between the Customs and Immigrations establishments of the affected four states and Maradi Region,” he said.
The SSG further said there is the need to enhance collaborative efforts between both countries, Nigeria and Niger Republic to reduce arms and drug trafficking to the barest minimum.
He explained that for an all inclusive effect, there is the need to include Kaduna and Niger States in any planned operation, since they share common forest with the affected states.
“The meeting unanimously resolved on the need for it to be held on rotational basis quarterly, and the next meeting agreed to hold in Zamfara State.”
“Operational Secretariat of the meeting has been resolved to be temporarily domiciled at Katsina, Katsina State for the purposes of implementation, monitoring and evaluation of decisions/resolutions.”
“The meeting then stressed the need for continued prayers by all and sundry for the Almighty Creator’s intercession to bring final succor to our people and the Nations of Niger and Nigeria,” he said. (NAN)