Six governors from northeastern Nigeria have resolved to set up a joint task force to check the abduction of schoolchildren that has become more rampant.
The governors’ decision was made public on Thursday in Bauchi, at the end of the 4th meeting of the forum of North-East Governors.
Governors Babagana Zulum of Borno Chairman of the forum; Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa, Vice Chairman; Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe, host; and Bala Mohammed of Bauchi states were in attendance. The deputy governors of Yobe and Taraba states represented their governors.
A communique issued at the end of the meeting states that “the governors have resolved to set up a Joint Task Force to ensure the protection of schools in the region in view of the disturbing problem of school abductions.”
“While appreciating the reinforced efforts in the fight against insecurity, the governors however supported the idea of community policing to complement the efforts of security agencies towards addressing security challenges,” it also reads.
Governor Fintiri, who presented the communique, said the governors understood the need to be aggressive in repositioning education in the sub-region and had therefore agreed to establish a Council on Education with the mandate to improve quality and performance, as well as set up a peer review mechanism.
The six governors also raised concerns on what they described as being shortchanged in capital appropriation in the 2021 Budget, considering the precarious situation of the region, which requires aggressive infrastructure intervention to defeat the insurgency and build the resilience of the affected communities.
The forum however commended the selection of some roads in the sub-region to benefit from the Presidential Executive Order 07 but was quick to advise that the governments’ in the sub-region should be consulted.
Governor Fintiri also disclosed that the Bauchi Forum, which had discussions with the British High Commissioner to Nigeria and the Great Green Wall, resolved to work with the UK Government on beneficial areas without compromising the sovereignty of the Nigerian government.
He appealed to the Great Green Wall to develop a framework for regional and state partnership for maximum impact.
While reiterating their support for the North-East Development Commission, the governors urged the agency to fast-track the process of developing a master plan for its activities and cooperate with states in closing the needs gap.
They also considered the prospects of oil exploration in the region and resolved to have specialised institutions to provide the required local content.
They commended Bauchi and Gombe states for taking the lead in establishing oil and gas academy for human capital development.
The six governors however expressed disappointment with the slow pace of work on the Mambilla hydroelectric power project, which according to the forum only exists on paper, but not in reality.
The forum, therefore, urged the Nigerian government to show the desired seriousness in view of its anticipated impact in turning around the fortunes of the sub-region and the country at large.