Governors of the 36 states of Nigeria have collectively put a request to President Muhammadu Buhari for financial bail out to offset the money they have spent on security matters in their states.
The governors, who spoke today, August 11, through their Chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, as well as the Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum, played up their own security roles which included USD1 billion they allowed the President to withdraw from the Excess Crude Account for weapons procurement two years ago.
The Governors, who were hosted to a virtual meeting today, along with security chiefs in the country by President Buhari emphasized the need for the President to consider a “bail out” for security for the States in view of the enormity of the resources they now expend in support of the military and the police.
They highlighted the problems of poverty, unemployment, trust deficit between the military and civilian populations and the inflow of small arms into the country.
The Governors also pointed to the problem of coordination among military and security chiefs and suggested proper synergy.
President Buhari and governors resolved to adopt a joint strategy to bring various conflicts to an end within time limits, even as field commanders were enjoined to take measures to protect civilian communities as a confidence-building mechanism between the military and the communities.
They believed that when the trust that has been lost between both parties is re-established, there would be improved cooperation in intelligence-gathering and sharing.
The president and governors also agreed that poverty and youth unemployment are at the root of the nationwide security challenges, and needed to be addressed with greater vigour by all tiers of government.
The three-hour meeting coordinated by President Buhari, and attended by the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, heads of defence, security and intelligence agencies, and members of the Security Committee of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum represented by one governor from each of the six geo-political zones, focused on the country’s security policies and approaches in tackling the internal security challenges with a charge that intelligence-gathering and sharing must be optimised for the nation to secure itself.
The President used the opportunity to dispel commonly held assumptions that the terrorists in the Northeast had far more weapons and money than the government.
He stressed that what is left of them are “mere scavengers desperate for food, raiding shops and markets, and killing innocent persons in the process.”