Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai has requested that the Federal Government should hand them over for better and closer management, saying that these forests constitute sources of perils to ordinary people, the states and the country, going by recent bitter experience, we will not be forgiven if we allow the emergence of new Sambissas in these vast spaces which provide safe refuge for outlaws. Robberies, kidnappings and cattle rustling are headquartered in these ungoverned forest ranges.
He expressed this in Kaduna on Thursday, during the Northern States Governors Forum meeting with traditional rulers from the region.
Malam el-Rufai added that there were too many places where outlaws and non-state actors of all sorts have stepped into the ungoverned spaces like these forests.
He urged northern governors to explore collaborations, common approaches and best practices to rid the region of insecurity and other challenges bedeviling Northern Nigeria.
According to him, “We will not be forgiven if we allow the emergence of new Sambissas in these vast spaces which provide safe refuge for outlaws, robberies and kidnappings hence, we should device means to stop that.”
el-Rufai added that, the incessant attacks, communal clashes, cattle rustling, kidnapping, rural banditry among other challenges need to be tackled so as to unleash the economic potentials of the region.
He stressed that the challenges before the Northern region are immense and insecurity remains a challenge across their states.
According to him, the festering sores left by previous conflicts in which proper closure, accountability for crimes and reconciliation were not affected appear to be accelerating a descent into impunity and a situation in which many elites are too short-sighted to recognize the dangers of embroiling our communities in repeated cycles of violence.
“The message needs to go out to our communities that peace requires a determination to have peace, sustain peace and protect it. There is no humane alternative to choosing to resolve all differences by exclusively
peaceful and legal means. Our region is the most diverse area in our vast country. It cannot afford the ghastly luxury of transforming differences in religion, language and culture into sources of conflict, death and destruction.
“We need to challenge our elite to stop the commoditization of difference and unite our peoples for development and prosperity. For such efforts to be credible and sustainable, the state must vigorously reclaim its prerogatives as the guarantor of security. Robust actions in the security sector must be undertaken quickly to implant a visible, reassuring and effective presence of the protective hand of the state across our region” he noted.
The chairman Northern States Governors Forum, Alhaji Kashim Shettima in his message, said that unless northern leaders are ready to cast aside all sentiment-laden approaches in tackling the conflict between the farmers and herdsmen as well as other challeges facing the Northern region, it is capable of consuming the social fabric of the North and even result to the unwarrant destruction of the entire country.
According to him, the future prosperity of the North and Nigeria as a whole rests squarely on agriculture and human resources which encompasses the practice of both crops and animals husbandry with a robust energy between the farmer and the herdsmen, hence the need for the two groups to live in peace.
He recalled that recently the acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo warned that the days were fast approaching in which zero revenue will be generated from crude oil due to large advancement of technology.
The chairman who was represented by the Governor of Karsina State, Alhaji Bello Masari stressed the need for political leaders and traditional rulers to embark on serious search for a viable, and sustainable solution to resolve the issues facing the North and the country at large.