By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
An emergency meeting summoned by the Northern States Governors Forum is ongoing in Kaduna and is expected to find solutions to several challenges bedeviling the region.
Chairman of the forum, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State dropped the hint in his opening address at the meeting ongoing at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim House in Kaduna on Thursday September 12, 2019.
“Your Excellencies, this emergency meeting has been summoned to enable us address some matters of urgent importance in the survival of our region and the well-being of our people,” he said.
Speaking further, he said, “My dear colleagues, it is with gratitude to Almighty God that I welcome you to this emergency meeting of our all-important Forum holding here at the Kashim Ibrahim House, Kaduna.
“You will recall that it was in this House on 27th May 2019 that you unanimously elected me to serve as the Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum.
“I wish to once again express my profound appreciation for the confidence reposed in me and to assure you that I have accepted this great challenge with determination to give it my all to ensure that the yearnings and aspirations of our people are realized.
“Let me also use this opportunity to thank my predecessor His Excellency, Senator Kashim Shettima, the immediate past Governor of Borno State and indeed all those who worked with him and before him to ensure the continuous success of the Forum.
“You will recall that during our last meeting, we deliberated extensively on many issues, particularly the nature of the insecurity currently bedeviling our region and how to deal with the situation.
“We consequently set up a Committee under the Chairmanship of His Excellency, Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State, to inter-alia develop a comprehensive regional plan of action that could bring lasting solutions to the lingering crises.At this meeting, we shall receive briefing from this committee and also deliberate on their findings and recommendations,” Lalong stressed.
He said that another major issue they shall also deliberate on is the issue of livestock management in the country and in particular our region, which has continued to generate discourse, controversy, mis-information and even politicization.
“You are aware of the many attempts to find lasting solutions to the incessant Farmer-Harder clashes, cattle rustling and associated criminalities such as banditry, kidnapping among others.
“At this meeting, we shall deliberate on the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), which was commissioned by the National Economic Council chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and seeks to support and strengthen the development of market-driven ranches in the livestock ecosystem for improved productivity through breed improvement, pasture production, efficient land and water utilization.
“As a region that holds the comparative advantage in livestock management as an economic and socio-cultural vocation, we need to come up with a common front on how to synergize and draw from the funds available for the programme and ensure that we derive maximum benefits for our people.
“Hopefully, we shall develop strategies on how best to deal with the misinformation about the NLTF, which is sometimes confused with the Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) project.
“This is important because of the urgent need to cultivate the buy-in of all stakeholders and provide a conducive environment for nomadic herders and those who rear livestock using the private/public partnership model to key into the National Livestock Transformation Plan of the Federal Government.
“In the course of our engagements here in Kaduna, we shall commission the New Nigeria Development Company (NNDC) Shopping Mall which was awarded in 2014 with the aim of consolidating the investment portfolio of the Company and promoting its mission of advancing the commercial and industrial development of our region.
“You will recall that we set up a committee under the Chairmanship of His Excellency, the Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Badaru Abubakar to study the current structure, mission and vision of the company and come up with a road map on how best to resuscitate and re-invigorate the Company.
“We have to think out of the box especially when it comes to the economy of our region which has so much needs that are staring us in the face every day.We also have to continue our discourse on how to solve the Almajiri phenomenon which continues to be a social and security challenge that we cannot, but find solutions to.
“I therefore urge us all to engage in robust, open and frank discussions that will assist us come up with practical and effective resolutions that will move our region to the next level.
“We cannot afford to do otherwise because our people have entrusted us with their mandate and look up to us in dealing with their day to day challenges, which include poverty, illiteracy, insecurity, and economic opportunities.
“It is on this note that I welcome you to this emergency meeting as we receive some reports and deliberate on the issues outlined.”