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North-East govs decry rising banditry, illegal mining



North East governors

Governors of the North-East have lamented the rising spate of banditry in the region just as it accused traditional rulers and local authorities in the six states of collaborating with the bandits to cause mayhem among innocent citizens.

The governors under the auspices of the North-East Governors’ Forum stated this in a communique issued at the end of their 8th Meeting which was held in Maiduguri, Borno State on Saturday, September 9th, 2023.

According to the communique which was signed and read by the Forum’s Chairman and Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, and obtained by our correspondent, they said the rising banditry in the region was because of the aggressive military operations against them in other parts of the country.

They specifically mentioned Bauchi, Gombe, and Taraba States as becoming a safe haven for the terrorists.

“While acknowledging the relative success recorded against insurgency, a new dimension of growing banditry is added to worsen the security situation in the subregion. As a result of the concerted efforts of the Military to flush bandits from the other parts of the country, the bandits are now moving towards the Northeast.

“The case is becoming worse in Bauchi, Gombe, and Taraba, places hitherto without banditry. The forum calls on the Federal Government to urgently intervene to address this issue.

“The forum is aware that some traditional rulers and other local authorities are conniving with the bandits, giving them shelter and cover to commit crimes within the subregion. The Forum unanimously resolved to decisively deal with any traditional ruler or community leader that is found to be harbouring or conniving with the bandits,” it stated.

It added that the proliferation of legal and illegal mining in the region is becoming a problem, noting that there is a link between mining activities and insecurity, especially the abuse of the mining leases.

The forum, therefore, calls on the respective governments to enforce compliance with the provisions of local consent as contained in Nigeria’s Mining Policy and reiterated its call for strict compliance with the provisions of the Land Use Act.

According to the them, climate change and environmental degradation which are major issues affecting the subregion are a source of great concern.

“The issue of flooding that has affected the States leading to the destruction of properties and loss of livelihoods is increasing the sufferings of the people. This has been compounded by the silting of our rivers as well as deforestation brought about by the massive charcoal business. There is a need for the Federal Government’s intervention in the area of desilting the rivers.

“Furthermore, there is the need for effective control of deforestation with stern regulation to local authorities against compromise to granting approvals for such business. The Forum has resolved to key into the Global Initiative of Carbon Credi, the Great Green Wall, and other initiatives that will mitigate the devastating impact of climate change in the sub-region,” it stated.

The PUNCH reports that those in attendance were governors of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, and Yobe; while the governors of Gombe and Taraba were represented by their deputies.