Buhari had on Tuesday approved the immediate resignation of the then Service Chiefs, and their retirement from service.
The Northern Governors’ Forum has hailed President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to replace the country’s Service Chiefs.
Those involved were the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
The President announced the appointment replacement in the persons of Major-General Leo Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff; Major-General I. Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral A.Z Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff; and Air-Vice Marshal I.O Amao, Chief of Air Staff.
Fielding questions from newsmen after meeting President Buhari in the State House, Friday, Chairman of the Forum, Simon Lalong, who is the Governor of Plateau State, said the step taken by the President was a right step towards addressing the menace of insecurity in the country.
“I came into the Presidential Villa in two respects; on behalf of the Northern Governors’ Forum and also as State Governor from Plateau State. I extended our felicitations to the President on a new year and also congratulated and commended him for the steps he is taking in addressing insecurity in the country especially in Northern Nigeria.
“The change of Service Chiefs is very commendable and also to remind him about some of the things left behind by their predecessors so that we can hasten and conclude them so as to make people safe.
“We had serious cases of banditry, kidnapping and so many issues of insecurity in the country, we will not expect that to continue. So, we are going to give maximum cooperation to the new Service Chiefs, while also commending the outgone ones for their roles in addressing issues of insecurity.”
The forum Chairman said he used the occasion of his visit to thank President Buhari for the intervention in the financial constraints besetting the Northern Nigeria Development Company (NNDC) by settling the outstanding retirement benefits of workers of New Nigeria Newspapers.
“For the Northern Governors, we had a protracted problem in NNDC especially about the New Nigeria Staff, who were laid off or retired, about their gratuity and pension.
“The President intervened and that has taken a whole lot of weight from us as we address the issue of reviving the NNDC,” he said.
Governor Lalong said the Northern Governors are also happy with the President’s inauguration of a steering committee on the alternate education programme, which will help address the problem of out of school children.
The governors resolved to give Buhari the maximum support as he rolls out measures to address the lingering challenges of youth unemployment, banditry and Boko Haram insurgency.
Northern States Governors Forum yesterday, alleged that some anti-democracy forces wanted to hijack #EndSARS protest to overthrow President Muhammadu Buhari.
The forum, under the chairmanship of Plateau Governor, Simon Lalong, which met with relevant stakeholders, commended President Buhari and his cabinet for the quick intervention in meeting the demands of the protesters.
He said that deft move checkmated forces that wanted to hide under the #EndSARs protest to destabilise the country.
This was contained in a communique read at the end of the meeting by Lalong.
It read: “The meeting rejects and condemns the subversive actions of the #EndSARS protest. The superlative agitations and other change-regime actions outside the ballot box soon take advantage of the peaceful protest to push for their separative agenda. The meeting endorse the indivisibility, indissolubility and oneness of the nation.
“It commends the roles of his eminence, royal highnesses and other royal fathers in ensuring the #EndSARS protests did not escalate significantly in the North by adopting sentimental issues such as ethnicity and religion. The Forum resolved to continuously engage with their royal highnesses in addressing this challenge.
“Forum appreciate Mr. President and his cabinet for the quick intervention in meeting the demands of the #EndSARS protesters and resolved to give him the maximum support as he rolls out measures to address the lingering challenges of youth unemployment, banditry and Boko Haram insurgency in the country.
“Meeting noted and appreciated the far-reaching efforts of Northern States Governors’ Forum in taking proactive measures to address the #EndSARS protests in the country and the North in particular. Equally, Forum notes with satisfaction the actions taken by the governors to revive the economic fortunes of the region particularly during the post-COVID-19 period.”
The meeting was attended by the Senate president, deputy speaker and other members of the National Assembly, the chief of staff to the president, ministers of Federal Capital Territory, Information and Culture, the Inspector General of Police, principal officers of the National Assembly and chairmen of the Northern States Traditional Rulers Council, led by the Sultan of Sokoto.
The governors appreciated the roles of traditional rulers in containing the menace of #EndSARS protests in the North and collectively agreed that traditional rulers be given formal roles in the governance architecture of the country.
‘The Forum appreciates the role of religious leaders, such as the Ulamas, JNI and Christian Association of Nigeria for their positive interventions in resolving the #EndSARS conflicts.
“Calls for collective effort in addressing the lingering challenges of the North like Almajiri system, insecurity, illiteracy and poverty.
“It appreciates the roles of National Assembly in engaging the youths and other critical stakeholders in resolving the conflicts.
“The Forum also appreciate the roles of the youths for their response to the #EndSARS, in curtailing the spread of hooliganism, thuggery and other separatist tendencies.
“Forum appreciates the major reforms going on in the Police Force and pledges to support Mr. President on this course.
“The meeting resolves to support the Nigerian Police Force to serve the country better and calls for the strengthening of trust between the people and the police.
“The meeting expressed concern over the low level involvement of relevant of stakeholders in the implementation programmes of government and calls on the relevant agencies to review implementation strategies to make for maximum impact and benefits.
“Condemned attacks on persons and properties, especially persons living in other parts of the country. Also condemned attacks and burning of places of worship in some parts of the country in the name of #EndSARS protests.
“The meeting took note of the devastating effect of the uncontrolled social media in spreading fake news and calls for major control mechanism and censorship of the social media practice in Nigeria.
“Meeting raises attention on the need to keep strict watch on the Federal Capital Territory to guide against unwarranted and destructive protests to safeguard critical assets of the nation.”
Reading the communiqué, on Monday, Chairman of the Northern States Governors Forum, and Plateau State Governor, Simon Bako Lalong, said the meeting was in view of recent security challenges, which enveloped the country.
The Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) including traditional rulers stakeholders have called for the regulation of social media in Nigeria.
In a communiqué issued in Kaduna on Monday at the end of their meeting with traditional rulers and other Political office holders from the region, the forum said the new media would have to be regulated in order to halt the dangers of spreading fake news.
“The meeting took note of the devastating effect of the uncontrolled social media in spreading fake news.
“Therefore, calls for major control mechanisms and censorship of social media practice in Nigeria,” parts of the communiqué read.
The meeting was attended by His Excellency, the Senate President, of the Federal Republic, the Honourable Deputy Speaker and other members of the National Assembly, the Chief of Staff to the President, the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, the Minister of Information and Culture, the Inspector General of Police, Principal Officers of the National Assembly, Chairmen of the Northern States Traditional Rulers Council led by His Eminence the Sultan of Sokoto amongst others.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday met with members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) Security Council and others over the security challenges in the country.
The meeting ended with calls for a joint strategy to bring various conflicts to an end within time limits.
It also agreed that field commanders should take measures to protect civilian communities, as a confidence-building mechanism between the military and those communities.
According to a statement by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, it is hoped that when the trust that has been lost between both parties is re-established, there will be improved cooperation in intelligence-gathering and sharing.
The meeting also agreed that poverty and youth unemployment are at the root of the security challenges in the country, and need to be addressed with greater vigour by all tiers of government.
It also focused on Nigeria’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.
Security, Intelligence Chiefs Queried President Buhari presided over the three-hour meeting attended by the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, as well as the heads of defence, security, and intelligence agencies.
Members of the Security Committee of the NGF, represented by a governor from each of the six geo-political zones, joined the meeting virtually.
In his remarks, the President used the opportunity to dismiss the assumptions that the terrorists in the North East had far more weapons and money than the government.
He stressed that what was left of them were “mere scavengers desperate for food, raiding shops and markets, and killing innocent persons in the process.”
President Buhari was also worried that in spite of the fact that borders with neighbouring countries had been shut, bandits and terrorists continued to have access to small weapons.
“These terrorists are in the localities. How is it that they are not short of small arms?” he was quoted as querying the security and intelligence chiefs.
The President stated, “We have said enough on the need for them to rejig their operations. I am glad that there are better synergy and cooperation which are very important.
“I have directed the service chiefs to meet among themselves in-between the National Security Council meetings. The services have resources; yes, they need more, and mobility, and are doing their best, but there is a need for better gathering and interpretation of intelligence. Our intelligence-gathering must be improved.”
He also informed the governors of the imminent shipment of military weapons and aircraft from Jordan, China, and the United States.
Bailout For Security President Buhari, however, called for patience on the part of the people, saying it was important that trained fighters and pilots who must first receive appropriate training man the new weapons and aircraft.
He commended the level of support from neighbouring countries in the war against terrorism in the troubled North East.
“They are cooperating with us. On Boko Haram, we are making progress with Benin, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon,” he said while restating that intelligence-gathering must improve to be able to track small arms in the Northwest, North Central and Northeast States.
The President was also satisfied with the level of naval activity in the Gulf of Guinea, using newly-acquired equipment.
But he demanded that hard-to-reach areas of Lake Chad, where Boko Haram terrorists have found new havens, as well as the forests now inhabited by bandits, must be accessed and rid of nefarious elements.
“The Chief of Defence Staff has spoken about their study of the forests and their potential danger to security.
“We must make sure we follow the bandits and terrorists, but there must not be deforestation in view of the climate situation,” President Buhari said.
In their submissions anchored by the NGF Chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, and Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State, the governors highlighted the problems of poverty, unemployment, trust deficit between the military and civilian populations, and the inflow of small arms into the country.
They also noted the problem of coordination among military and security chiefs and played up their own security roles which included the $1 billion they allowed the President to withdraw from the Excess Crude Account for weapons procurement two years ago.
The governors, therefore, urged the President to consider a “bailout” for security for the states in view of the enormity of the resources they now expend in support of the military and the police.
President Muhammadu Buhari is again meeting with members of the Nigeria Governors Forum Security Council and Service Chiefs at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The meeting which is taking place at the Council Chambers has in attendance, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha, the National Security Adviser (NSA) Major General Babagana Monguno (retd), the Chief of Staff to the President Prof Ibrahim Gambari and Heads of other security agencies.
Some of the governors joined virtually, they are Chairman of the NGF security council and Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, Governor of Bayelsa State Senator Douye Diri, Governor of Borno State Babagana Zulum, Governor of Ebonyi State David Umahi, and Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Others are Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai is represented, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, and the Director-General, Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi.
Also in attendance were the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufa’i, Chief of Defence Military Intelligence, Air Vice Marshall, Muhammed Salihu Usman, the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, and the Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammad Dingyadi.
The Northern Governors Forum has condoled with a prominent Islamic Scholar and leader of the Tijjaniyya Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, over the death of his wife, Aishatu Dahiru Usman Bauchi.
Chairman of the forum and Governor of Plateau, Simon Lalong, made the condolence in a message on Monday in Jos.
The condolence message was issued by Dr Makut Macham, the Director of Press and Public Relations to Gov. Lalong.
Lalong described the death of Sheikh Bauchi’s wife as a huge loss, not only to the family but to many who depended on her love and goodwill, saying the death had created a vacuum which would be difficult to fill.
He said the Northern Governors grieved with his family and the entire Tijjaniya Movement.
The governor said her legacies would continuously be cherished and her memory honoured.
Lalong urged the revered Islamic Scholar and members of his family to accept the sad development as the will of Allah, trusting that Allah will comfort them and give the family the fortitude to bear the loss.
The governors of the 36 states of the federation are currently meeting on the platform of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) in Abuja over deductions for Budget Support Facility loan granted them by the Federal Government.
The meeting is presided over by the Chairman and governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi.
Federal Government had in September, begun deduction of the N614 billion bailout funds it gave to states for payment of salaries of workers in 2016.
In October, the governors kicked against the plan to extend the repayment period of its budget support to state governments from 20 to 30 years.
The Federal Government had explained that the monthly repayment had reduced from N252 million to N162 million based on the extension.
The forum will review the agenda of the National Executive Council meeting scheduled to hold on Thursday at the Aso Rock Villa.
It would also deliberate on the immediate actions required by the governors on Seattle Declaration on polio eradication.
The Conference of Speakers of State Houses of Assembly would also brief the governors.
The governors will also receive briefing from the Deputy High Commissioner of United Kingdom, Harriet Thompson, on the country’s investment forum, among other items listed for discussion.