Saturday, 1 March 2014
Northern Governors Jittery, To Inaugurate Reconciliation And Healing Committee
A prominent Northern politician who is close to some of the zone’s governors has told SaharaReporters that the conference of Northern governors is determined to act in order to stem the monster of sectarian violence ravaging the northern part of Nigeria.
“The governors are jittery and panicking over the lingering violence spreading in the North,” said the source. He added that the 19 governors were now determined to act decisively to end or drastically reduce the waves of Boko Haram insurgency and ethno-religious violence sweeping the region.”
According to the source, the governors have realized that it is impossible to achieve any meaningful development if they continue to spend billions of naira on seemingly intractable security crises.
The source quoted one governor as stating that “The North is heading to the brink where serious financial crises will ultimately bring governance to a complete halt.” Our source added that only Kano and Kaduna states are financially solid enough to partially pay the salaries of public workers without strain, but the rest of the Northern states are too deep in financial distress to meet minimal obligations of governance.
“We have serious problems owing to violence,” said the source. According to him, most companies in the North-East have closed or are closing. He added that the dismal economic picture was taking shape in Kano, Plateau, and Sokoto. “And now Kogi [State] has been added to the fold,” he said.
Our source disclosed that the region’s governors, under the auspices of Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF), plans later this month to inaugurate a 30-person committee on Reconciliation, Healing And Security.
SaharaReporters learnt that some well known public figures have been slated for membership in the committee. Its members may include former Chief of General Staff, Gen. Martin Luther Agwai, Mr. Abubakar Tsav, Justice Umaru Abdullahi, Mr. Ibrahim Sulu Gambari, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, and Ambassador Zakari Ibrahim. In addition, other members of the Northern political elite, clergy and conflict resolution experts are being recruited to serve on the committee.
Northern governors have been criticized for taking no initiative to tackle the rising spate of religious violence. But in a recent statement, they denied the charge of apathy and nonchalance. “The Northern Governors’ Forum has left no one in doubt about its concern for the general welfare of the people in its areas of jurisdiction,” said the statement. It added that the forum had “made several attempts to address the unabated security challenges confronting the region that have not only led to massive loss of lives and property but also severely altered the harmonious community relations established and nurtured over several decades, with negative potential for gravely affecting the longstanding freedom, liberties and thriving economic activities within the Northern States.”
Our source disclosed that the main mandate of committee was to bring about reconciliation and healing in the Northern states. He added that the committee was likely to face stiff problems arising from already soured relations between Christians and Muslims in many parts of the North.