Northern governors and traditional rulers vow to protect Igbos living within their domains

GOVERNORS of the 19 states across northern Nigeria and a host of traditional rulers have vowed to protect the lives and property of Igbos living within their domains come the October 1 deadline given to them to quit the region.


Earlier this year, a coalition of Arewa youth groups gave all Igbos living in northern Nigeria up until independence day to leave the region in response to the growing agitation for the recreation of the defunct republic of Biafra. As the deadline looms, tension has been rising across northern Nigeria and in an attempt to diffuse the crisis, northern leaders met yesterday to assure all southerners living within their domains that they are safe.


At the meeting between the northern governors and traditional rulers in Kaduna yesterday attended by governors Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State, Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi State,  Aminu Masari of Katsina State and Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, the leaders vowed to protect the lives and property of southerners in the north. They also urged southern leaders to do same in order to put an end to the current ethnic tension across the country.


In what sounded like an irony, the leaders of the region that had been accused of benefiting from alleged lopsided appointments in this dispensation, also accused the federal government of being responsible for the unfair manner of appointments. Consequently, they demanded the reconstitution of the Federal Character Commission, Federal Civil Service Commission, , and the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, saying the failure to do so had resulted in lopsided appointments.


They also constituted a 12-man committee that would come out with a position on restructuring. This committee which is headed by Sokoto State governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, was mandated to collate views on the agitation for restructuring from individuals, groups and corporate organisations in the north.


Other members of the committee include the governors of Nasarawa, Gombe, Benue, Bauchi and Kaduna states as well as the Emirs of Kano, Zazzau, Gummi, the Etsu Nupe and the Gbong Gwom Jos, as well as the deputy governor of Plateau State,  Sonni Tyoden, who would serve as secretary.


A communiqué signed by the chairman of the Northern States Governors Forum and Borno State governor Alhaji Kashim Shettima, said the committee would come up with a sustainable position. It also called for the creation of more grazing reserves and providing adequate infrastructure in such reserves to address the needs of cattle rearers and those of their animals before the enactment of the appropriate legislation will ameliorate the challenges.


“The committee is to come up with an acceptable, tenable and sustainable position for the northern region in consonance with the provisions of the 1999 constitution, taking into cognisance, the current constitutional amendment process going on at the National Assembly. We reassure all Nigerians who live in the north of our readiness to protect their lives and property and we, therefore, call on our colleagues in the south to emulate this gesture.


“The forum, therefore, discourages ethinicising the deadly conflicts and crimes with the Fulani tribe as other tribes could be cattle-rearers too. The free movement of persons, goods, and services within the West African sub-region as ratified by the Ecowas Convention should be subjected to the laws of individual member states in order to check cross border crimes, especially cattle rustling," the communique added.