ADAMAWA State Governor Murtala Nyako came under attack yesterday at the expanded National Security Council meeting for his controversial memo on the Federal Government’s handling of the insurgency in the North.
Nyako alleged that the Federal Government was carrying out genocide with the intention to depopulate the North in the name of fighting terrorism.
Apart from the traditional members of the council, governors attended yesterday’s meeting over which President Goodluck Jonathan presided. It lasted for about seven hours.
The meeting resolved to exploit anti-poverty strategies, among others, to end the insurgency.
It did not discuss whether to extend or end the State of Emergency in the three Northeast states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, but sought more collaboration among the three tiers of government to fight terrorism.
Four governors – Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Theodore Orji (Abia), Kashim Shettima (Borno) – spoke to State House reporters at the end of the meeting. Defence Minister Gen. Aliyu Gusau also spoke.
Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President Dr. Reuben Abati, who moderated the session, ruled out questions from reporters. As soon as the governors and the minister spoke, he terminated the session.
Orji said: “The meeting recognised that security issue is not for the federal government alone, it should be handled by the Federal, state and local governments. When there is a synergy, obviously, progress will be made.
“The meeting also agreed that at the state, governors who are chief security officers have to do a lot to help because that is where the security issue is. In so doing, the governors should mobilise their radio stations to sensitise the people so that they will be aware of this security situation.
“We also agreed that the Boko Haram insurgency is not a religious war. People should not misrepresent it because both Muslims and Christians are being killed. It doesn’t discriminate against any person.”
Orji went on: “The memo that was written by one of our colleagues, Governor Nyako of Adamawa State, was discussed and there was a unanimous condemnation of that memo. All officers and people in positions of authority were advised to be cautious on what they say. That what they say should at least enliven every person and make us to know that this country belongs to all of us and not something that will demoralise us, not something that will incite people to go the negative way.”
Fayemi, who noted that the meeting did not discuss the state of emergency, said it was agreed that all Nigerians should rise above partisanship on security.
He said the security agencies were praised, adding that the meeting agreed on the need for a holistic approach to tackling insecurity, including anti-poverty strategies and media capacity.
The security agencies, he said, assured the meeting that they were doing everything possible to rescue the abducted secondary school girls.
Aliyu said: “I am sure many of you will be curious about the letter written by our colleague, the governor of Adamawa state. We looked at it all; in fact, he was allowed to read the memo to all of us. We concluded that for many of us, we need to be very careful with the kind of statements we make.
“And we need to be very careful that whatever we say, are either evidence based or something that can be authenticated; otherwise, there is no need to be giving terrorists the opportunity of thinking that they are succeeding. Because a terrorist, all he wants is for him to find out that what he does is really carried out in such a way that people will have the impression that he had made an impact.”
The Federal Government, Aliyu said, would sustain the existing cooperation with neighbouring countries in the fight against terrorism.
Emphasising on the need for synergy among the security agencies, he said the meeting also agreed that the President had the legal power to involve the military in domestic affairs.
According to him, the meeting also frowned at the issue of indigeneship in the Constitution – to make people feel secured wherever they live.
The meeting, he said, also looked at ways to domesticate Fulani herdsmen to check its clashes with farmers.
Shettima described the meeting as “fruitful”. He said it agreed on the need to deploy advanced security technology to combat terrorism.
According to him, all the stakeholders agreed to jointly tackle the challenges confronting the nation.
Gen. Gusau said: “The conclusion of the meeting is that the Federal Government will do everything in its powers, in collaboration with state governments, to bring this under control. Security is everybody’s responsibility and every individual should be security conscious.”
At the meeting were Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) President Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor and Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Saad Abubakar III.
Other governors that attended include: Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa), Wille Obiano (Anambra), Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), Gabriel Suswam (Benue), Martin Elechi (Ebonyi) Abdufatah Ahmed (Kwara), Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta) and Nyako (Adamawa).
Also there were: Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Liyel Imoke (Cross River), Ramalan Yero (Kaduna), Tanko Al Makura (Nasarawa), Saidu Dakingari (Kebbi), Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Isa Yuguda (Bauchi), Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe) Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Sullivan Chime (Enugu), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Idris Wada(Kogi) and acting Governor Umar Garba (Taraba).
Deputy governors of Oyo, Kano, Rivers, Imo, Edo, Yobe, Ogun, Plateau and Jigawa states represented their governors.
Others at the meeting were: Vice President Namadi Sambo, Secretary to the Federal Government Anyim Pius Anyim, Service chiefs, Inspector General of Police Mohammed Abubakar and National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki.
Heads of agencies at the meeting included those of the Federal Road Safety Commission, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and Nigerian Immigration Service.
Some ministers who attended included Viola Onwuliri (Foreign-State I), Bala Mohammed (FCT), Abba Moro (Interior), Mohammed Adoke (Attoney General and Minister of Justice) and Abdul Jelil Adesiyan (Police Affairs).