Chairman, Northern Governors Forum and governor of Plateau State, Mr Simon Bako Lalong, has enjoined governors in the region to engage in robust, open and frank discussions that will assist them to come up with practical and effective resolutions that will move the region to the next level.
He said the governors cannot afford to do otherwise because the people have entrusted them with their mandate, adding that they look up to them in dealing with their day to day challenges that include poverty, illiteracy, insecurity, and economic opportunities.
Speaking in Kaduna Thursday at an emergency meeting of the forum, Governor Lalong said, “I, therefore, urge us all to engage in robust, open and frank discussions that will assist us come up with practical and effective resolutions that will move our region to the next level.
“We cannot afford to do otherwise because our people have entrusted us with their mandate and look up to us in dealing with their day to day challenges, which include poverty, illiteracy, insecurity, and economic opportunities.”
He explained that the emergency meeting was summoned to enable them address some matters of urgent importance in the survival of the region and the well-being of the people.
The chairman recalled that during the last meeting, they deliberated extensively on many issues, particularly the nature of the insecurity currently bedevilling the northern region and how to deal with the situation.
Presiding over the meeting for the first time as the chairman of the forum, governor Lalong said, “I wish to once again express my profound appreciation for the confidence reposed in me and to assure you that I have accepted this great challenge with determination to give it my all to ensure that the yearnings and aspirations of our people are realized.”
Governor Lalong said in order to address issues bordering the region, “We consequently set up a Committee under the Chairmanship of His Excellency, Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State, to inter-alia develop a comprehensive regional plan of action that could bring lasting solutions to the lingering crises.
“At this meeting, we shall receive briefing from this committee and also deliberate on their findings and recommendations.
“Another major issue we shall also deliberate on is the issue of livestock management in the country and in particular our region, which has continued to generate discourse, controversy, misinformation and even politicization.
“You are aware of the many attempts to find lasting solutions to the incessant Farmer-Harder clashes, cattle rustling and associated criminalities such as banditry, kidnapping among others.”
He said that the meeting shall deliberate on the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), which was commissioned by the National Economic Council chaired by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo and seeks to support and strengthen the development of market-driven ranches in the livestock ecosystem for improved productivity through breed improvement, pasture production, efficient land and water utilization.
As a region that holds the comparative advantage in livestock management as an economic and socio-cultural vocation, he said, “We need to come up with a common front on how to synergize and draw from the funds available for the programme and ensure that we derive maximum benefits for our people.
“Hopefully, we shall develop strategies on how best to deal with the misinformation about the NLTF, which is sometimes confused with the Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) project.
“This is important because of the urgent need to cultivate the buy-in of all stakeholders and provide a conducive environment for nomadic herders and those who rear livestock using the private/public partnership model to key into the National Livestock Transformation Plan of the Federal Government.”
Of importance to the region, governor Lalong noted, “We also have to continue our discourse on how to solve the Almajiri phenomenon which continues to be a social and security challenge that we cannot, but find solutions to.”