The North-East Governors’ Forum (NEGF) says some traditional rulers and other local authorities are conniving with bandits to promote insecurity in the region.

The NEGF, comprising the governors of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe, Gombe, and Taraba states, noted that the traditional rulers provide shelter for the bandits to commit various crimes.

The Forum said this in a communique issued at the end of its meeting in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, on Saturday, September 9, 2023.

The NEGF, in the communique issued by its chairman and Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, stated that a new dimension of growing banditry has been added to worsen the security situation in the region.

The governors, who commended the military for the success recorded against insurgency, said the bandits from the other parts of the country are now moving towards the North-East.

The Forum, while calling for the Federal Government’s intervention against insecurity in the North-East, said the case is becoming worse in Bauchi, Gombe, and Taraba states.

The governors said: “The Forum is aware that some traditional rulers and other local authorities are conniving with the bandits, giving them shelter and cover to commit crimes within the subregion. The Forum unanimously resolved to decisively deal with any traditional ruler or community leader that is found to be harbouring or conniving with the bandits.

“The proliferation of mining in the region is becoming a problem. This includes both legal and illegal mining. It noted the link between mining activities and insecurity, especially the abuse of the mining leases. The Forum calls on the respective Governments to enforce compliance with the provisions of local consent as contained in Nigeria’s Mining Policy. The Forum reiterated its call for strict compliance with the provisions of the Land Use Act.

“Forum noted with great concern that Climate Change and environmental degradation is a major issue affecting the subregion. The issue of flooding that had affected the States leading to the destruction of properties and loss of livelihoods is increasing the sufferings of the people. This has been compounded by the silting of our rivers as well as deforestation brought about by the massive charcoal business. There is a need for the Federal Government’s intervention in the area of desilting the rivers.

“Furthermore, there is the need for effective control on deforestation with stern regulation to local authorities against compromise to granting approvals for such business. The Forum has resolved to key into the Global Initiative of Carbon Credi, the Great Green wall and other initiatives that will mitigate the devasting impact of climate change in the subregion.”

The governors further condemned the alleged neglect of road and railway infrastructure, especially along the roads that link the North-East region to other parts of the country, saying the streets from Enugu to Maiduguri are in a deplorable state.

They added: “Equally worse is the railway from Enugu up to Maiduguri which has been destroyed. The Forum is calling on the Federal Government to look into the situation and consider the reconstruction of these basic infrastructures along the Enugu-Maiduguri Economic Corridor. This is a major route for regional trade and very important for integration, peacebuilding, and improving national unity.”

The Forum, however, urged the Northeast Development Commission (NEDC) to be more proactive with the issues of development in the region, saying its intervention should be well prioritized in the short, medium, and long term to take care of the sustainable development needs of the people in the North-East.