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Killing of soldiers, attacks in Owerri worry governors

Killing of soldiers, attacks in Owerri worry governors

By Eric Ikhilae and Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja

Governors are worried about the killing of an army captain and 11 soldiers by militia in Benue State.

They are also unhappy at the coordinated attacks on the police headquarters and the Correctional Centre in Owerri, Imo State.

The two incidents are worrisome and they are evidence of the worsening security situation, they said after a meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) in Abuja.

The governors on Thursday underscored the need for a comprehensive scope of evaluation of the nature of insecurity in the country to enable them fashion out how to tackle them.

NGF Chairman and Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi said the meeting also discussed issues surrounding financial autonomy for the Judiciary and Legislature at the state level and the implementation of the Executive Order 10, over which court workers are currently on a nationwide strike.

He said: “On security issues, members are particularly worried, following what happened in Imo State; the attack on the correctional facility and the Police Command headquarters, and successive acts of violence and insecurity across the country. Also, the killings of soldiers in Benue State.

“The forum has expressed its worry that it is time for us to revisit, comprehensively, the nature and depth of this security crisis, which would have gotten worse if states had not been taking the actions they’ve been taking individually and collectively.

“It is the steps taken at the state level that have managed to reduce the depth and the enormity of the security challenges.

“Nonetheless, it is still a worrisome development for us and we feel we will need a special look at the entire gamut of the security issues that we are dealing with and further engage the authorities, both at the political level and federal authorities at the security level in order to deal with these multifaceted challenges of security that we have faced.

”The Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) also  resolved a number of issues to take forward, both with the committee responsible for legislative and judicial autonomy, of which we have members that have been representing us.

“Our committee responsible for engaging with the representatives of the Legislature and the representatives of the Judiciary will meet them tomorrow (yesterday) to convey the position of the governors to them.

“Well, I am not at liberty to discuss the details of those positions until we’ve discussed them with those that are directly involved in them.”

The governors had after the kidnap of 344 pupils of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State in December, said they were  concerned that killings, kidnapping and other crimes had become a daily occurrence in the country.

In January, Fayemi meet   with   President Muhamadu Buhari ovet the security challenges.

”I believe there is a whole range of strategies that he (Buhari) is putting in place to address that. I have also expressed to him the commitment of governors to step up to the plate, both in terms of providing support for our security agencies and also sensitising our population as well as addressing the causes of some of these crimes in our states,” he said after the meeting.


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