By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
The North-East Governors’ Forum (NGF) has called on the Federal Government to deploy more state of the art military hardware to the armed forces fighting the Boko Haram in the region.
The body said this in a communique issued after its second meeting to discuss the challenges facing the sub-region.
The communique was signed by the Forum’s Chairman and governor of Borno, Babagana Zulum.
It commended the efforts of the Federal Government in fighting insurgency but urged the armed forces to intensify efforts to secure hard-to-reach areas in the region and ensure safe access to farmlands.
“The Forum recommends that the manpower deficit in the Nigerian Armed Forces should be bridged by allowing the Police to carry state of the art weapons where necessary and be provided with strategic equipment like high-velocity tear gas, trackers and Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC),” the communique said.
It also called on the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to ensure that attention was given to recharging the Lake Chad from national water bodies and strengthening the river basins in the sub-region.
The communique said that the six governors pledged to work together to foster regional integration, growth and development, especially in exploitation of its oil and gas potentials, mineral resources, agriculture and industrialisation.
The communique, however, called on the Federal Government to revoke selected road contracts awarded by the Federal Ministry of Works for years without progress and re-award same to more competent contractors with funding to ensure timely execution.
The communique further urged the Federal Government to ensure local content in the execution of the Mambila Hydroelectric power project and other programmes of the North East Development Commission (NEDC) to ensure synergy with state governments.
It expressed the support of the governors for the management and board of NEDC and their determination to work together in producing a comprehensive strategic master plan for the region that would ensure sustainable development.
“The Forum affirmed its commitment to support the Federal Government agenda of transforming the Almajiri system with a view to strengthening both Islamic and western education as well as stopping street begging and prevalence of out of school children in the region as agreed by the Northern governors.
“The Forum also nominated Zulum as Chairman of the Forum for a period of two years and the headquarters of the Forum will be located in Maiduguri,” it said.
NAN reports that the meeting was attended by governors of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and the Yobe States. (NAN)