National Councilors Forum Of Nigeria South South Set To Launch”Niger Delta Safe And Clean” Ask For 50% Of Revenue Sharing Formula
A COMMUNIQUE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL COUNCILLORS FORUM OF NIGERIA SOUTH-SOUTH ZONE AT THE END OF A 2 DAY CONFERENCE, TITLED: NATIONAL SECURITY; HELD AT THE ORCHID HOTEL, ASABA, DELTA STATE, ON THE 16th -17th OF OCTOBER, 2019.
At the end of an exhaustive 2 day deliberations on the nation’s security challenges at the Orchid Hotel, Asaba, the Delta State capital, the National Councillors Forum of Nigeria S-South zone agreed and resolved that Nigeria and particularly the region, unarguably is enmeshed in grievous security challenges. The forum identified many security maladies in the region, which threaten the regular routines of citizens. For example, the infiltration of the region by herdsmen, the unending challenges of kidnapping, highway robbery, sea piracy under the guise of militancy, ritual killings, the constant threat of pipe line vandalism, the fragile amnesty program and the often warnings of renewed hostilities, if stipends are not paid as at when due, cultism etc.
They vowed to tackle security challenges in the region, to make life more meaningful for people in their communities and local government areas.
CLASSIFICATION OF SECURITY CHALLENGES BETWEEN CAUSE AND EFFECTS.
They identified that the focus on the ramifications of a long term weakened National Security policy has kept the Security agencies very busy and Government must now double its efforts on the root causes of insecurity rather than the hydra- headed effects that remain unending. The Forum classified the underlisted as debilitating security challenges to the peace, stability and prosperity of the South South Geopolitical Region, that must be stemmed quick and promptly, in order to make life truly meaningful for the people of the region.
1. The threat of herdsmen, kidnapping, ritual killings and cultism in the region. The forum agreed that the threat of herdsmen in the region should not be treated lightly by the government. They observed the helplessness of state governors in tackling the menace because they have no control over the Nigerian Police Force, the Nigerian Army, nor other security agencies. That the central government that is constitutionally mandated to handle matters bordering on security, has done little arrest the situation due to their distance from the happenings. The Councillors forum want drastic government action against these menace and better collaboration with state and local partners because the citizens are becoming traumatized.
2. The Forum also extensively talked on the brigandage of sea pirates in the region’s creeks and rivers, where they turn the lives of citizens into hell. And, that because of sea pirates soldiers burnt down Azagbe community in Bayelsa State, believing criminals use the community as a hideout after the operations. The forum wants the federal government to spell out rules of engagement for members of the armed forces that are deployed to the region. To build a better working environment for the soldiers within the communities.
3.The Forum resolved also that the Boko Haram terrorists operating in the North East should be decisively crushed and very quickly too. That the menace of the insurgents has persisted in that region for far too long and has the potential of spiralling into other zones in other forms as witnessed in the case of the herdsmen.
Premised on the foregoing, the National Councillors Forum made the following recommendations below to stem the tide of criminality in the region.
1.The adequate equipping of security agencies in terms of training and logistics.
Though many state governors have assisted the police, they should continue to do so. They also advocated for provision of modern weaponery, updated security systems and increase work force.
The Forum also reccommed a rejigging of the security apparatus to include the State Governors in the National Security Council.
2. The Forum recommended a better policy on education which gives Local governments more responsibilities. That a good education is the best empowerment for the youths who are involved in these crimes. That education tempers the mind and make individuals more amenable to obey the law.
3. The Forum also observed that empowerment programs of the government, both at the federal and state levels should be better fine tuned so that more people can benefit. That what is presently obtained is not adequate because they are not tailored to fit the peculiar needs of people, who are different from point to point.
4. The Forum also posited that the issue of skills acquisition for the youths should be pursued with utmost vigour by the federal and state governments. That youths form bulk of those involved in crimes and when trained in various skills, become self reliant, empowered and responsible.
5. The Forum deliberated on crimes in riverine communities, and observed that unlike upland areas, police stations and other security agencies are not enough in communities in the creeks, hence criminals operate there with impunity and unchecked. They therefore recommended the building of well equipped security posts in riverine communities.
6. The Forum also observed that military operatives in the South South operate at times with impunity. That their activities should be moderated to respect the fundamental rights of citizens.
7. That the imbalance of revenue allocation where the FG takes the lion share and understandably more responsibilities that it cannot perform from that exhalted height.
The Forum recommended that the Local Government should get a minimum of 50% of revenue and the FG should be unbundled for better performance.
The Forum also asked for a true presidential system in the Local Government Councils to include the Judiciary as that vacuum leaves much to be desired.
8. The Forum completely endorses the creation of state police but insist it would be fruitless without Local police or at least a local partnership system.
9. The Forum endorsed the Stronger Delta agenda of His Excellency Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa stressing that the bottom up approach of the agenda will produce great results for the people and promised to take the campaign throughout the grassroots of Niger-Delta.
The National Councillors Forum of Nigeria S-South concluded by resolving to launch a Campaign soonest tagged : SAFE AND CLEAN NIGER- DELTA. They therefore unanimously agreed that another should be held very soon. They promised to engage in regular communication and strengthen their peer review mechanism.
Hon. Pudiya Biakpara
Chairman South-South Zone. National Councillors Forum of Nigeria
Hon. Dorothy Richard-Phillip. Secretary
17th October, 2019.
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