The 19 Governors of the Northern states yesterday held a meeting with the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, at the end of which they vowed to put an end to activities of the dreaded Boko Haram sect.
The governors said they have resolved to “go back to the old traditional way of gathering information and gathering intelligence by using people” so as to identify and crush the group.
The Minister of Police Affairs, the Minister of Defence and the representative of National Security Adviser were also in attendance.
Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, Niger State Governor and Chairman of the Northern governors forum admitted to journalists after the five hour long meeting that the federal government was dealing with a well-trained group of people who are not many by the understanding of the intelligence community but noted that “they (Boko Haram) are well trained and their motive is really to disintegrate many parts of the country; even they don’t recognise even the borders that we have.”
“We have discussed generally the terrorist activities of the so called Boko Haram, identified and try to define who they are and, fundamentally, what we discovered is that what they want is possible division of the country.
“We understand they do not recognise the constitution of Nigeria and so any attempt by anybody to either move to the south or to the north in the name of religion or in the name of regional sentiment is like making these people succeed without making any effort.
“Because their efforts like any terrorist is to create a situation where people will react by themselves so that they achieve their objective and that is why all of us, particularly the governors of 19 states of the north, agreed that each one of us must go beyond the normal duty to assure people of their safety and to do those things that would further create the confidence of the people so that they stay where they are and continue to do what they are doing.
“And with regard to what has happened in Kano in particular, we must be very conscious, we must go back to the old traditional way of gathering information, gathering intelligence by using people.
“We all know any one of us who has grown up in this area will understand that in the olden days, any stranger that comes to an area, people know who he is. He is identified and reported appropriately and we must do that.
“People who come to start renting a place and people who come to buy land; all these, we must now be very security conscious.
“I have been telling people that I grew up in a compound and never saw the door of that house locked but now with the changing situation, we must understand what is happening and really take appropriate action and that is what we have all pledged to do and to support the federal government in its activities and for it also to support us in our activities.
“And we understand that the security agencies will need extra support that we can give and all of us must become security agents too. And when I say all of us, all Nigerians particularly those who can understand what issues are all about.
“So when the President said we must police ourselves that is the understanding that all of us are now involved and until we are able to pass this emergency situation.”
When the Niger state Governor was asked if there had been findings about the sponsorship of the Boko Haram group, following allegations that some governors even had a hand in the sponsorship, the governor replied;
“No. I am not aware of that yet but what we understand is that most of them were trained outside in countries like Yemen and other places and that they participated in some other countries issues.
“So that is why we must go the extra mile to ensure and we understand they are well funded even if not necessarily from Nigerians but that they are linked to Al-qaeda and so we must go the extra miles to do things.”