In their collective bid to halt banditry, kidnappings and violence in the North-West geo-political zone, three governors from the region Thursday met and sought the assistance of the European Union and some Western countries, including: the United States of America, UK and Canada.
At the meeting held at the EU compound in Abuja Thursday were Governors Aminu Bello Masari, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and Bello Muhammad Mutawalle of Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara states respectively.
According to a statement by the Special Adviser on Media to the governor of Sokoto state, Mohammed Bello, the EU ambassador to Nigeria, Ketil Karlsen said the meeting discussed the insecurity in the region, the regional dimensions of the conflict, the influence of the Sahel conflicts and arms proliferation.
Quoting Karlsen, the statement said: “we all have programs already on ground in the North-West. We have humanitarian programs and development cooperation. We also engage in political discussion at federal, state levels and civil societies.
“We are very pleased to add our contribution to finding durable solution to ending kidnappings, violence and making sure that the social fabric, which has been broken in some places, is reestablished; making sure that there’s access to better education in place for all, proper social services in place, such as healthcare as well, because all of these issues are part of finding long term solutions.”
Karlsen observed that “the main solution has always come from within- having solid and comprehensive support from federal-level combined with local engagement with the impacted communities is absolutely the key.”
He also noted that the EU and its partners were already providing support and assistance to the North-West and hope to establish more opportunities, “because we know that this is what is needed to have durable solution by the end of the day.”
The EU ambassador added that the international community currently has assistance also for the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), but pointed out that although the implementation had started, “making sure that words are transformed into concrete action on the ground, is vital.”
Once these are accomplished, Karlsen further added, “then the international community can assist as we have done in the past.”
In his remarks, Gov. Tambuwal said the ‘high level’ meeting was a ‘coming together’ of friends “to discuss, engage and get first hand information from those of us who are hands-on in our respective states on this issue to know how best we can help and support the Federal Government of Nigeria in resolving these issues.”
He emphasized that the governors “are interested in the support that we are likely to get from them to our federal government to solve this problem.”
Gov. Masari on his part corroborated Tambuwal, saying: “we also solicited for more support from the EU and we expect that results will come very soon.”
Gov. Mutawalle of Zamfara also told journalists that he was confident that the international community was ready “to support the region, particularly on the issue of insecurity.”