PROTOCOLS1. I have the honour of welcoming you all to this combined meeting of the elected leaders of government and the heads of the traditional institutions in all the 19 states of the North and the Federal Capital Territory. We warmly welcome the Chief of Staff to the President and other members of the Federal Government delegation that is joining us in this most important meeting.
2. In our view, it is an understatement to describe the last few weeks as challenging moments for our country. A cry by the youths for reform of policing has somehow snowballed into tragic events, and an unprecedented challenge to the authority of the Nigerian state. Public and private property have been wantonly violated, in criminal actions that have been encouraged and fuelled by previously unseen levels of incitement.
3. The economic damage from the recent tragic events is sure to exacerbate the shrinkage unleashed by Covid-19. The impact of this on jobs and livelihoods will be severe. The crisis has also exposed the worrying ascent in public discourse of a new sort of relativity that is able to justify anything. Amidst the mayhem in many parts of the country, there has been a shocking absence of a collective will to stand up for law and order, and those that are at the frontline of law enforcement.
4. Many of the northern states are confronting a variety of security challenges. Criminal activities by bandits threaten both rural and urban communities. Bandits have openly tried to crush the rural economy by attacking farmers in their fields, and in their homes. These criminals continue to menace some highways. Our experiences in Kaduna State are encapsulated and summarised in the document prepared by our Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs that we will circulate for our Governors and Royal Fathers to study in their spare time.
5. We welcome the intensification of ground and air action against the bandits, and thank the Chief of Defence Staff, the Chief of Army Staff, the Chief of Naval Staff, the Chief of the Air Staff, and the Inspector-General of Police for these operations. We urge the military and the Police to further amplify these operations and continue relentlessly to wipe out the bandits.
6. Is it not time to make the establishment of state police a key part of policing reforms? Has the recent crisis not exposed again the inadequacy of the numbers, ordinance, training and unitary structure of the Police in a federation? Is this not an opportunity for a redesign of the security architecture in a collaboration between the states and the national government to vastly expand police numbers, equipment and technology?
7. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria envisaged the need for this by creating the Nigeria Police Council in section 153(1)L and defined the membership to include all State Governors in the Third Schedule thereof. In this regard, I wish to seize this opportunity of the presence of this high-level federal delegation to appeal that the quarterly meetings of the Police Council be initiated and sustained so that the important issues to improve national policing effectiveness be interrogated, debated, agreed and addressed.
8. As we deliberate today, it is our hope that the discussions will reflect on the specific impact of recent events on our region and what we can do to mitigate the damage and press forward in securing our communities and advancing social and economic development.
9. I hope that this initiative of engagement between the Federal Government and Northern State Governors and Traditional Rulers will be sustained. I therefore wish to suggest that we hold this joint meeting at least twice every year to discuss security and other emerging issues to promote peace and progress in our region.
10. I wish us all a productive meeting, and safe journeys back to our respective destinations. Thank you all for honouring us with your presence and contributions. Thank you for listening.
God Bless the Northern States of Nigeria and the FCTGod Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, OFRGovernor of Kaduna State2nd November 2020