In their collective bid to halt the ugly orgies of banditry, kidnappings and violence in Nigeria’s North-West, three governors from the region on Thursday met and sought the assistance of the European Union and some Western countries, including the United States of America, UK and Canada.
The meeting held at the EU compound in Abuja had in attendance Governors Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto, and Bello Muhammad Mutawalle of Zamfara State.
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.
“We all have programmes already on ground in the North-West. We have humanitarian programmes and development cooperation. We also engage in political discussion at federal, state levels and civil societies,” Karlsen said.
“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 re-established; 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,” he said.
He 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 are 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”.
Karlsen said the international community currently has assistance also for the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), but pointed out that although the implementation has started, “making sure that words are transformed into concrete action on the ground is vital”.
Once these are accomplished, Karlsen 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 firsthand 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”.
“We also solicited for more support from the EU and we expect that results will come very soon,” said Gov. Masari.
On his part, Zamfara State Governor Mutawalle told journalists that he is confident that the international community is ready “to support the region, particularly on the issue of insecurity”.