Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna State has said the security challenges in the North West requires holistic approach to address the many drivers of conflict in the region.
The governor spoke in Kaduna during a town hall meeting on “Promoting Peace and Security in North West” organised by Kukah Centre in collaboration with the United Kingdom (UK) Aid and Global Rights.
Sani, who was represented by Mr Samuel Aruwan, said the region has several conflict drivers, which include banditry, terrorism, ethnic and religious crisis, and farmers-herders conflict, among others.
He said, “Our conversations here are very important, because both farmers-herders conflict and banditry are all threats to food security and education which led to closure of many schools for fear of attack by terrorists.
“The issues of insecurity are also threats to the rural economy, primary health care.”
The governor said the frontline states including Niger have been conversing, making efforts and collaborating towards mitigating the menace.
He restated the commitment of the governors in the region to finding solutions to the challenges, saying in Kaduna State, the government would sustain ongoing kinetic and non-kinetic responses.
“If you could look critically along Abuja-Kaduna Highway, for over a year now there is no record of insecurity. We have intensified ‘Operation Whirl Punch’ on ground and in the air along the corridor,” he added.
Earlier, the executive director of Kukah Centre, Fr. Atta Barkindo, expressed concern that the region, which comprises seven states with a population of close to 50 million people, has for about a decade now witnessed increasing violence.
“Thousands of people were killed and displaced, with many fleeing into neighbouring areas. The greatest impact has been on women, girls and children,” he added.
According to him, to mitigate insecurity, the government must reduce tension between herders and farmers, implement the national livestock plan, promote dialogue, stop criminal gangs, illegal mining and corporate stealing.
Barkindo added that it was also imperative to address the challenges of education in the region.
The state commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Mr Idris Adah, said safety and wellbeing of citizens were crucial to peaceful coexistence.
“Peace and security are not mere words, they are the foundation upon which prosperous societies are built, our efforts must be steadfast and unwavering, driven by the understanding that peace is not a passive state but an active pursuit.
” It requires the commitment of every citizen, every organisation, and every institution,” he said. (NAN)