Governor of Borno State and chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, Kashim Shettima, has said that Poverty remains the major reason for incessant violent crises and insecurity in the Northern region of Nigeria.
Shettima was speaking during an extraordinary meeting of the forum in the Kaduna State government house.
The meeting was also attended by the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi, and the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, who is the Chairman of the council of traditional rulers across the 19 States of northern Nigeria, and the main agenda was the Southern Kaduna crisis.
In his speech, Shettima said managing a multicultural society is not an easy task, but it remains the litmus test for leadership, good governance and progress not just in Northern Nigeria but in the entire global society.
“Our backwardness in education, pervasive poverty and persistent insecurity are among the basis of this extraordinary meeting,” he said.
Shettima continued: “Poverty, Poverty and I say again, poverty, is to many of us, the number one monster dragging backward, our Northern Nigeria.
“For instance, in June, 2013, we recorded a good number of extremely poor persons, who were recruited for as little as N5,000 to either spy on soldiers and report their vulnerability to insurgents, attack and set schools ablaze by late night or in some cases, poor old women were paid similar amounts by insurgents, to either keep arms in their huts or smuggle arms from one point to another.
“One case I always remember is that of one Musa Grema, a 13 year old boy who revealed that he accepted N5,000 to set three of our primary schoolsablaze and also spy on soldiers, because his parents relied on him for their feeding,” Shettima said.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar expressed disappointment that places of religious worship have become places where hatred is freely preached rather than messages that foster unity and tolerance.
He added that one other reason violence has continued to thrive in the region is because of the fact that most times the culprits get away with their crimes.
Sultan Abubakar pledged that the traditional rulers would back any action that would be taken by the Governors forum in order to bring the violence to an end.
“Let us collectively as one people say enough is enough,” he said.
Host Governor, Nasiru El-Rufai of Kaduna State agreed that the traditional rulers were the closest to the grassroots and could play important roles in resolving some of the crisis.
The meeting was attended by at least 15 out of the 19 Northern states governors or their deputies.
They include Governors Aminu Masari of Katsina; Kashim Shettima of Borno; Darius Ishaku of Taraba; Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi and Simon Lalong of Plateau State.
Others are: Sokoto State governor Aminu Tambuwal, Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano governor; Ababakar Badaru of Jigawa; Jibrilla Bindow of Adamawa and Sani Bello of Niger State.
Nasarawa, Kogi, Benue and Zamfara states were represented by their deputy governors.
Other Traditional rulers seen at the meeting were the Shehu of Borno; the Emir of Zazzau; the Etsu Nupe, among others.