Amotekun: Northern Govs have different opinion – Lalong


PLATEAU State Governor, Simon Lalong said on Friday that Northern Governors have a different opinion on the desirability of regional security outfit in the country, even as he insists that he has been implementing community policing in his state for some time.

Lalong who is Chairman of the Governance Committee of the Progressive Governors Forum, however, said that there was a general agreement among governors in the country on the need for community policing to help address the security challenges in the country.

Addressing a news conference on the programmes of his committee for the next one year, he said his committee was working out some policies issues for APC states including security issues, adding that at the level of implementation, names like Amotekun might come up.

The Plateau governor disclosed that he has been using community policing to address security challenges in Plateau state, adding that if the concept of Amotekun launched by South West Governors must come into existence, it has to operate within the ambit of the law.

Lalong said “Our duty (as a committee of the Progressives Governors Forum) is restricted to policy formulation. Ours is to design good policies for implementation by APC states and part of those policy issue is Amotekun.

“We are not talking about Amoteku, but general insecurity. Once, once we lay the policies before all APC states and it is approved, we will begin to talk about how to go about it. At the level of approval, people might bring out Amotekun or different other names and issues.

“I always try not to talk about what the zones are talking about because I am not from that zone. I am Chairman of Northern Governors Forum who also have a different opinion from what is obtainable there.

“What we are laying down now as a frame work include the general security of the nation because we are not unmindful of what is going on in the country. That is why every year, we sit down and draw up a frame work and we tell them, these are the things that are current and things that APC governors should absolve in terms of preparing their budget and also in terms of the governance in their states.”

Even though he was not specific about the view of Northern Governors on Amotekun, Lalong said the concern of the governors was not to do anything that that will be declared illegal by the Federal government, adding that what is clear is that everybody appeared to be on the same page on community policing.

“We discovered that all of us appeared to be talking about community policing. We have all agreed on that. We don’t want a situation where you start doing something and the federal government says you are doing it outside the law just like we say about Amotekun.

“It is now they are doing dialogue. If it is going to operate, it must be within the law and what is within the law as far as the governors are concerned is the issue of community policing. We all agreed on that. When you go into implementation, you will use different methods.

“I have been using community policing in my state for a long time. I am opportune to be in Jos where we have three security outfits. I have headquarters of 3rd Armoured division of the Nigeria Army and Operation Safe Heaven established by the federal government for a few states. We also have Operation Rainbow.

“For us, Operation Rainbow is like community policing. While the Police and Operation Safe Heaven are answerable to the Federal Government, Operation Rainbow is answerable to the governor at any time and it is a combination of different security organisations.

“What they do is intelligence gathering and we find that very effective because if you dont understand the intelligence, you will not even know how to tackle the security challenge. As a result of this intelligence, before anything happens, we know.

“So, we have brought out early warning signals. It is a technology deployed by America and the French government in Plateau. It covers all areas. With that, I can open my phone here (Abuja) and the early warning signal will tell me these are likely places of conflict.

“If you have that kind of technology, what do you do with it? We supported it with the establishment of a peace building agency. The agency will always take care when we know there is a conflict and their responsibility is to go into those areas and try to sought out that conflict. If it is too much for them, they will invite security. For that, we have been living in peace in Plateau.

“We must also begin to develop new technology and focus on it. Fighting crime is no longer the normal thing now because the criminals are getting more sophisticated and the security agencies must be sophisticated too. Otherwise, the efforts will go to waste.

“I just watched the police displaying an instrument developed by a criminal for car tracking. But if they don’t have the facility, how will they track the car? We have also moved into technology and one of the last things I did in my state recently is to install an area surveillance tower covering the state capital, Jos.

“Anywhere you do anything in Jos right now, that tower will tell me what you are doing. That way, people run out because security is very important and we are spending so much on it. Some people have said there is no need for security votes, but we know what w have been doing at the Progressive Governors Forum regarding security.”

Speaking on the killing of an official of CAN in Adamawa state and Plateau student of the University of Maiduguri, Lalong said “the current issue where Boko Haram will take people and kill them, I take it as part of propaganda. When they get to that level, they can use any means to incite people into killing themselves.

“They went to Adamawa and killed a Pastor and Plateau state where the killed a student. I have been controlling people, trying to caution them because the intention is to incite them to start fighting on religious ground. When you fall into it, they will come back and start mingling within the society.

“It is unfortunate that they get students and religious leaders and start killing them. We have made a strong appeal to security agencies to go back to that place because we don’t expect them to be more superior than our security agencies.

“We are supporting the federal government on security and we have also seen the efforts of Mr President in fighting insecurity and we support him because without a secured environment, nothing can be done.”

Governor Lalong however said that the PGF is planning an assessment for all APC governors to know their achievements and areas of weakness and offer them suggestions on the way forward.

He said “the purpose of this committee is to do assessment in every state. Apart from the general policies from the federal government and the states, we also rely on donor agencies.

“From time to time, we move round our states to do an assessment and the Forum will issue bulletin to all the states so that the states will know their rating in terms of performances. Primary Health care is very important to us.

“Just on Thursday, we had a presentation from the Emir of Kano on the issue of nutrition and before now, some governors did not understand the importance of nutrition.

“But after the lecture, we saw the need to incorporate nutrition into the next phase of our programmes. We do assessment to know if there states that are not living up to expectation and tell them to sit up.” – The Nation

– Jan. 24, 2020 @ 17:49 GMT |

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