Governors of the North-West and that of the Niger Republic have called for a review of the ECOWAS Article on the movement of persons and arms to tackle the lingering security challenges in the region.
This is contained in a communique issued on Tuesday by the Katsina secretary to the state government, Muntari Lawal, at the end of a multilateral security meeting held in the state.
The meeting had in attendance Schiabou Aboubacar of Maradi Region as the convener, Aminu Masari, Aminu Tambuwal, Zamfara and Kebbi deputy governors.
“In the light of the bilateral arrangement on pursuit of criminals up to 30km by security agents across each other’s border between Nigeria and the Niger Republic, the meeting recommends appropriate review of the ECOWAS Article on the movement of persons and arms,” the statement said.
It further noted, “Considering the significance of the role of traditional rulers, security management, the meeting recommends periodic meeting of selected traditional rulers from the affected states to share information and exchange ideas on security management.”
According to the communique, a substantial proportion of the citizens of the states partake in animal husbandry or rearing for livelihood, and over time, the trade was infiltrated by criminal elements resulting in cattle rustling, armed banditry, kidnapping for ransom and proliferation of small arms, light weapons and ammunition.
After deliberations and observations, the meeting supported the operation ‘Hadarin Daji’ conducted by the military, covering Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi.
“There is, therefore, the need for Defence Headquarters clearance to these sectors to meet and develop unified strategies to combat the common security challenges bedevilling the areas,” the communique further noted.
It added, “Accordingly, the meeting further recommends the need for stakeholders meeting involving all the heads of security agencies in Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi states and Maradi and Tahoua regions to be hosted by the Headquarters of operation Hadarin Daji and facilitated by the governors of the affected states.”
The governors also recommended that in the event of an express directive for a clearance operation, “once it is started, it should be coordinated by land and air, and should not stop until it reaches its final point.”