Governors are afraid that insurgency which has ravaged the Northeast geo-political zone — especially Borno State — may spread to other parts of the country.
They expressed this fear on Wednesday during a visit to Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum over Saturday’s killing of rice farmers in the state.
Forty-three bodies were buried on Sunday but the Senate after a motion by Senator Kashim Shettima on Tuesday, put the death toll at 67.
“We cannot bring back the people we have lost in the last couple of days but if we do not take the necessary steps, the entire nation will be consumed by this insurgency,” Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said.
He added: “This is not a visit to gratify ourselves that we have come to you. No, it is an expression of our own frustration that we have not been able; because we have held a series of meetings, … some with Mr. President and security chiefs. We highlighted all the issues you have spoken about…but we are still where we are.
“We need to stand solidly with you, assist in whatever way you want us to, ensuring that our government takes the right position in order to tackle this problem. I want to assure you that we shall not relent as your brothers in conveying this to the appropriate authorities.
“I personally as a security scholar, can see that our military is overwhelmed. Our military is no longer in a position to single-handedly tackle this menace effectively.
“It is not a criticism of our military, There can even be a coalition that will include our neighbouring countries who are probably more experienced in fighting an asymmetrical war. It will not be a loss of our pride as a country if that were to happen. This is certainly something that we, as your colleagues and brothers, will put before Mr President.”
Fayemi added: ”What happened in the last three days is by far beyond any imagination; it was a massacre and it was one that none of us could come to terms with easily.
“I know there is an element of fatigue that will creep into this. Every time this happens, we never let you rest with telephone calls. We came here as a delegation and you have spoken to us about what could help us as a nation tackle these security challenges that are depleting our country.
“There is nothing new that you haven’t told us; that you didn’t tell the delegation from Mr. President yesterday. We have all heard directly from you; we have read your six- point agenda . All I can say to you, is that we fully and wholeheartedly endorse every single point on that agenda.”
Fayemi recalled that the group had held a series of meetings with President Muhammadu Buhari and the service chiefs without any concrete results.
Fayemi expressed the resolve of the NGF to continue to engage the appropriate authorities to find lasting solutions to the insecurity in the country.
Zulum, who lamented the continuous attacks on and killings of his people by insurgents, asked rhetorically: “When shall we end this insurgency?”
He added: “We need to address the underlying causes of insurgency, while appreciating the effort of the Federal Government in implementing some policies that are geared towards addressing poverty in the entire nation, Borno State deserves more.
“We have said all, there is nothing new that I can say. But when shall we end this insurgency, that’s something very important.”
Other members of the delegation were Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal, Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu and Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello.