The plan by the Coalition of Northern Group (CNG) to establish a local security outfit known as “Shege Ka Fasa” as the region’s equivalent of Amotekun in the South-west has hit a brick wall as northern governors have rejected the initiative, THISDAY investigation has revealed.
The governors who also described the name of the outfit as derogatory, indicated their preference for community policing to secure the region.
Their rejection came a few days after the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, opposed the establishment of the security outfit with a call on Northern elders not to allow the youth to take over their responsibilities.
It was also learnt at the weekend that governors of the North-central states would meet later this month in Minna, the Niger State capital, to discuss the rising wave of insecurity in the geopolitical zone. The meeting will be a follow-up to the one recently held in Lafia, Nasarawa State.
The CNG last Wednesday had announced the establishment of Shege Ka Fasa as the region’s own version of Amotekun to tackle the security challenges facing the North.
Spokesman of the group, Mr. Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, told reporters in Kaduna that the CNG had written to the Northern State Governors’ Forum (NSGF) to support the group.
He said if the northern governors and leaders from the region failed to back the initiative, the CNG would obtain the required legal backing for the outfit from the federal authorities.
Suleiman explained that “the outfit is designed to be the vanguard of the entire North, encompassing every ethnic group and religion and would be patriotic in its operations in addition to performing general complimentary tasks for enhancing security in the region.”
But the governors of the region under the auspices of NSGF thumbed down the proposal.
The Chairman of the forum and Governor of Plateau State, Mr. Simon Lalong, said the governors would not be a party to the arrangement.
Plateau State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Dan Manjang and Lalong’s Director of Press (DOPA), Dr. Simon Macham, conveyed the governor’s view to THISDAY during separate interviews.
Manjang stated that the name of the outfit was not only derogatory but abusive, adding that the governors will continue to support community policing.
He explained: “That nomenclature in itself is even alien to us; we don’t know what it means. All I know is that northern governors are a progressive group and are in support of community policing. That is why some of the states have some semblance of community police such as Operation Rainbow.
“The forum will ensure that everything it is doing is backed by the law. So, for an amorphous group to suddenly emerge and ask for support from the 19 Northern state governors is unacceptable.
“So, the governors will meet and come up with a more organised position that will be backed by law.
“Shege is a derogatory name; it is abusive, and the Northern governors cannot use such derogatory nomenclature. They are too mature and too gentle to adopt such abusive nomenclature.”
Adamawa State Governor, Alhaji Umaru Fintiri, also expressed similar sentiments through his Director General, Media and Communications, Mr. Solomon Kumangar. The governor said his government would not support the security outfit because it lacked the infrastructure and structure to secure the North.
He described the name, “Shege Ka Fasa” as an insult going by its semantic meaning in Hausa language, adding that the state already has “Operation Farauta” in operation.
According to him, “Operation Farauta” comprises the Vigilante Group and Hunters Association, who were screened by the Department of State Services (DSS) and are under the supervision of the police.
He said the security outfits were formed during the peak of insurgency, which led to the seizure of seven local government areas in the state by the terror group, Boko Haram, adding that the government is determined to extend its control to other councils in the state.
The governor stated that “Operation Farauta” was formed to assist the military to halt the insurgents from conquering more territories.
He explained that the formation of Shege-Ka-Fasa was not like that of Amotekun, adding that no northern governor will want to support it.
The Taraba State Government also dissociated itself from the security outfit.
The Senior Special Assistant to Governor Darius Ishaku, Mr. Bala Dan Abu, who spoke on behalf of the state government said that the security outfit was a private affair, which did not originate from the governors.
“Taraba State is not a party to the formation of Shege Ka Fasa. It is a private affair and none of the northern governors was involved in its formation. Taraba State would only be involved if it was initiated at the Northern Governors’ Forum.
“We don’t know the mission and motive behind the formation of the outfit. It would have been a different issue if the idea was mooted by the governors. We will not support a situation where private individuals would form a security outfit and invite governors to key into it. It should be the other way round,” he stated.
The Kaduna State government said it was not even aware of the CNG’s initiative.
Responding to THISDAY’s inquiry on the issue, the Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr. Samuel Aruwan, simply said: “I am not aware of the development.”
Indications that the outfit would not enjoy the support of the northern region had emerged on Thursday when the Sultan of Sokoto blamed the northern elite for allowing some youths to float Operation Shege Ka Fasa.
The sultan, who spoke at a northern security meeting in Kaduna, urged the regional leaders to caution the youths.
He had said: “I saw it on the television and the media gave them attention. Now, the elders allowed these youths to go forward. So, the elite are our problems; the elders are our problems. If the elders don’t take the lead, the youth will do whatever they like and think they are right. You have to caution these youths by giving them good leadership.
“Now, they have launched their own security outfit I don’t know what they call it, Shege Ka Fasa’, meaning what?
“So, I want to call on northern elders to caution them. Don’t allow these youths to take over leadership from you. You have to reach out to everybody no matter how low the person is. So, I think we need to take the bull by the horns and not allow the youths take over responsibility. I think we need to do that and much more.”
A day after the sultan kicked against the proposal to set up Shege Ka Fasa, Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, became the first governor to publicly disowned the CNG’s initiative.
Ganduje who led a delegation from the state to visit President Muhammadu Buhari told State House reporters in Abuja last Friday that the state government had invested so much in security that it would be unnecessary to consider any other external arrangement.
According to him, the state provides conducive environment for the security agencies, adding that Command and Control Centre was established where security agencies communicate with one another.
Investigations by THISDAY showed that one of the reasons for the governors’ rejection of the CNG’s initiative was that many of the northern states currently have various security outfits of their own funded by the governments.
For example, Sokoto State has a security outfit called Sokoto Corps Marshal, established by the then Governor, Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko.
The Sokoto Corps Marshal, among other functions, controls traffic at junctions and provides security in tertiary, secondary and primary schools.
It also enforces law and order in the market and other public places during important occasions.
They were also attached to very important personalities to provide security.
The neighbouring Zamfara State also uses local vigilante to maintain law and orders, and also provide intelligence information to the army, police and other security agencies.
Meanwhile, the governors of the North-central states will hold a security meeting later this month in Minna, the Niger State capital, as a follow-up to the one recently held in Lafia, Nasarawa State.
The Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, while announcing the upcoming meeting, said the state government would work with other states in the zone to strengthen the security of the area.
A statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Rafiu Ajakaye, noted that “apart from its own individual efforts to further secure the state, the Kwara State Government is working with other governments in the North-central region to strengthen security.
“Indeed, governors from the region will be having a security meeting later this month in Minna as a follow up to the one recently held in Lafia, Nasarawa. Kwara believes in working with sister states for better results.
“Back home, as can be seen in the budgetary priorities, the government is doing everything to productively engage the youths, provide safety net for the poorest of the poor and the elderly and attract investments to the state through heavy investments in basic amenities/infrastructure,” the statement explained.
South-east Govs Ask State Assemblies to Enact Laws on Joint Security Outfit, Write FG
Meanwhile, the South-east Governors’ Forum last night in Enugu asked the state Houses of Assembly in the five states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo to come up with the necessary legislation to back up the formation of a South-east security outfit.
The proposed new law will also give a name and other details of the outfit which launch is expected to be supervised by the federal government.
Rising from about five-hour closed-door meeting at the Government House, Enugu, the governors said they had already officially written the federal government on their plans, noting that the regional security outfit would ensure that security of lives and property of the people of the zone were guaranteed.
A communiqué read by the Chairman of the Forum and Ebonyi State Governor, Chief David Umahi, revealed that the governors received briefing from the Zonal Security Committee as well as other committees saddled with the responsibilities of finding solutions to problems facing different sectors in the zone.
The governors also received the Ime-Obi members of apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, led by its President General, Chief John Nnia Nwodo.
According to the communique, the South-east governors were the first to form a joint security on July 28, 2019 and inaugurated the committee on August 31, 2019, long before the formation of Amotekun by South-west governors.
“The forum took briefing from Chairman of South-east Joint Security Committee and is satisfied with all the arrangement that will lead to South-east state Houses of Assembly to enact a law to back up the South-east Security Programme with a name to the outfit.
“Forum had written the federal government in this respect and at an appropriate time we shall be inviting the federal government to note the details of our various committees for protection of lives and property.
“The forum assures the people of the zone that the states have their vigilante and the Forest Guards who will work with security agencies daily in various communities for protection of lives and property.
“The South-east governors took a brief on the rehabilitation and expansion of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu from the Governor of Enugu State, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and the Chairman of the Works Committee of the South-east Governors on the Project, Mr. Chris Okoye.
“Forum noted the quality and speedy progress of work by the contractor, PW Nigeria Limited. Forum is very satisfied with the progress so far made and assurances of integrated safety and landing facilities, fencing and drainages incorporated in his package.”
The forum therefore commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika for the project and assures the people of South-east that the federal government was committed to the reopening of the Airport by March 31, 2020.
Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu and his Anambra counterpart, Mr. Willie Obiano represented by his deputy, Nkem Okeke respectively according to the communique had briefed the forum on the progress of work on Enyimba Economic City and Second Niger Bridge.
The governors said a full view of ongoing work on Second Niger Bridge was shown to them and the forum and stakeholders commended President Buhari; Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola; the Chief of Staff to the President, Malam Abba Kyari and the Managing Director of Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Mr. Uche Orji for the project becoming a reality.
The meeting was attended by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State; Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State; Chairman of the Forum, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State and Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Nkem Okeke.