We’re ready to tackle North’s security challenges - Al-Makura
The Northern States Governors Forum resolved to address the problem of insecurity in some parts of the North after their emergency meeting in Abuja last week. The governor of Nasarawa State, Alhaji Umar Tanko Al-Makura, who was at the meeting, addressed the media on the issues raised. Idowu Samuel brings excerpts.
THE northern state governors have just met to draw strategies for ending the problem of security challenges in the region. What efforts would you put in place to fasttrack the implementation of the strategies in Lafia?
Nasarawa is an integral part of the monolithic North and whatever happens to the region will affect the state. We all sat down and the compared information on security and economy. We discovered that the North is really facing a tough time and necessity demands that we all sit down to take a common action to combat the problem. So, the first thing we discussed is the security issue which had caused many disturbances in the North, with economic activities disrupted.
That has a devastating effect on our social, economic and cultural lives. So, we set up a five-man committee to look into the problem and find a lasting solution.
The issues of poverty and unemployment were discussed exhaustively and we decided to look inwards and see what we can do within the limited resources at our disposal to help the situation. We also discussed the issue of revenue allocation in terms of derivation and we concluded that whatever is due in terms of accruals from our revenue should be given to the North.
We also examined our inputs on the proposed amendment of the constitution in such a way as to ensure that the interest of the northern region is adequately protected.
With the latest efforts coming from the northern governors, you can say that we are, more than ever before, prepared to solve the problem of security in the North and the solution lies in our working together to achieve that purpose.
For us in Nasarawa State, we have put in place a number of measures to guarantee safety of lives and property, just as we keep on exploring avenues for dialogue among our people to appreciate the essence of peaceful co-existence.
You seemed to have been deeply touched by a report that one of your children in Malaysia was involved in criminal conduct, prompting a strong denial from you. What really happened?
It was a calculated attempt to smear my integrity. I ordinarily would have written off the insinuation, knowing that every thing was political, but the concern of those who mean well for me and members of my family has necessitated my reaction.
I feel that I have a price to pay for leading a vanguard for ensuring transparency and down-to-earth democratic culture in our state. I know a lot of people are not happy with that and so they are keen on tarnishing my image by fabricating all manner of lies against me. I have no regrets whatsoever in my desire to lay a foundation for true democracy in Nasarawa State and I don’t care what they say about me because I know there is no iota of truth in what they were saying.
About the time they were making the fuss, my son was busy writing exams in his school, but the most unfortunate aspect was that he was being bombarded with phone calls from friends, family members and other well-wishers, thus distracting his attention. My son was never in politics and for people to so maliciously embark on the task of blackmailing him, to me, is the height of wickedness.
We had to appeal to him to face his exams and never to mind the mischief makers. My prayer is that God will expose those behind the wicked stigmatisation. People who live and work with me can testify that none of my family members would ever partake in crime of any sort because we are God-fearing people.
Is he likely to come down to Nigeria to show face as a means of dispelling the rumour against him?
He has started doing that already. He has been explaining things through text messages and Facebook with friends and his contacts back home. No matter what some of us said, some people would still prefer that he makes personal efforts to dispel the rumour. But he cannot be calling all day; as soon as he drops his pen after his exams, he will come back home for the holiday and make himself available to people to show that the bid of the enemies over him had amounted to nothing.
I feel the bid by the opponents to tarnish the image of the teenager is very wicked, callous and inhuman. I don’t understand why somebody would look at me and my family and smear us with this kind of blackmail. I leave everything to God.Share