Northern governors meet over insecurity, VAT, open grazing

Governors of the 19 Northern states in the country are currently in a closed-door meeting in Kaduna over the level of insecurity bedevilling the region as well as the controversial Value Added Tax (VAT) and open grazing which has been on the front burner of discourse in recent times.

Declaring the meeting open in Kaduna on Monday, the Chairman of Northern Governors Forum, Plateau state governor, Simon Lalong said the meeting is also expected to deliberate on the peace, progress, and development of the region and the nation at large.

“You will recall that we met here in February this year to look at a wide range of issues concerning the well-being of our people. The meeting held at this Chamber was also attended by the Deputy Speaker House of Representatives, and other Members of the National Assembly; the Chief of Staff to the President; Minister of Information and Culture; the Inspector General of Police; Director-General States Security Service; Chairmen of the Northern States Traditional Rulers Council led by His Eminence the Sultan of Sokoto amongst others.

“After hours of exhaustive deliberations, we arrived at several resolutions bordering on improving the security of our region; enhancing socio-economic prosperity of the people; addressing humanitarian challenges of internally displaced persons; building synergy with the Federal Government and our counterparts from other parts of the country among others.

“This Forum also received various reports from the Committees we earlier constituted and resolved to look into the Reports for implementation, while awaiting the completion of work on others.

“Various presentations were also made by individuals and corporate organizations for the development of the Region which we all agreed to carefully examine.

“Today’s meeting is essentially to get an update on the progress made so far on some of those items particularly on addressing insecurity which is still a major concern in the region.

“We shall therefore take stock of how far we have gone in tackling banditry, kidnapping, and insurgency and also chart the way forward.

“In addition, we shall also take a critical look at some new national issues that have emerged over the recent months and weeks with a view to coming up with a position of the region as well as adopting the best possible approach to ensuring that the interest of the region is protected and promoted.

“Key among them is the issue of Value Added Tax collection and the surrounding controversy.

“As usual, I look forward to robust contributions from all members that will lead us to arrive at very meaningful conclusions that will impact positively on the fortunes of our people,” Lalong said.

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