The Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF) has lamented that lack of codified penal code has allowed criminals to get away with kidnapping, banditry, terrorism and other related crimes.
To this end, the forum urged the 19 states Houses of Assembly to enact a codified penal code to tackle incessant criminal activities bedevilling the region.
The outgoing chairman of the forum and governor of Borno State, Alh Kashim Shettima, made the disclosure in a valedictory remark he delivered in Kaduna on Friday.
He said: “I would like to, first of all, express my sincere appreciation and profound gratitude to your Excellencies for the considerable support and co-operation you have been giving me in the last four years. I have the honour of being the chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum.
“Within this period, we have been able to collectively make some modest achievements in various sectors, which are deliberately initiated and implemented for the overall growth and development of the Northern region and to some extent, Nigeria as a whole.
“This being my last meeting, both as a chairman and member of the Forum, I would like to highlight some of the achievements we have recorded since 2015 when I assumed the chairmanship position of the Forum.
“With the face of the increasing security challenges, especially emergent criminal activities such as kidnapping, cattle rustling, incessant communal clashes, inciting religious preaching and suicide bombings among others, most of which were not properly codified in the criminal justice system of Northern Nigeria, we found it judicially imperative to incorporate such criminal offences into the penal code.
“The Forum, therefore, established a committee of Attorneys-General of the 19 northern states to critically examine the provisions of the criminal justice system, vis-à-vis the emergent criminal activities, with a view to ensuring that perpetrators of such criminal offences are brought to justice.
“Accordingly, the forum advised all state Houses of Assembly in the 19 northern states to make amendments and modifications to the existing criminal justice system.
On drug abuse, Shettima remarked that sequel to persistent reports of the menace, especially among the youths and women in the Northern States, the Forum initiated the move to fight it in a holistic and all-encompassing manner by setting up committees of relevant stakeholders in each state of the region, in a bid to eliminate the scourge.
He said: “At the national level, the Forum made a passionate appeal to the Federal Government to frontally deal with the issue of drug abuse and possibly declare a state of emergency in the fight against the scourge.
“It is gratifying to note that the Federal Government has heeded our call, which culminated in the setting up of the Marwa Committee against drug abuse.
“I would, at this juncture, extend the Forum’s appreciation to the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hajiya Hadiza Bala Usman, and Dr. Vincent, a professional psychiatrist, for drawing the attention of the Forum to the problems associated with drug abuse and making invaluable and implementable recommendations on the way forward”.
The governor added that the Forum, in a bid to attain financial independence, resolved to create a joint financial institution, which could serve as a vehicle for the region’s economic recovery and overall sectoral development. In pursuance of this objective, each state is to contribute N50 million monthly for a period of six months.
“So far, we have N650 million out of the expected N5.7 billion. I am, therefore, calling on states that are yet to fulfill their pledge, to do so, in order to enable us embark on the implementation of the various programmes and projects articulated under the scheme. This include the establishment of a renewable energy plant, capable of generating 3000 – 4000MW of electricity.