Nigeria’s 36 state governors have tabled a fresh demand for a raise in the controversial ‘security votes’ which they draw monthly from the federal purse. The governors say this demand is a result of the escalating violence by the terrorist sect, Boko Haram, which has stretched routine allocations.
The state executives also called for the creation of a special intervention fund to augment their monthly security votes, as well as the establishment of state police as ways of tackling the crises.
But the bulk of the funds should go to states facing the onslaught, the governors said.
The routine security fund, a package the governors draw in hundreds of millions of naira monthly, has been criticized in the past as fuelling corruption since its deployments are never made public and not accounted for.
The governors met on Sunday night in Abuja under the aegis of its powerful body, The Nigeria Governors’ Forum, just after President Goodluck Jonathan’s televised media chat in which he, again, vowed to restore stability.
Bouts of violence flared sporadically in mainly northern states of Kaduna and Yobe for most of last week resulting in the death of dozens of persons. Fragile peace has been kept in place in the two areas by a crippling round-the-clock curfew that was reduced only on Sunday.
In the President’s interview, Mr. Jonathan reaffirmed his administration’s preparedness to implement a dialogue with the militant sect if its operators are known, in remarks that heralded no known fresh tactics. The president however said he would avoid public declarations since it had to do with national security.
In a statement after their meeting, the governors condemned the spate of violence and called for newer approach to dealing with it.
“Forum strongly condemned the current spate of insecurity and violence which has been drifting the nation towards anarchy and called for a multi-dimensional approach to security issues including enhanced coordination and collaboration among security forces, effective use of technology and intelligence, value re-orientation, employment generation and sincerity of purpose,” the body said.
They added that “state governments are currently overstretched in funding security and called for a special intervention fund from the Federal Government, especially to the States that are most affected.”
“Finally, the Forum identified the increasing need for State police as a strategy for combating the rising insecurity in the country.”