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 Southwest hit a snag after northern governors rejected the initiative, describing the name of the outfit as abusive and derogatory; and indicating their preference for community policing to secure the region.
“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,” Plateau state Governor and Chairman of the Northern State Governors’ Forum (NSGF), Simon Lalong, said through his Commissioner for Information, Dan Manjang; who, in an interview 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.”
Lalong’s views were also conveyed to reporters in another interview over the weekend by his Director of Press (DOPA), Dr. Simon Macham. Manjang said the name of the outfit was not only derogatory but abusive, adding that the governors will continue to support community policing. “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. The governors will meet and come up with a more organised position that will be backed by law.”
The 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 hijack their responsibilities. Sources told Huhuonline.com 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. CNG spokesman, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, told reporters in Kaduna that the group had written to the Northern State Governors’ Forum (NSGF) to support the initiative; threatening that 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 government.
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 northern governors under the auspices of NSGF thumbed down the proposal, saying they would not be a party to the arrangement
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 the initiative. The sultan, who spoke at a northern security meeting in Kaduna, urged the regional leaders to call the youths to order. 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? 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. 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 Operation Shege Ka Fasa, Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, became the first governor to publicly disown the 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 has provided a conducive environment for security agencies, saying a command and control center has been established to harmonize and synergize the activities of security agencies.
Adamawa State Governor, Umaru Fintiri, also expressed similar sentiments through his Director General, Media and Communications, 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 also 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, Bala Dan Abu, who spoke on behalf of the state government, told reporters 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 States 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. The Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, simply said: “I am not aware of the development.”
Huhuonline.com understands that the main reason for the governors’ rejection of Shege Ka Fasa was because many of the northern states currently have various security outfits of their own funded by the state governors who have vested financial interests in their operations and viewed the CNG initiative as competition. For example, Sokoto has a security outfit called Sokoto Corps Marshal, established by the then Governor, 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. Neighboring Zamfara also uses local vigilante to maintain law and orders, and to provide intelligence information to the army, police and other security agencies.
Meanwhile, 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. Kwara Governor, 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, 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.
In another development, the Southeast 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 Southeast security outfit like Amotekun.
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 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.