REMARKS BY THE HON. MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE, ALHAJI LAI MOHAMMED, AT THE SPECIAL TOWN HALL MEETING ON SECURITY (BANDITRY, CATTLE RUSTLING AND KIDNAPPING) IN KATSINA, KATSINA STATE, ON TUESDAY 15 OCT. 2019
Your Excellencies, the Executive Governors of Katsina, Kaduna, Sokoto and Zamfara States; Honourable Ministers, distinguished personalities, gentlemen of the press, good morning and welcome to this Special Edition of the our Town Hall Meeting Series.
2. Permit me to most sincerely thank our host, His Excellency the Executive Governor of Katsina State, Rt. Hon. Aminu Bello Masari, and indeed the entire government of Katsina State, for agreeing to host this Town Hall Meeting. Your Excellency, we appreciate your invaluable support and your hospitality for all the members of our team.
3. May I also extend my sincere appreciations to Your Excellencies; Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto and Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara, without whose support this event would not have been possible. I want to most sincerely thank my colleagues, the Honourable Ministers of Defence and Interior, both of whom have travelled with me
from Abuja for this Town Hall Meeting. Finally, my gratitude goes to all our invited guests, many of whom have travelled from long distances to be here. Thank you all.
4. Your Excellencies, Honourable Ministers, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the Ministry of Information and Culture launched the Town Hall Meetings in Lagos on April 25th 2016 to provide a platform for the federal government to regularly give account of its stewardship to the people, get a feedback and input from them and, overall, to enhance citizens’ participation in governance. This will be the 16th edition of the Town Hall Meetings and the first since the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office for its
5. As you are all aware, one of the cardinal programmes of the Buhari Administration is to tackle insecurity across the country.
Whether it is Boko Haram, banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling or armed robbery, the Administration has faced the challenges posed by insecurity with grit and determination. The Federal Government is unrelenting in tackling these challenges because without peace and security, there can be no development.
6. Here in the North-west, the security challenges – Banditry, Cattle Rustling and Kidnapping – have been unique and daunting. The deadly attacks that claimed lives and destroyed property were daily making headline news all over the country. At a stage, the situation became so bad in some of the states in the North-west that many felt they were intractable. But thanks to the unrelenting efforts of the Federal government as well as the determination and innovative efforts of the governments of the affected states, there has been a remarkable
improvement, and peace and security are gradually returning to the worst-hit states.
7. Unfortunately, the progress that has been made in combating banditry, cattle rustling and kidnapping has not made the kind of headlines that the security challenges were making at their peak. It has therefore become imperative for the Federal Government, working with the affected states, to provide a platform for the Governors of the front-line states to highlight the successes they have achieved in their various states in tackling these cases of insecurity, as well as for relevant Federal Government Ministers to highlight the efforts
that have helped to drastically reduce the level of insecurity in the North West.
8. That is why we decided to organize this Town Hall Meeting. It is hoped that at the end of the Meeting, the great efforts of the Governors of the front-line states of Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara, as well as the contributions of the Federal Government, under the leadership of President Buhari, would have been well documented and, of course, widely reported.
9. Today’s Town Hall Meeting is very unique. Since we started in 2016, this is the first time that we are having Governors from the APC and the PDP as panelists. This is first a testimony to the fact that this Federal Government does not play politics with the security and welfare of citizens and, secondly, a reflection of the patriotism, commitment and nationalism of the Governors, irrespective of their party affiliations. I congratulate all of us for being part of this historic outing.
10. Finally, the format for today’s event is that their Excellencies the Governors of Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara, in that order, will take turns to speak, followed by the Honourable Ministers of Defence and Interior. After that, we will take questions from the audience. I want to implore all speakers to make their presentations short and sharp, so that we can have enough time to take as many questions as possible.
11. Once again, Your Excellencies, Honourable Ministers, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for your kind attention. May I now call on the host Governor, the Rt Hon. Aminu Bello Masari, to speak.