State governors have said all criminals perpetrating crimes across the country should be prosecuted without favouritism towards any ethnic or religious group.
The governors made the decision among others at their emergency meeting of the Nigeria Governors Forum held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday evening.
The forum’s chairman and governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, addressed journalists at the end of the meeting that ended in the early hours of Thursday, stressing a need for comprehensive prosecution of criminals.
Fayemi said state governors remained committed to the protection of lives and property in the states.
He said while sympathising with victims of the recent security challenges in parts of the country, the NGF had provided some financial support to victims of the crises experienced in Oyo and Ogun states where its delegation visited last week.
The governor said, “Nigerian governors also are very clear that crime and criminality should be comprehensively prosecuted wherever they may occur without ethnic, religious or any other colouration.
“Governors are totally opposed to ethnic profiling of crime. Knowing what has transpired in other parts of the world, whether we are talking of the way youths were profiled in Germany leading to the World War, or we talking of the way Tutsis were profiled leading to the genocide experienced in Rwanda, we do not believe that crimes are associated with a particular ethnic group.
“And to that extent, we unreservedly condemn any attempt to profile any ethnic group on account of a particular crime.
“Governors are also totally opposed to the proliferation of fake news, and the abuse of social media. Many of us have seen those fake videos that have almost led to reprisals in other parts of the country and we want to explore both our mainstream media organisations as well as individuals to apply restraint in the way and manner issues relating to the security of lives and property are reported.”
Fayemi went further to say that the meeting appraised the challenges of re-strategising the nation’s military institutions just as it received the appointment of new services chiefs, expressing the hope that a new security structure will unfold from the new leadership.
He added, “On our part, we are prepared to support the dedication of portions of the Excess Crude Account and the Natural Resource Development Fund and the Economic Stabilisation Fund to providing the necessary equipment for the military and other security institutions to address immediately the impunity associated with all of the crimes and criminality that we have highlighted in this briefing.
“In this wise, we have also expressed our interest in strengthening our judicial system so that they can accelerate access to justice for victims of crime and criminality in the country.
“Governors also reviewed the need to strengthen the National Livestock Transformation Plan because it the view of all the governors in Nigeria that the traditional approach to grazing is no longer sustainable and that modern approach to livestock management needs to be put in place and governors feel strongly that the strengthening of the National Livestock Transformation Plan would be a good place to start this comprehensive revisiting of the livestock management arrangement.
“Governors also highlighted in the course of our meeting, the importance of reviewing our forestry management and environmental law because we feel very strongly that our forests have become the den of these criminals and bandits simply because they have not been properly managed across the board.”