Vice President Yemi Osinbajo raised alarm, yesterday, that Boko Haram members were targeting to bomb the houses of VIPs.
This came as governors of Yobe, Ibrahim Gaidem and Borno, Kassim Shetima also stated that the insurgents still occupied five local governments of the two states.
Osinbajo made the disclosure during the National Economic Council, NEC, meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The Vice President, who decried the effect of the insurgency on the economic life of the north east, stated that public enlightenment needed to be carried out through radio and television to create more awareness.
He also argued that pressure should be mounted on the new service chiefs to stem the rising tide of insurgency in the country.
Meanwhile, there was no specific mention of the location of the VIP’s houses which the insurgents were said to be targeting for attack.
His concerns were contained in the communique issued at the end of the meeting and made available to newsmen
Scavengers being prepared by insurgents to dump bombs
According to the communique, “the Vice President regretted that the insurgency has affected the economic life of the north east and the country as a whole. He called for the council to speak as a team to put pressure on the service chiefs to increase their effort in fighting insurgency.
“There should be increase in sensitization and education channels like radio, television. The Vice President also disclosed that security report has it that scavengers are now being prepared by insurgents to dump refuse laden with bombs in the houses of VIPs.
“Governors of Yobe, Borno, Taraba, Kaduna, Gombe, Plateau and Bauchi States took turns to inform the council of security concerns in those regions,” while “Governors of Yobe and Borno raised the alarm of five local government areas of the two states still being in possession of the insurgents”.
The governors called for increase in military deployment and provision of sophisticated military equipment in those areas, insisting that “insurgents were still hiding in the Sambisa forest.”
While lending his voice, Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State “suggested that special economic angle should be introduced in addition to military intervention to deal with Boko Haram problem.”
On cattle rustling and banditry, NEC stated Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State disclosed that most of the cattle rustlers were in Kumuku national part, saying that if not properly handled, it could result to another Sambisa forest.
On CBN intervention funds
Giving updates on intervention funds by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to states, NEC said it had “received a presentation from the CBN governor on the update of restructuring of bank loans for the states and payment of salary arrears.”
According to the communique, “the governor informed the council that following meetings with banks, it was agreed that existing loans should be restructured for the minimum of 20 years while salary arrears should also be restructured for the minimum of 15 years and not exceed more than 20 years.”
It added that states could opt for two options which incident “the bond option which will attract market rate and the dent restructuring option which will attract single digit rate.”
By way of resolution, “Council resolved that a four-man team made up of of the governor of Bauchi, Rivers, Ondo and Osun States are to follow up with the CBN to ensure that the issues of Excess Crude Collateral for the States are sorted out by next week Tuesday.”
States to cut cost of governance
Briefing State House corespondents at the end of the NEC meeting, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, who was flanked by the governors of Enugu, Plateau and Kebbi States, said NEC also directed states to reduce the cost of governance. He, however, did not give specifics on how that would be done.
He said: “We have just finished the 59th meeting economic council in which a lot of issues were deliberated upon. We resolved that all states should find ways to reduce their cost of governance.
“We do not have a uniform template on how to reduce the cost of governance but is very clear that states in the specific situations will find different ways and means of ensuring the cost of running governance is not as huge as it has always been.
“So, it is left for the states in their respective situation to find different ways of cutting cost but what is important is that we cannot continue with the kind of huge burden or huge cost we apply to run our government. A situation where you are having a huge percentage of your budget as recurrent expenditure is obviously not acceptable. And you must look for ways in reducing the cost of administration in the various states.”