Seventeen southern Governors today, Tuesday 11th of May 2021 in a meeting held at the Government house Asaba Delta state Issued a communique that urged president Muhammadu Buhari to address Nigerians on insecurity.
By Success Okuchemiya
The Southern Governors’ Forum reviewed the situation in the nation generally and focused on the current security situation, agitations/restructuring, prospect for inter-state collaboration and partnerships as well as on the incidence of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The Forum affirmed that the peoples of Southern Nigeria remain committed to the unity of Nigeria on the basis of justice, fairness, equity and oneness and peaceful co-existence between and among its peoples with a focus on the attainment of shared goals for economic development and prosperity.
Also the Forum observed that the incursion of armed herders, criminals and bandits into the Southern part of the country has presented a severe security challenge such that citizens are not able to live their normal lives including pursuing various productive activities leading to a threat to food supply and general security.
Consequently, the meeting resolved that open grazing of cattle be banned across Southern Nigeria noting that development and population growth has put pressure on available land and increased the prospects of conflict between migrating herders and local populations in the South .
According to the Forum,Given the above scenario, it becomes imperative to enforce the ban on open grazing in the South (including cattle movement to the South by foot);
recommended that the Federal Government should support WILLING States to develop alternative and modern livestock management systems,also the Governors agreed that the progress of the nation requires that urgent and bold steps be taken to restructure the Nigerian Federation leading to the evolution of state police, review of revenue allocation formula in favour of the sub-national governments and creation of other institutions which legitimately advance our commitment to and practice of true federalism.
The Forum recommended that in view of widespread agitations among our various peoples for greater inclusiveness in existing governance arrangements, the Federal Government should convoke a national dialogue as a matter of urgency,recommending that in deference to the sensitivities of our various peoples, there is need to review appointments into Federal Government Agencies (including Security Agencies) to reflect federal character as Nigeria’s overall population is heterogenous, they also resolved to foster cooperation among the Southern States and the nation at large.
The Governors however expressed concern on the continued gridlock on the Oshodi – Apapa Expressway and the chokehold it has exerted on the nation’s economy being the sole outlet from Apapa Wharf. The Governors therefore recommended the activation and establishment of ports in other States of the federation to create new jobs and promote socio-economic activities in the country expressing concern on the economic implications of another lockdown on the country, and therefore suggested greater coordination and cooperation between Federal and State Governments in evolving strategies for dealing with the pandemic.
While expressing grave concern on the security challenge currently plaguing the nation the governors urged Mr. President to address Nigerians on the challenges of insecurity and restore the confidence of our people.
The seventeen Governors also expressed gratitude to the host, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for his generosity and hospitality. The outcome of this meeting remains to be seen.