Coalition Of Southern Groups Backs Southern Governors On Restructuring, Ban On Open Grazing

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By Ndu Samuel, Asaba 

As more groups across the country continue to give the governors of southern Nigeria a path on the back for the resolutions reached at it’s recent meeting in Asaba Delta State, Coalition of Southern Groups (CSG) has aligned with the governors calling  for a collaboration to ending insecurity, achieving restructuring and end to open grazing by herders across southern Nigeria.

The group  which is the apex umbrella body of  all indigenous associations in the Southern Nigeria made the call in a communique issued after an emergency meeting held from 12 to 13 May 2021.

The 20 point  communique was  signed by the trio of Asiwaju Oladotun Hassan, Esq, President, Coalition of Southern Groups/Global President,Yoruba Council of Youths Worldwide(Igbimo Apapo Yoruba Lagbaye), Mazi Okwu Nnabuike, Secretary General, Coalition of Southern  Groups/President General, Ohaneze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide and Barr. Pereotubo Roland Oweilaemi, Publicity Secretary, Coalition of Southern Groups/ Fmr. President, Ijaw Youth Council, a copy of which was obtained by the Liberator Newspapers  Worldwide on Friday.

The coalition is  made up of leaders and members of Ijaw Youth Council, National Council of Itsekiri Youths, Ibibio Youth Assembly, Isoko Youth Coalition, Ohaneze Ndigbo Youth Council, National Ogoni Youth Development Network, South-South Socio Cultural Organisation,  Yoruba Council of Youths Worldwide (Igbimo Apapo Yoruba Lagbaye) and other leading Southern Groups hereby submit herein.

The group said they were compelled to align themselves with the position of the governors on the issues raised at the Asaba meeting  in order to save the nation from imminent collapse.

The communique reads “In line with the principles of morality and necessity aimed towards the advancements of our democracy, the leadership of CSG considers it most incumbent upon us as leaders of the various apex indigenous associations, NGO’s cum Community Based Organisations and other national youth, students and women groups at the grassroots domiciled in the Southwest,  South South and South East Zones of Nigeria to commend and endorse the entire resolutions reached by the Southern Governors forum in Asaba on 11th May, 2021, having reviewed the raging situations in the nation generally and whereby specifically focused on the current hydra headed security situation, frustrations and agitations/demands for restructuring and quest for a new People’s Constitution, prospect for inter-state joint efforts collaborations, while building robust synergy towards attaining solid national sustainable socio-economic  development growth respectively”

“While we aligned with the aforementioned resolutions,  we wish to further implore the Governors to aggressively work on building stronger national alliances with their Northern counterparts, in order to forge a common face for the ongoing emancipation struggle confronting the Nigeria nation.”

“In view of the affirmed resolution by the Southern Governors Forum on 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 economíc development and prosperity; we hereby request the Governors to extend hands of solidarity to the Northern Governors Forum, all Senators, House of Representatives and State Houses of Assemblies to jointly build a bigger frontiers of unity on the premise of principles  of necessity and concentration of forces to implement all agreed resolutions with specific timeliness before the first quarter of (March) 2022 amongst others.”

“On the second resolution, we wish inform beyond banning of open grazing in the land based on the  observed incursions by the armed herders, criminals and bandits into the Southern part of the country, other regions of the North and now in FCT has further 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. Consequent upon this leading to the resolution that open grazing of cattle be banned across Southern Nigería; hence, beyond banning of open grazing we advised that better alternative strategic plans be urgently put in place such as: Establishment of the National Joint Regional Security Networks Agency under a common regional structures ie: Southern Nigeria Joint Regional Security Networks Agency, while the North are hereby advised to key into this strategy inorder to provide adequate security synergy under the auspices of our various local security oriented and conscious groups and individuals such as Agbekoya, OPC, Amotekun,  F’olumo and other Eastern and South South security groups,  with adequate demand for immediate mass recruitment exercise and followed up with unprecedented huge financial supports to aquire best expertise, training and purchase more sophisticated armoury and logistic supplies and supports to fight the terrorists herders and other militating criminalities currently perpetrated within the zones.”

“Also, we implore a better immediate workable plan of action to kick start Southern Nigeria(Southwest/Southeast and South- South) Agricultural Economic Development Zone Agency as a best alternative means to conspicuously occupy and take charge of all our forest reserves, abandoned bushes and creeks with different mass agriculture activities such as Animal husbandry,  piggery,  fisheries and mechanised farming; all within our forest  reserves currently used by the criminal herders across all the Southern States of Nigeria.” 

“While ensuring to use the opportunity to constructively establish a well developed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)/Public Private Partnership Agricultural Scheme under the auspices of the Southern Agricultural Economic Development Zones Agency to ensure both local (operating within our regional space, including our State’s Ministries of Agriculture) and foreign Cattle Breeders from Brazil, Botswana, Argentina are granted proper registration and licensing rights  before they can be allowed to occupy a specific ranches with proper background investigation, monitoring and coordination respectively.” 

“Based on this premise, note 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. Given this scenario, it becomes imperative to enforce the ban on open grazing in the South (including Cattle movement to the South by foot)”
“However,  we need to build a mass grazing reserved farms for both foreign and our Southern local investors to take advantage of the enormous growing opportunities in the Agricultural sector.”

“In line with this, we implore that less attention be placed on the Federal Government’s intervention, due to their lack of genuine willingness to support WILLING Southern States to develop alternative and modern livestock management systems.”

“However we call for a  National/Southern Zones Agricultural Emergency Summit to address this issues, inorder to draw up implementable strategies respectively.”

“We are impressed with this giant strides on the agreed terms to progress the nation predicated upon the urgent and bold steps 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

“We categorically wish to state that charity begins at home, hence this measure might need more bold steps to enact state assembly laws on some of the key fundamentals,  while calling on the Southern Governors Forum to act on the most important policy drive for growth, which are youth empowerment and transparent sustainable economic development via enactment of the National and Southern(States) Youth Right Acts in their various states, National/Southern Plebiscite and Referendum Commission to annually engage the people on all variables interest and policies directly affecting them, enactment of the National/Southern Education Right Laws, Establishment of the National/Southern Youth Development Commission via their various states, also we demand the urgent need for a decentralised economic plan that will give 100% autonomy to the Local Governments and Ward level Administration respectively.”

“This and many more positively driven home grown policies subject to genuine willingness from the Southern Governors are expected to yield a better result in the medium and long term plans, before the FG stabilises itself.”

“On this premise, it is most important to advise the Southern Governors Forum to independently organise their various State’s Conferences, wherein resolutions reached can be projected further at the regional level and central Southern Nigeria basis, while calling on their Northern Governors to do same, before calling on  the FG to convoke a National Dialogue, while before then resolutions reached at the last 2014 CONFAB can be subjected to review, ratification and recommended as a collective solution,  in view of the widespread agitations among our various peoples for greater inclusiveness in existing governance arrangements, hence we the Coalition of Southern Groups laconically doubt the sincerity and capacity of the FG to drive this noble agenda, because the present APC led Federal Government hing its  own campaign promises and strategy on Restructuring, National Security and Economic Revolution, but failed to implement such till date, however, we see this as a clarion call premised on moral duty to President Muhammadu Buhari led administration to decisively act on the aforementioned respectively.”

“We call on the Southern Governors Forum to immediately constitutes a well concerted 21 Man Constitutional Draftsmen Committee (Including highly referred legal minds, erudite political and social class, youths and women respectively) that shall consider to dissect and reconstruct all areas of regional interest in the 1999 Constitution, that will then lead to general public opinion polls via a mega plebiscite and referendum  presentation for ratification of a new People’s  constitution before recommended by the Southern Governors to the FG.”

“This aforementioned fundamentals will go a long way to address the sensitivities of our various peoples, however there is the need to agree with the Southern Governors on the urgent need to review all previous and recent  appointments into Federal Government Agencies (including Security Agencies and parastatals) to reflect federal character as Nigeria’s overall population is heterogenous”

“We align with their points resolved to foster cooperation among the Southern States and the nation at large. In this connection, Secretaries to the Governments of the Southern States are to work together to develop and institutionalize a mechanism to foster this cooperation which will advance the comparative economic advantages and other interests of the SouthernStates”

“However, we use this medium to call on the FG to grant Special Status recognition to Lagos State, Enugu and Calabar, being a fast growing states with the highest population growth, hence the need to specially appreciate the Southern Governors 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 further call on the FG to accede their recommendation for activation and establishment of ports in other States of thefederation to create new jobs and promote socio-economic activities in the country.”

“Highly needful to advise the Southern Governors to look into the conversion of most of the unused and  abandoned buildings belonging to the FG or seized buildings by the EFCC to be used as Isolation centres,  while more medical institutions(both private and public health care institutions):be granted adequate financial backup for this purpose,  while commending the Southern Governors on their resolutions on the economic implications of another lockdown on the country, and while suggesting greater coordination and cooperation between Federal and State Governments in evolving strategies for dealing with the Covid 19 pandemic.”

“Furtherance to this, we appreciate the Southern Governors Forum on their expressed grave concern on the high spate of insecurity  challenges currently plaguing the nation and having strongly urged Mr. President to address Nigerians on the challenges of insecurity so as to restore the confidence of Nigerians.”

“We therefore as leaders of the Coalition of Southern Groups representing the following groups: Ijaw Youth Council, National Council of Itsekiri Youths, Ibibio Youth Assembly, Isoko Youth Coalition, Ohaneze Ndigbo Youth Council, National Ogoni Youth Development Network, South-South Socio Cultural Organisation and Yoruba Council of Youths Worldwide, Igbimo Apapo Yoruba Lagbaye and other leading Southern Groups hereby submit herein.”

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