Southern Governors Meets In Asaba, Sends Powerful Message To Buhari On Worsening Insecurity

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…Expresses worry on yet anticipated another Covid-19 lockdown

The Southern Governors Forum on Tuesday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the nation over the worsening security situation in the country.

The Governors met in Asaba, the Delta State capital, where they were hosted by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, and 12 points were agreed upon for the progress of the nation.

The Governors also called for the ban on open grazing in the South and asked the Federal Government to support any state willing to accommodate herders, in building alternative and modern livestock management systems.

In a 12-point communique read by the Chairman of the forum, Governor Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, the Governors “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.

“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; noted 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); recommended that the Federal Government should support willing States to develop alternative and modern livestock management systems.

“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.

“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; recommended 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 the federal character as Nigeria’s overall population is heterogenous.

“Resolved to foster cooperation among the Southern States and the nation at large; 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 meeting, 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; the meeting expressed 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.

“Expressed very grave concern on the security challenges currently plaguing the nation and strongly urged that Mr President should address Nigerians on the challenges of insecurity and restore the confidence of our people; and expressed gratitude to our host, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for his generosity and hospitality”.

The meeting which started at about 12 noon and ended at about 4:20 p.m, saw in attendance, Governors Okowa of Delta, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, Willi Obiano of Anambra, Douye Diri of Bayelsa, Godwin Obaseki of Edo and David Umahi of Ebonyi.

Others present were Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, Seyi Makinde of Oyo, Nyesom Wike of Rivers.

While Hope Uzodimma of Imo and Udom Emmanuel of Akwa-Ibom were represented by their deputies, Governors Gboyega Oyetola of Osun and Ben Ayade of Cross River States were absent.

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