As bandits and other criminal elements continue to perpetrate senseless attacks on soft attacks in some parts of Nigeria Southern governors, operating under the aegis of Southern Governors Forum, held a closed-door meeting in Asaba, Delta state on Wednesday. Of the 17 southern states, 13 governors were in attendance at the meeting. They are Governor Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Dr. Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Willy Obiano (Anambra), Douye Diri (Bayelsa), David Umahi (Ebonyi), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) and Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo). After individual attempts to address the threat of open grazing in Southern states, the Forum of Southern Governors in one voice, yesterday, announced a ban on open grazing in all the 17 Southern states. They recommended that the Federal Government should support willing states to develop alternative and modern livestock management systems.
Some of the agreement arrived at during the meeting include:
i. Agree to ban open grazing in Southern Nigeria.
ii. Call for convocation of national dialogue.
iii. Insist on federal character.
iv. Reiterate Southerners’ commitment to Nigeria’s unity.
v. Express concern over Oshodi-Apapa expressway gridlock.
vi. Buhari approves new security measures for South-East, South-South.
vii. Military tactics should no longer be publicised—NSA
viii. Don’t be selective in handling situations, PANDEF tells FG By Festus Ahon, Johnbosco Agbakwuru & Davies Iheamnachor.
The governors met on a day President Muhammadu Buhari also, for the third time in two weeks, met with service chiefs and heads of other security agencies and approved new security measures to curtail insecurity in the South-East and South-South geopolitical zones of the country.
The governors in the 12-point communique read by the chairman of Southern Governors Forum and governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, “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.
The communique read in part: “Governors 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. Governors 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,” it added.
“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 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.”