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BREAKING: Insecurity: Southern Governors Ban Open Grazing, Ask Buhari To Address Nation

The governors in 17 states of the southern part of Nigeria have demanded President Muhammadu Buhari to address Nigerians on the challenges of insecurity and restore the confidence of the people.

The Forum stated this in a 12-point communique read by its Chairman, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State at the end of its four hours meeting held in Asaba, the Delta state capital.

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The governors affirmed that the people 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.

He said, “Southern Governors 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.

“We 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;

“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.

“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.”

The forum expressed concern on the continued gridlock on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway.

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 Southern Governors also 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.

Fifteen governors were in attendance at the meeting.

They are Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Dr Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), and Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos).

Others are Douye Diri (Bayelsa), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), David Umahi (Ebonyi), Willie Obiano (Anambra). Imo and Akwa Ibom States were represented by their deputy governors, while Osun and Cross Rivers states were absent at the meeting.

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE MEETING OF THE GOVERNORS OF SOUTHERN NIGERIA IN GOVERNMENT HOUSE, ASABA, DELTA STATE, ON TUESDAY, 11TH MAY, 2021

At its meeting, held today, 11th May, 2021, 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. Rising from the meeting, the Forum:

i) 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 economíc development and prosperity;

ii) 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 Nigería;

iii) 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);

iv) recommended that the Federal Government should support WILLING States to develop alternative and modern
livestock management systems;

v) 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;

vi) 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;

vii) 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 federal character as Nigeria’s overall
population is heterogenous;

viii) 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 Southern
States;

ix) 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;

x) 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;

xi) expressed very grave concern on the security challenge 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

xii) expressed gratitude to our host, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa
for his generosity and hospitality.

Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN
Governor, Ondo State

His Excellency
Dr. Victor Okezie Ikpeazu
Governor, Abia State

His Excellency
Chief Emmanuel Udom
Governor, Akwa Ibom State

His Excellency
Senator Diri Draoye
Governor, Bayelsa State

His Excellency
Willie Obiano
Governor, Anambra State

His Excellency
Prof. Ben Ayade
Governor, Cross Rivers State

His Excellency
Senator Dr. feanyi Okowa
Governor, Delta State

His Excellency
Engr. David Umahi
Governor, Ebonyi State

His Excellency
Godwin Obaseki
Governor, Edo State

His Excellency
John Olukayode Fayemi
Governor, Ekiti State

His Excellency
Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi
Governor, Enugu State

His Excellency
Senator Hope Uzodimma
Governor, Imo State

His Excellency
Babajide Sanwo-Olu
Governor, Lagos State

His Excellency
Dapo Abiodun
Governor, Ogun State

His Excellency
Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola
Governor, Osun State

His Excellency
Oluwaseyi Abiodun Makinde
Governor, Oyo State

His Excellency
Ezenwo Nyesom Wike
Governor, Rivers State

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