BEVERLY HILLS, May 11, (THEWILL) – Seventeen governors of all the 17 states in Southern Nigeria rose from their meeting on security, at Asaba, Delta State, on Tuesday, and resolved to immediately ban the movement of cattle on foot to their territory as well as outlawing open grazing, as panaceas for tackling the insecurity in their region.
They also called for the restructuring of the Federation as well as for the Federal Government to initiate the immediate convocation of a national dialogue as a matter of urgency.
According to them, the national dialogue would facilitate the emergence of the much-canvassed state police as well as a new revenue allocation formula.
They also asked President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently address the nation about the country’s security situation in order to reignite the confidence of citizens.
The communiqué bore the assent of all the 17 governors in the region, including: Chairman of the forum, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), Governor of Ondo State; Dr. Victor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State; Chief Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom State; Senator Diri Duoye of Bayelsa State; Willie Obiano of Anambra State; Ben Ayade of Cross River State; Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State; David Umahi of Ebonyi State; Godwin Obaseki of Edo State; John Olukayode Fayemi of Ekiti State; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State; Hope Uzodimma of Imo State; Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State; Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State; Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State; Oluwaseyi Abiodun Makinde of Oyo State; and Ezenwo Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.
THEWILL here reproduces the full text of the communiqué.
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 economic 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
Dr. Victor Okezie Ikpeazu
Governor, Abia State
Chief Emmanuel Udom
Governor, Akwa Ibom State
Senator Diri Draoye
Governor, Bayelsa State
Governor, Anambra State
Prof. Ben Ayade
Governor, Cross Rivers State
Senator Dr. feanyi Okowa
Governor, Delta State
Engr. David Umahi
Governor, Ebonyi State
Governor, Edo State
John Olukayode Fayemi
Governor, Ekiti State
Governor, Enugu State
Senator Hope Uzodimma
Governor, Imo State
Governor, Lagos State
Governor, Ogun State
Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola
Governor, Osun State
Oluwaseyi Abiodun Makinde
Governor, Oyo State
Ezenwo Nyesom Wike
Governor, Rivers State