Southern governors ban open grazing, urge Buhari to address Nigerians over increasing insecurity

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Governors of the 17 southern part of Nigeria under the umbrella of Southern Governors Forum, have banned open grazing of cattle. The governors also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to address Nigerians on the challenges of insecurity and restore the confidence of the people.
The governors took the decisions at a meeting which held on Tuesday in Asaba, Delta state.
The meeting was attended by 15 of governors which include the governors of Ekiti, Delta, Rivers, Edo, Ebonyi, Ondo, Ogun, Oyo, Lagos, Bayelsa, Abia, Enugu and Anambra states.
The governors of Imo and Akwa Ibom states, were represented by their deputy governors, while Osun and Cross Rivers states were absent.
In a communique read at the end of the meeting by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state, the governors declared that the people of Southern Nigeria remained committed to the unity of Nigeria on the basis of justice, fairness, equity, oneness, and peaceful co-existence among its peoples.
The governors decried the incursion of armed herders and bandits which has posed a serious challenge to citizens as they can no longer move about freely without being attacked.
The governors said: “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 governors also expressed concern on the economic implications of another lockdown on the country and called for greater coordination and cooperation between Federal and state governments in evolving strategies for dealing with the pandemic.

Below is the full text of the communique

At its meeting held today, 11th May, 2021, the Southern Governors Forum reviewed the situation in the nation generally and focused 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 Nigeria;
(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; 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;
(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 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.

Signed:
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 Willie Obiano Governor, Anambra State

His Excellency Senator Diri Duoye Governor, Bayelsa State

His Excellency Prof. Ben Ayade Governor, Cross Rivers State

His Excellency Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa Governor, Delta State

His Excellency Engr. Dave 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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