Restructuring: 17 Southern Governors Ban Open Grazing, Wants Buhari To Address Lopsided Appointments

The governors in a group photograph at the meeting in Asaba, Delta State

After their long overdue meeting, which held in Asaba the Delta State capital, the 17 governors in the Southern part of the country, under the aegis of the Southern Nigeria Governors Forum have banned open grazing of cattle across states in their region.

The Governors also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to address Nigerians on the state of insecurity in the nation and address other key issues that may lead to the breakup of Nigeria if the issues are continued to be ignored.

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

“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 statement added.

The governors who attended the all-important meeting include the Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa (host), Dr Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), and Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos).

The rest include 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 State Governors were absent at the meeting.

We present you with the communique at the end of 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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