The 17 governors in the Southern part of the country under the aegis of Southern Nigeria Governors Forum have urged the Federal Government to urgently call a national dialogue to address the rising spate of insecurity in the country.
The governors reached this agreement at a security meeting held at the government house in Asaba, the Delta state capital on Tuesday.
In a 12-point communique read by the Chairman of Southern Governors Forum and Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, after the meeting, the governors also insisted on the ban of open grazing across the region.
They also recommended the support of the Federal Government for willing states to develop alternative and modern livestock management systems.
“…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 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; 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.
“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.
“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; 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 the federal character as Nigeria’s overall population is heterogenous.
“Resolved to foster cooperation among the Southern States and the nation at large; 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; 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.
“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; and expressed gratitude to our host, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for his generosity and hospitality,” Akeredolu said.
Some of the governors in Asaba for the crucial meeting are the host governor, Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti); Chairmen, South-West Governors Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Governors Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Nyesom Wike (Rivers) and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun).