Governors in 17 states of the southern part of Nigeria have banned open grazing, and have urged 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, Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, at the end of its four hours meeting held in Asaba, the Delta State capital.
The governors affirmed that the people of Southern Nigeria remain committed to the unity of Nigeria on the basis of justice, fairness, equity, oneness, and peaceful co-existence among its people, with a focus on the attainment of shared goals for economic development and prosperity.
“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 Chairman said.
While further expressing concerns about the continued gridlock on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, the forum 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.
On the rumoured lockdown, 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 in attendance at the meeting were Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Dr Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), 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.