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Southern Governors propose 10-point approach to insecurity

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Akwa Ibom Deputy Governor, Moses Ekpo; Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra, Douye Diri of Bayelsa, Ebonyi’s David Omahi, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, Rotimi Akeredolu, Chairman, Southern Governors Forum and Governor of Ondo, Rotimi Akeredolu; Senator

… Southern Nigerians have agreed to prohibit free grazing

… Call for the convening of a national dialogue

… Insist on federal status… Reiterate Southerners’ dedication to Nigeria’s unification

… Express your dissatisfaction with the gridlock on the Oshodi-Apapa expressway

… Buhari has approved new security policies for the South-East and South-South

… Military strategies will no longer be made public—NSA

… PANDEF advises FG not to be selective in dealing with circumstances.

Concerned about the country’s growing tide of insecurity, Southern governors met yesterday in Asaba, Delta State’s capital, and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the nation on the subject.

It can be remembered that the 17 governors of the South met virtually last week under the auspices of the Southern Governors Forum, after the Forum had been dormant for many years.

Governors Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, Willy Obiano of Anambra, Douye Diri of Bayelsa, Godwin Obaseki of Edo, and David Umahi of Ebonyi are among those in attendance.

Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo, Seyi Makinde of Oyo, and Nyesom Wike of Rivers are among the others.

While Imo Governor Hope Uzodimma was represented by his deputy, Prof Placid Njoku, and Akwa-Ibom Governor Udom Emmanuel was represented by his deputy, Mr Moses Ekpo, Governors Gboyega Oyetola of Osun and Ben Ayade of Cross River States were absent.

The governors met on the same day that President Muhammadu Buhari met with service chiefs and heads of other security agencies for the third time in two weeks, and endorsed new security measures to combat insecurity in the country’s South-East and South-South geopolitical zones.

‘Now is the time to convene a national dialogue.’

Rising from the conference, which began around noon and ended around 4:20pm, the Southern governors urged the Federal Government to convene a national dialogue as soon as possible and insisted on the prohibition of open grazing in Southern Nigeria.

They also expressed concern about the ongoing gridlock on the Oshodi – Apapa Expressway and the chokehold it has on the nation’s economy as the only exit from Apapa Wharf.

The governors “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,” according to the 12-point communique read by chairman of the Southern Governors Forum and governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.

Communique

The communique read:  “Governors 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.  Governors 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.

Call for restructuring

“Governors 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.

“Governors  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.

“Resolved to foster cooperation among the Southern states and the nation at large; expressed concern on the continued gridlock on Oshodi- Apapa Expressway and the chokehold it has exerted on the nation’s economy, being the sole outlet from Apapa Wharf.

‘Activate ports in other states’

“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.

“It expressed very grave concern over the security challenge currently plaguing the nation and strongly urged that Mr. President address Nigerians on the challenges of insecurity and restore the confidence of our people.  The meeting expressed gratitude to our host, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, for his generosity and hospitality.

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