Governors of Nigeria’s Southern States have expressed grave concerns over worsening insecurity and “strongly” called on the country’s President Muhammadu Buhari to address citizens on the challenges.
The 17 southern states Governors also banned open grazing of cattle across the region, noting 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.
These formed part of resolutions reached after the meeting of governors of southern Nigeria in Asaba, the Delta State capital.
The 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,” a communique issued at the end of the meeting read.
“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. 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.”
The governors also urged the federal government to support willing states to develop alternative and modern livestock management systems.
Following several agitations by various groups in the country, the southern governors called on the federal government to take bold steps in restructuring the country.
“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,” the governors said.
“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.
“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 heterogeneous.
The governors also called for the creation of more ports in the country to reduce the burden on the Oshodi – Apapa Expressway being the sole outlet from the Apapa Wharf.
“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.”
By Abel Ejikeme