SOUTHERN NIGERIA GOVS BAN OPEN GRAZING ACROSS ALL SOUTHERN STATES, CALLS FOR NAT. DIALOGUE AS A MATTER OF URGENCY

Governors of Southern States of Nigeria, in Government House, Asaba on Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Fifteen Governors out of the seventeen Southern Nigerian Governors met in Asaba, the Delta State capital, on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, to deliberate on the way out of the several crises rocking the country at the moment.

The two governors who were absent at the meeting are Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State and Governor Ben Ayade of Cross Rivers state.

The meeting which was convened under the aegis of the Southern Nigeria Governors Forum (SNGF), addressed the growing issues of insecurity; spate of killings, kidnappings, arson, robbery and other matters affecting their three regions in the South of Nigeria and arrived at several far reaching decisions bordering on the relationship between Southern Nigeria and the rest of the country which makes up the Nigerian Federation.

The resolutions, contained in a 12 point communiqué, issued at the end of their deliberations, was read out by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State in which the governors clearly stressed that the meeting was an intervention mechanism to stem the worrisome tide of insecurity in the country that has defied ethnic and regional lines.

They unanimously condemned open grazing and called for an end to it in all the States of Southern Nigeria and also called for a National conference to determine National questions bothering on the nature of Nigeria’s federalism and federal character in national appointments and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to address Nigerians as a matter of urgency, among other issues.

It would be recalled that the Southern Nigeria Governors Forum held a virtual meeting last Tuesday at the instance of Governors Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta) and David Umahi (Ebonyi) who are chairmen of the South-West, South-South and South-East Governors Forum respectively.

L-R: Governors Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), David Umahi (Ebonyi) Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta) and Seyi Makinde (Oyo), arriving Government House, Asaba for the Southern Nigeria Governors meeting, on Tuesday, May 11, 2021

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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