Governors of states in Southern Nigeria have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency and importance address Nigerians on the bad state of insecurity across the nation and convoke a national dialogue.
After their meeting held on Tuesday at Government House, Asaba, Delta state, which lasted over four hours, the governors expressed displeasure with the worsening state of insecurity.
According to them, Buhari addressing the nation will go a long way in dousing tension across the nation and restoring confidence.
The meeting which was attended by 13 state governors and two deputy governors, reviewed the insecurity situation in the country as well as secession agitations and restructuring, prospects and COVID-19 pandemic, among others.
In a 12-point communiqué issued at the end of the meeting and read out to journalists, chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, expressed sadness over incessant killings by armed herders, criminality and movemwnt of bandits to the Southern part of the country.
They however affirmed the commitment of the peoples of Southern Nigeria to the unity of Nigeria.
According to the governors, the people of Southern Nigeria take seriously their commitments to unity, justice, fairness, equity, 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 governors resolved that open grazing of cattle should be banned across Southern Nigeria, noting that open grazing has caused serious security challenges in the area.
They said their people have been unable to live their normal lives as well as pursue various productive activities which has threatened food supply and general security.
“A ban on open grazing would be enforced as the population growth in the southern region has put pressure on available land, and increased the prospects of conflicts between migrating herders and host communities. The Federal Government should support willing states to develop alternative and modern livestock management systems.
“The governors agreed that urgent and bold steps should be taken to restructure the Nigerian federation for it to make progress. Need for 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 urged the federal government to convoke a national dialogue as a matter of urgency and recommended that in deference to the sensitivities of our various peoples, there is a need to review appointments into federal government agencies, including security agencies to reflect federal character as Nigeria’s overall population is heterogenous.
“The governors resolved to foster cooperation among the southern states and the nation at large, 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 activation and establishment of ports in other states of the federation to create new jobs and promote socio-economic activities in the country.”
The governors however warned against another lockdown in the country, stressing that the economic implications of such would be enormous even as they advocated for greater coordination and cooperation between federal and state governments in evolving strategies for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.