GOVERNORS OF SOUTHERN STATES OF NIGERIA CONVERGE ON ASABA, BAN OPEN GRAZING, CALL FOR NATIONAL CONFAB

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The Governors of Southern States of Nigeria on Tuesday resolved to ban open grazing and movement of cattle by foot across the region as part of measures to check incursion of armed herders and banditry.

The Governors made this known in a communique at the end of their meeting in Asaba.

In the communiqué read by Chairman of Southern Governors Forum, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, they said prevailing insecurity in the country had presented severe security challenge such that citizens were unable to live normal lives, including pursuing productive activities.

The Forum stated that the precarious security situation in the country had become a threat to food supply, adding that the development and population growth had put pressure on available land and increased prospects of conflict between migrating herders and local populations in the South.

The Governors called on the Federal Government to support willing States to develop alternative and modern livestock management systems.

They agreed that the progress of the nation required that urgent and bold steps should be taken to restructure Nigeria’s federation to encourage evolution of state police, revenue allocation formula review in favour of sub-national governments and creation of institutions which would legitimately advance commitment to and practice of true federalism.

The Governors also urged the Federal Government to convoke a national dialogue in view of widespread agitations among various peoples for greater inclusiveness in existing governance arrangements.

They recommended a review of appointments into Federal Government establishments, including security agencies, to reflect federal character as Nigeria’s overall population was heterogenous.

The Governors expressed concern on the continued gridlock on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway and the chokehold it hadvexerted on the nation’s economy being the sole outlet from the Apapa Wharf.

The Forum 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 Governors also expressed concern for the economic implications of another lockdown on the country over COVID-19 pandemic as announced by the Federal Government on Monday, and called for greater coordination and cooperation between federal and state governments in evolving strategies for dealing with the pandemic.

The Southern Governors also expressed very grave concern for the security challenge currently plaguing the nation and strongly urged President Muhammadu Buhari to address Nigerians on the challenges and restore the confidence of the people.

Those who attended the meeting were Governors Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo, Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, Seyi Makinde of Oyo, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti and Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, who was the host.

Others were Governors Godwin Obaseki of Edo, Douye Diri of Bayelsa, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, Dave Umahi of Ebonyi, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, Willie Obiano of Anambra and Deputy Governor of Akwa-Ibom, Mr Moses Ekpo and his Imo counterpart, Prof. Placid Njoku.

Governors of Osun, Isiaka Gboyega and Cross River, Prof. Ben Ayade were absent at the meeting.

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