For the first time in its history, governors in the Southern Nigeria met in Asaba, Delta State on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 and took far reaching decisions that would have a positive effect on the people of Southern Nigeria.
In a communiqué read after its meeting on May 11, 2021 at the Government House, Asaba, the governors under the aegis of Southern Governors Forum (SGF), the state chief executives boldly banned Open Grazing in the Southern Nigeria.
To this end, an academic and rights activist, Dr Charles Chinekezi lauded the governors for calling a spade a spade, insisting that the days of shying away from the reality on ground and playing to the gallery in order to attract undue favour and Greek gift that may come in form of unwarranted political jobs after serving as state governor are over.
“Open grazing breeds insecurity, it leads to hunger, it leads to sorry, it leads to murder of innocent people, it leads to kidnapping, robbery as farmers whose farmlands are destroyed are left in perpetuated poverty and agony, while the herders that destroy their farmlands are in one way or the other rewarded with assurances of protection by the federal authorities”, he noted.
The governors nonetheless declared during their Asaba meeting that “we 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”.
Excerpts… 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: 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 and prosperity;
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;
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;
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;
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 heterogeneous;
resolved to foster cooperation among the Southern States and the nation at large; 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;
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;
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
expressed gratitude to our host, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for his generosity and hospitality.
“Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN
Governor, Ondo State”.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.