Why agitations for secession louder among our people —Southern Govs

……….MEET IN ASABA, REAFFIRM COMMITMENT TO THE NATION’S UNITY

•Ban Open Grazing Across Southern Nigeria

•Want Bold Step Taken On Restructuring

•Demand Review of Appointment Into Federal Govt Agencies

Governors in the Southern part of the Country under the aegis of Southern Governors’ Forum on Tuesday met in Asaba, the Delta State capital, over the State of the Nation, particularly as it affects the Southern region.

The governors had last week met virtually at the instance of Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa and Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, as chairmen of the governors’ forums in the Southwest, South-South and Southeast respectively.

Reading the communique issued at the end of the meeting held at the Government House, Asaba, to journalists, Ondo State Governor and Chairman of the Southwest Governors’ Forum, Arakunrin Akeredolu, said the meeting reviewed the situation in the country generally and focused on the current security situation, agitation and restructuring, prospect for inter-state collaboration and partnership as well as on the incidence of COVID-19 pandemic.

He disclosed that the “forum affirmed that the people of southern Nigeria remain committed to the unity of Nigeria on the basis of justice, fairness, equity, oneness and peaceful coexistence between and among its people with focus on attainment of shared goals for economic development and prosperity.”

Governor Akeredolu, who disclosed that the forum resolved that open grazing of cattle be banned across Southern Nigeria, explained that the forum observed that the activities of armed herders, criminals and bandits in the southern part of the country have 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.

“The meeting noted that development and population growth has put pressure on available land and increased the prospect of conflict between migrant herders and local population in the south. Given this scenario, it becomes imperative to enforce a park for open grazing in the south including cattle movement to south by foot.

“The meeting recommended that the Federal Government should support willing state to develop alternative and modern livestock management system.

“The meeting agreed that the progress of the nation requires an urgent and bold step taken to restructure the Nigerian Federation leading to the evolution of state police, review of revenue formula in favour of Sub-Nationals and creation of other institution which legitimately advance and commitment to and practice of true federalism.

“The meeting recommended that the view of the widespread agitation (for secessions) among our various peoples for greater inclusiveness in existing governance arrangement, the Federal Government should convoke a national dialogue as a matter of urgency

“The meeting recommended that in deference to the sensitiveness of our various peoples, there is need to review appointment into Federal Government agencies including security agency to reflect federal character as Nigerians overall population is heterogeneous.

“The meeting resolved to foster cooperation among southern states

“The meeting expressed concern on the continued gridlock on the Oshodi-Apapa express way and the choke hold it has 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 implication of another lockdown of the country and therefore suggested greater coordination and cooperation between federal and state government in involving strategies for dealing with the COVID-19 Pandemic

“The meeting expressed grave concern on the security challenging currently plaguing the nation and strong urged Mr President that Mr President should address Nigerians of the challenges of insecurity and restore the confidence of our people

“The meeting expressed gratitude to our host, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, for his generosity and hospitality,” the communique reads.

Below is the full text;

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 heterogenous;
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

His Excellency His Excellency
Dr. Victor Okezie Ikpeazu Chief Emmanuel Udom
Governor, Abia State Governor, Akwa Ibom State

His Excellency His Excellency
Willie Obiano Senator Diri Duoye
Governor, Anambra State Governor, Bayelsa State

His Excellency His Excellency
Prof. Ben Ayade Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa
Governor, Cross Rivers State Governor, Delta State

His Excellency His Excellency
Engr. Dave Umahi Godwin Obaseki
Governor, Ebonyi State Governor, Edo State

His Excellency His Excellency
John Olukayode Fayemi Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi
Governor, Ekiti State Governor, Enugu State

His Excellency His Excellency
Senator Hope Uzodimma Babajide Sanwo-Olu
Governor, Imo State Governor, Lagos State

His Excellency His Excellency
Dapo Abiodun Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola Governor, Ogun State Governor, Osun State

His Excellency His Excellency
Oluwaseyi Abiodun Makinde Ezenwo Nyesom Wike Governor, Oyo State Governor, Rivers State