CONTROVERSISAL regional body the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has upped the ante in Nigeria’s ongoing regional spat by accusing southern governors of harbouring criminals and challenging the prerogative of the federal government to enforce law and order.
Earlier this week, the Southern Governors Forum (SGF) met in Lagos after which the governors of the 17 states of southern Nigeria issued a communique, calling on the police, military and Department of State Security (DSS) to carry them along with all future operations. They added that this became necessary after the DSS raided the home of a Yoruba Nation agitator Sunday Igboho in Ibadan, on Thursday, killing two persons in the process.
In addition, the SGF also rejected the removal of the electronic transmission of election results from the Electoral Act and also objected to the confirmation of exclusive jurisdiction in pre-election matters on the Federal High Court. It reaffirmed its opposition to open grazing and then insisted that the next president of Nigeria should come from the southern half of the country in 2023.
Dismissing the actions of the governors, the CNG accused the SGF of shielding felons, arsonists and mass atrocity perpetrators in their midst by challenging the prerogative of the federal government to enforce law and order in all parts of the country. CNG spokesman Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said it was a gang-up against the north to force a regional shift of the presidency in 2023 by whatever means and tactics.
He added that the insistence by the southern governors on the anti-grazing law aims to selectively imperil the business of cattle rearing and threaten the legitimate presence of pastoral communities in the south. Mr Suleiman called on the federal government to ensure that herders’ rights to freedom of movement was not impeded by any legislation.
Mr Suleiman said: “The desperation of the southern governors to shield the assortment of criminals, incite and carry out attacks, and wanton destruction of lives and property of other citizens and national security assets has exposed the level of their complicity in the operations of the armed terrorist groups in the south. Their support for treasonable felony by the subtle endorsement of the activities of such criminal separatist forces led by the likes of Sunday Igboho and Nnamdi Kanu, by warning the nation’s security agencies against operating in the region without obtaining permission from the governor of the particular state is a matter that must be given the seriousness it deserves.”
“The northern group added that the governors resolutions on 2023 exposed a deliberate attempt to impose a contentious system of rotational presidency aimed at achieving dubious political goals to weaken the north. This conspiracy is actively perpetrated with the connivance of some northerners and accommodated by the personal ambition of a few of those that present themselves as northern political leaders.”