GOVERNORS of the six states in Nigeria’s south-south geo-political zone have agreed to launch a regional security outfit similar to the one their colleagues in the southwest floated named the Amotekun Corps.
Over recent years, heavily-armed herdsmen have been running riot across Nigeria, engaging in kidnapping, armed robbery and banditry. To address the problem, the governors from across the southwest geo-political zone decided to launch a regional security outfit named Amotekun, which translates to leopard in the local Yoruba language.
Backing up their plans with an official launch in Ibadan, the six governors have supplied Operation Amotekun with vehicles and equipment. After several meetings with the inspector-general of police Mohammed Adamu, the six governors asked their houses of assemblies to pass laws legalising Amotekun and this has now been done making the outfit constitutional.
After weeks of speculation and suspense, governors of the south-south finally agreed to establish a similar body to tackle peculiar challenges in the region. Following a recent meeting in Asaba, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa. the chairman of the South-South Governors Forum, added that the governors have also agreed to resuscitate the Braced Commission, a regional economic and integration platform.
According to Governor Okowa, Braced, which stands for Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta, will be mandated to come up with modalities on the establishment of the regional security outfit. According to him, the commission is expected to brief the governors on the steps to be taken for the establishment of the regional security outfit at the next meeting of the forum in May in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
He said the Braced Commission was set up over 10 years ago by their predecessors to facilitate economic cooperation among the south-south states, adding that the incumbent governors have concluded plans to provide the needed logistics for the commission to come back to life. On the 13% federal derivation, the governors prevailed on the federal government to adopt the system where the percentage is deducted at source before the revenue is shared out.
Governor Okowa added: “And we need to stress that in any allocation that is being done, 13% derivation must first be taken out of the funds that come from oil revenue before the rest of the funds is shared out. This 13% is supposed to be for the oil-producing states and that has not been the situation for a very long time.”
In addition, the governors urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately constitute the governing board for the Niger Delta Development Commission, noting that the interventionist agency will play a great role in the regional development of the south-south. The meeting, the first since Okowa was elected chairman of the forum, was attended by governors Duoye Diri (Bayelsa), Nyesome Wike (Rivers), Emmanuel Udom (Akwa-Ibom), Godwin Obaseki (Edo) and the host, Okowa of Delta State.
Also in attendance was the director-general of the Braced Commission, Joe Keshi. Governor Okowa said the governor of Cross River, Ben Ayade, was unavoidably absent as he was held up in Abuja for an official engagement.