LAWMAKERS representing the 17 states that make up southern Nigeria have commended steps taken by their state governors to stem the rise in insecurity across the country at their recent meeting in the Delta State capital Asaba.
Yesterday, the Southern Governors Forum met in Asaba and at the end of their meeting they issued a communique urging the federal government to urgently convoke a national dialogue to address the widespread agitations growing across the nation. They also called for restructuring of the country and the creation of state police forces to combat insecurity.
In addition, the governors also called for enforcement of a ban on open grazing in the south of Nigeria and the prohibition of cattle movement by foot. Praising the governors for their communique, the Southern Senators’ Forum issued a statement signed by its chairman, general secretary and publicity secretary, Senators Opeyemi Bamidele, Matthew Uroghide and Chukwuka Utazi, lauding their stance.
According to the senators, the unanimous agreement on open grazing would check those hiding under livestock husbandry to unleash terror including kidnapping and the killing of innocent people. They lamented how farmers across southern Nigeria were losing millions of naira to the plundering of food crops through the encroachment on farmland exposing the region to famine and acute food scarcity.
“At this critical point of our national life when the economy is being bedevilled by galloping inflation, youth unemployment and insecurity, food security is very crucial to mitigate the effects of these diverse evils on the citizens. Available records have shown that attaining food security status would remain a mirage in the south owing to ravaging effect of outdated livestock grazing policy being unleashed on farmlands by some unscrupulous herders.
“Most appalling is the seemingly unabated kidnapping, raping and killing of our people by suspected herdsmen, who have become bandits heating up the system. With this uniform resolve by our governors to initiate no-open grazing policy, the region will return to its peaceful and agriculturally self -sufficient status it had assumed even long before Nigeria’s amalgamation in 1914,” the senators said.
They also said the restructuring of the country would help to remove the incessant agitations over alleged neglect of certain sections of the nation. According to the senators, only equity and justice in the running of the country would wipe out ethnic tension, restore peace and guarantee stability and end to ethnic agitations.
In addition, they encouraged the governors to swiftly follow up their resolutions by immediately approaching the leadership of the National Assembly with a view to working together. According to the senators, this would ensure that their positions on restructuring, state police and the ban on open grazing were addressed through the ongoing constitution review.