Southern Governors have banned open grazing of cattle across states in the region and urged the President to address Nigerians on the state of the nation.
The Governors also called for the restructuring of the country to address increasing agitations in different parts of the nation, while restating their commitment to the unity of the country.
The Governors stated these at the end of their meeting in Asaba, the Delta State Capital, on Tuesday.
Physically in attendance were the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde; Rivers State Governor, Nysome Wike; Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi; Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun; Anambra State governor, Willie Obiano; Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; among others.
They were received by the host, Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa.
Some of the states and sub-regions have previously banned open grazing.
In February, the Nigerian Governors Forum, representing all 36 states in the country, said it had reached a consensus on the “need for the country to transition into modern systems of animal husbandry that will replace open, night, and underage grazing in the country.”
The ban on open grazing comes as herdsmen violence continues to be reported across the country.
Beyond the herdsmen crisis, the country continues to groan under diverse security threats, including but not limited to an insurgency in the North-East, banditry in the North-West and secessionist agitations in the South-East and South-West.
Read the Southern Governor’s full position after Tuesday’s meeting:
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, th e 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.