Insecurity: Southern Senators back resolution on open grazing, restructuring

•Ask governors to walk the talks

Federal lawmakers in both chambers of the National Assembly, across party lines, have endorsed resolutions of governors in the Southern part of the country, banning open grazing in their respective states.

The governors under the aegis of Southern Governors Forum (SGF), at the end of their meeting held in Asaba, Delta State Capital, on Tuesday, unanimously passed a verdict prohibiting open grazing in the region to checkmate herders-farmers clashes, kidnapping as well as killings of Nigerian citizens of southern extraction.

The governors equally advised President Muhammadu Buhari to convene a national dialogue to address the seemingly intractable security challenge facing the country.

The governors specifically “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.”

The Southern Senators in a statement signed by Senator representing Ekiti Central and Chairman of the Forum,
Opeyemi Bamidele, his counterpart representing Edo South and Secretary-General, Mathew Uroghide and Publicity Secretary of the Forum and Senator representing Enugu North, Chukwuka Utazi commended the step taken by the Governors, saying it would serve as a buffer to wanton destruction of farmlands, kidnappings and carnages.

The Senators lamented how the Southern farmers were losing hundreds of millions of Naira to the plundering of food crops through encroachments on farmlands and exposing the region to famine and acute food scarcity.

“At this critical point of our national life when the economy was 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records have shown that attaining food security status would remain a mirage in the south owing to ravaging effect of outdated livestock grazing policy being unleashed on farmlands by some unscrupulous herders.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 were 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 SSF equally commended the governors resolution on restructuring, as they noted that amidst the outcry against lopsided federation, it would ” also help to remove the venom that had permeated the land on account of alleged neglect of certain sections of the country.”

The SSF leaders stated that ushering of equality, equity and justice in the way the country is being run will wipe out ethnic tension, restore peace and stability and ward off agitations for secession that are now gaining tractions across the land.

“Finally, the Southern Senators Forum encouraged the governors to swiftly follow up on their resolutions by immediately approaching the leadership of the National Assembly with a view to working with the two arms of the parliament to ensure that their well-articulated positions on the state of the nation, especially as relate to restructuring, State policing and the jettisoning of archaic traditional grazing methods, which fall short of global best practice standard and a potential threat to our national cohesion and peace, are thoroughly and decisively addressed through the ongoing constitutional review exercise.”

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Insecurity: Southern Senators back resolution on open grazing, restructuring

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