Governors in Nigeria’s South have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to address the country on the spate of insecurity across the land.
They also demanded the convocation of a national dialogue to discuss the future of Nigeria.
The governors made the demands after a Tuesday meeting at Government House, Asaba, Delta state. The deliberations lasted for more than four hours, reports say.
According to them, Buhari addressing the nation will go a long way in dousing tensions across the nation and restoring confidence in political leaders.
Since assuming power in 2015, Buhari has, instead of speaking to and engaging directly with Nigerians, become infamous for hiding behind presidency spokespersons Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu and other proxies like information minister Lai Mohammed. The southern governors say the president needs to talk to the nation directly.
The meeting, which was attended by 13 state governors and two deputy governors, reviewed the insecurity situation in the country as well as secession agitations and restructuring, prospects and COVID-19 pandemic, among others.
In a 12-point communiqué issued at the end of the meeting and read out to journalists, chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, expressed sadness over incessant killings by armed herders, criminality and movement of bandits to the southern part of the country.
“A ban on open grazing would be enforced as the population growth in the southern region has put pressure on available land, and increased the prospects of conflicts between migrating herders and host communities,” the communique read.
“The federal government should support willing states to develop alternative and modern livestock management systems.
“The governors agreed that urgent and bold steps should be taken to restructure the Nigerian federation for it to make progress. Need for 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 governors urged the federal government to convoke a national dialogue as a matter of urgency and recommended that in deference to the sensitivities of our various peoples, there is a need to review appointments into federal government agencies, including security agencies to reflect federal character as Nigeria’s overall population is heterogenous.
“The governors resolved to foster cooperation among the southern states and the nation at large, 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 activation and establishment of ports in other states of the federation to create new jobs and promote socio-economic activities in the country.”
The governors also warned against another lockdown in the country, stressing that the economic implications of such would be enormous even as they advocated for greater coordination and cooperation between federal and state governments in evolving strategies for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
They also said they still believed in a united Nigeria.