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Buhari should speak up on banditry, kidnappings – Governors

By Idowu Abdullahi

Governors across 17 states in Nigerian Southern region have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to rise up to the occasion and addressed Nigerians on rising insecurity across the country and outlines plans and strategies being adopted by his administration to end issues bordering on the menace.

The 17 governors under the aegis of Southern Nigeria Governors Forum (SNGF) added that such an address by the President would lift the spirit of Nigerians and restore the confidence of the already apprehensive people that the government was indeed working to bring a lasting solution to insecurity.

They argued that the continued silence on part of the president was been misconstrued by Nigerians to have been fueling rising insecurity and emboldening terrorists to carry out their nefarious activities across the country such that had turned the nation into a killing field.

The governors stated this in a 12-point communique read by its Chairman and Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, at the end of its four hours meeting held in Delta State on Tuesday. The governors in attendance include Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, Dr Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), and Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos).

Others are Douye Diri (Bayelsa), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), David Umahi (Ebonyi), Willie Obiano (Anambra). Imo and Akwa Ibom States were represented by their deputy governors, while Osun and Cross Rivers states were absent at the meeting.

“Southern Governors expressed very grave concern on the security challenges 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,” the communique read in part.

Furthermore, the governors maintained that the Southern region remains 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.

“We 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;

“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.

“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,” the communique added.

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