By Musa Baba Adamu
Governors of the seventeen Southern States on Tuesday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently address the country over the worsening security situation across all parts of the country, saying the President’s silence was aggravating the situation.
The governors also charged Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, convoke what it described as ‘national dialogue’ as part of efforts at healing the seeming divide in the country.
They pointed out that it was only through dialogue that the widespread agitations for greater inclusiveness in existing governance arrangements could be resolved.
The Governors further expressed fears that delay to convoke a national dialogue as a matter of urgency could result in further calamity and snowball into more problems.
The governors stated this in a 12-point communique issued after a crucial security meeting on the state of the nation in Asaba, Delta State capital.
Chairman of the Southern Governor’s Forum and Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), who read the communique on behalf of colleagues to journalists, said addressing Nigerians would help douse the current tension across the country.
The forum, which particularly condemned the rising spate of insecurity, expressed worries over the activities of armed herders, criminals and bandits into the Southern part of the country and called for a ban on open grazing in the region.
Akeredolu said, “Consequently, the meeting resolved that open grazing of cattle be banned across Southern Nigeria.”
The Ondo governor reiterated that the ban on open grazing in the southern region would be enforced to stem the tide of insecurity that is gradually creeping into the region to save lives and property of its people.
He said 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 emphasised that the people of Southern part of the country were committed to the unity and indivisibility of the Nigerian State but 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.”