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    Southern senators back govs on restructuring, open grazing

    Senators from southern Nigeria have expressed their support for governors from their various geopolitical zones who were demanding the restructuring of the country and the immediate ban on open grazing in their respective states.

    The Forum of Southern Governors had on Tuesday announced a ban on open grazing in all the 17 Southern states.

    They also recommended that the Federal Government should support willing states to develop alternative and modern livestock management systems.

    They called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to as a matter of urgency and importance, address Nigerians on the frightening state of insecurity across the nation and convoke a national dialogue.

    The Southern Senators Forum, in a statement on Wednesday, hailed the decision and resolutions of their governors and pledged to work with them for the actualisation..

    They urged the state chief executives to immediately approach the leadership of the National Assembly for necessary legislative input to give their decisions, the required legal backing.

    The statement was titled, “Insecurity: Southern senators commend and endorse the resolutions of the southern governors; urging them to work with the National Assembly for optimal results.”

    It was jointly signed by the SSF Chairman, Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti); Secretary-General,
    Mathew Urhoghide (Edo) and Publicity Secretary, Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu).

    They said the governors’ engagement with the leadership of the National Assembly would enable them to work with the two arms of the parliament to ensure that their well-articulated positions on the state of the nation would be articulated through the ongoing review of the 1999 constitution being undertaken by both chambers of the federal parliament.

    The senators commended the governors for being emphatic on the issues of 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.”

    The statement read in part, “As insecurity continues to take a toll on the country and subjecting many to kidnapping and killing, the Southern Senators Forum, has commended Governors from the region for outrightly taking a firm position on burning national issues, including banning open grazing of cattle.

    “The Senators submitted that such deft and unanimous policy would help in reining in those hiding under cattle grazing to unleash terror of kidnapping and killing on the residents of the region.

    “We applaud the step taken by the Governors because 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 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 bedeviled 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.

    ” We saluted the Governors for ruminating on the expediency and the need for speedy restructuring of the highly lopsided Nigerian nation, saying this will also help to remove the venom that had permeated the land on account of alleged neglect of certain sections of the country.

    “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.

    ” This is 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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