17 Govs Call For Ban On Open Grazing In Southern Nigeria
The 17 governors of southern states in Nigeria, under the aegis of Southern Nigeria Governors’ Forum (SNGF) have resolved that open grazing of cattle be banned across all states in Southern Nigeria.
Rising from the meeting held at Delta State Government House, Asaba, yesterday, the governors indicated that it has become imperative to enforce the ban on open grazing in the South since development and population growth have increased the prospects of conflict between migrating herders and local populations in the region.
A 12-point communiqué, an outcome of more than four hours’ closed door meeting, signed by the 17 southern governors was read by Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN).
The communiqué also noted 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 for the practice of true federalism.
The southern governors reviewed the current security situation, agitations for restructuring, prospect for inter-state collaboration and partnerships, and affirmed that “the peoples of Southern Nigeria remain committed to the unity of Nigeria on the basis of justice, fairness and equity”.
The governors expressed grave concern over the security challenges plaguing the nation, and urged that “Mr. President should address Nigerians on the challenges of insecurity, and restore the confidence of our people”.
They observed that the incursion of armed herders, criminals and bandits into the southern part of the country has presented some security challenges to the people, “hence the need to ban open grazing of cattle in the area”.
The governors recommended that the Federal Government should support willing states to develop alternative and modern livestock management systems.
The meeting expressed concern over the economic implications of another lockdown on the country, and therefore, suggested greater coordination and cooperation between federal and state governments in evolving strategies for dealing with the pandemic.
They, therefore, resolved to foster cooperation among the southern states and the nation at large.
The governors urged the Federal Government to convoke a national dialogue and take urgent steps to restructure the country.
They expressed grave concern on the security challenge currently plaguing the nation, and strongly urged that President Muhammad Buhari, to address Nigerians on the challenges of insecurity and restore the confidence of the people.
The chairman of Governors of Southern Nigeria and Governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, said the governors resolved that, ”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 southern governors recommended that in deference to the sensitivities of the various peoples of the country, there is need to review appointments into Federal Government agencies (including security agencies) to reflect federal character as Nigeria’s overall population is heterogeneous.
He declared that the governors affirmed that the peoples of southern Nigeria remain 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.
The governors, however, 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.
They noted that development and population growth has put pressure on available land and increased the prospects of conflict between migrating herders and local populations in the South.
“Given this scenario, it becomes imperative to enforce the ban on open grazing in the South (including cattle movement to the South by foot); recommended that the Federal Government should support willing states to develop alternative and modern livestock management systems.”
He explained that the governors expressed 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 governors recommended 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 meeting expressed concern on the economic implications of another lockdown on the country, and therefore, suggested greater coordination and cooperation between federal and state governments in evolving strategies for dealing with the pandemic.”
Some of the governors who were in Asaba for the crucial meeting include the host, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta); Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), Dr. Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti); Chairmen, South-West Governors’ Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo); Engr Seyi Makinde (Oyo); Chief Nyesom Wike (Rivers); and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun).
Others are governors of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Edo, Godwin Obaseki; Bayelsa, Senator Douye Diri; Ebonyi, Dave Umahi; Osun, Gboyega Oyetola; Anambra, Chief Willie Obiano; among others.
Also present at the meeting were, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia); Chief Emmanuel Udom (Akwa Ibom State); Prof. Ben Ayade (Cross River State); Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu); and Senator Hope Uzodinma (Imo).
According to a statement by Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, the meeting is an intervention by the governors under the aegis of the Southern Nigeria Governors Forum to jointly brainstorm and address burning issues in the Southern part of Nigeria.
“The Southern Nigeria Governors Forum is the umbrella body for all the 17 governors in South-West, South-South and South-East geo-political zones of Nigeria.
The regional security meeting is holding less than twenty hours after Governor Sanwo-Olu hosted a very crucial stakeholders meeting on security in Lagos, to address the challenges posed to the state.
“Like Lagos, the Southern Nigeria Governors’ Forum meeting is expected to critically evaluate the current security situation in the country, the implications for southern Nigeria and proffer an immediate and long term solution so as to keep the region safe and secure for the citizens.
“The SNGF, will hold in the banquet hall of the Delta State Government House, Asaba,” it added.
The Southern Nigeria Governors Forum held a virtual meeting last Tuesday at the instance of Governors Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo); Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta); and David Umahi (Ebonyi); who are chairmen of the South-West, South-South, and South-East Governors Forum, respectively.
The virtual meeting was attended by 15 out of the 17 governors in the southern region of Nigeria.
It was during the virtual meeting that the governors agreed to meet in Asaba for another meeting that will harmonise their positions towards addressing the insecurity and tension in the country, among other issues.
By: Albert Ograka, Asaba
Biden Pledges Support To Tinubu On Economy, Security
President Joe Biden of the United States, has vowed to support President Bola Tinubu on economic growth and advanced security, among other critical aspects of his government.
Biden made this vow in a statement, while felicitating with Tinubu on Monday.
Recall that Tinubu and the Vice President, Kashim Shettima were sworn in respctively by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Kayode Ariwoola.
The US President reiterated his administration’s readiness to work with Tinubu “to strengthen ties between the United States and Nigeria.”
Biden said, “On behalf of the people of the United States, I send warm wishes to the government and people of Nigeria as they inaugurate a new President. I look forward to continuing this work with President Tinubu to support economic growth, advance security, and promote respect for human rights.”
He expressed optimism about the ideas and energy of the dynamic connection between the two countries, noting that the US will continue to work closely with the most populous country in Africa.
Biden said, “As Africa’s largest democracy and economy, Nigeria’s success is the world’s success. Elected leaders owe it to their people to show that democracy can deliver for their needs.
“And the United States will continue to work closely with Nigeria, as a friend and partner, to deliver a more peaceful and prosperous future for our world,” he added.
I’ll Study Wike’s Principles Of Governance To Succeed …As Obio/Akpor Welcomes Ex-Gov Back Home -Fubara
Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminialayi Fubara, says he will continue to seek guidance from his predecessor, Chief Nyesom Wike, to enable him perform excellently in office.
The governor noted the enormous responsibility associated with governance and the success record of Wike that he has inherited, which serves as great motivation for his administration.
Fubara spoke at the grand reception organised by the chiefs, leaders and stakeholders of Obio-Akpor Local Government Area for Wike at Captain Elechi Amadi Polytechnic in Rumuola, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The grand reception was a warm welcome back home staged by Obio-Akpor people for their son for representing the Ikwerre ethnic nationality and the State well, while he served as governor of Rivers State.
Fubara said the available evidence of performance of the former governor tells of the giant strides of a man who has gallantly ended another phase of public service.
He asserted that Wike conceived a vision of leadership, and followed it through conclusively without compromising it.
“It’s not how the story starts, it is how it ended. Available evidence around us is showing clearly that the story of my principal (Wike) has not ended, but he’s ended this phase well.
“It ended because he had a vision. It ended well because that vision was not compromised, he followed it to the end.
“So, I was to join the people of Obio/Akpor to congratulate you and to say you are a worthy son, that is why your people have to receive you and welcome you home”, he said.
Fubara stated that he is an unapologetic benefactor of Wike who is determined to continue to study Wike’s administrative prowess, political calculations, decision, and exploits in order not to disappoint Rivers people.
“As one of your benefactor, I will continue to study you. I have not learnt all that I need to learn. I still need to learn more because this business (of governance) is not an easy business. It’s a business that, life can be very white in the morning, and in the afternoon its grey.
“So, I still need that guidance from you. I will still come to you whenever I have any problem for your advice.
“Please keep your house and your door wide open for us, because we want to succeed like you succeeded”, the governor stated.
In his speech, Wike thanked the people of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area for the honour done him and for not abandoning him in his political career.
The former governor who was conferred with the title of Okwurume 1 of Obio/Akpor, expressed delight over the rousing welcome that emboldened his feeling of nativity as being of Ikwerre stock and an Obio/ Akpor Local Government Area.
He thanked his kinsmen for also bestowing chieftaincy on his wife, Justice Suzette Nyesom Wike, recalling incidences of betrayal by some of his political associates in Port Harcourt and Ikwerre Local Government Areas during the 2023 general election.
He, however, commended the people of Obio-Akpor for their steadfastness.
The former governor assured that now they have a new governor as their leader, he and members of the Peoples Democratic party (PDP) would definitely support him to succeed and also respect his leadership.
Chairman of the occasion, Senator John Azuta Mbata, said the people organised the reception for an illustrious son who created so much national impact, flying the Ikwerre nationality flag and making them proud.
NLC, IPMAN, TUC, Others Kick As Tinubu Removes Fuel Subsidy
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) and Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) have opposed the plan by President Bola Tinubu to enforce his predecessor’s decision to remove fuel subsidy by June ending.
Tinubu had earlier on Monday, while making his inaugural speech, affirmed that his administration would not continue to pay subsidy on petroleum products.
He said given the high opportunity cost the Federal Government was suffering to fund subsidies, it was no longer justifiable to continue with it.
“The fuel subsidy is gone!” Tinubu exclaimed during his inaugural address at Eagle Square, Abuja, shortly after he was sworn-in as the 16th President of Nigeria.
He said, “Subsidy can no longer justify its ever-increasing costs in the wake of drying resources. We shall instead re-channel the funds into better investment in public infrastructure, education, health care and jobs that will materially improve the lives of millions.
“We commend the decision of the outgoing administration in phasing out the petrol subsidy regime which has increasingly favoured the rich more than the poor.”
Tinubu said since there was no provision for subsidy in the budget from June 2023, it stands removed.
On his economic agenda for the next four years, Tinubu said his administration would target a minimum annual GDP growth of six per cent.
“To do this, the new government will enact budgetary and tax reforms that will boost the economy and address multiple taxation that stymies foreign direct investment.
“On the economy, we target a higher GDP growth and to significantly reduce unemployment. We intend to accomplish this by taking the following steps: First, budgetary reform stimulating the economy without engendering inflation will be instituted.
“Second, industrial policy will utilize the full range of fiscal measures to promote domestic manufacturing and lessen import dependency.
“Third, electricity will become more accessible and affordable to businesses and homes alike. Power generation should nearly double and transmission and distribution networks improved. We will encourage states to develop local sources as well”, he said.
To foreign and local investors, the President said, “Our government shall review all their complaints about multiple taxation and various anti-investment inhibitions. We shall ensure that investors and foreign businesses repatriate their hard-earned dividends and profits home.”
However, NLC has expressed displeasure over the removal of the fuel subsidy without consulting relevant stakeholders and putting in place adequate measures to cushion its effect on workers.
NLC, in a statement by its President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, yesterday, noted with regret that a few hours after the pronouncement, some marketers shut down their filling stations while many were selling the petroleum products at high prices.
Describing the government’s action as insensitive, the NLC President said it has brought tears and sorrow to millions of Nigerians instead of the renewed hope the administration has promised.
He also said that President Tinubu’s pronouncement has devalued the quality of the lives of Nigerians by over 300 per cent and counting.
The statement read in part: “We at the Nigeria Labour Congress are outraged by the pronouncement of President Bola Tinubu removing fuel subsidy without due consultations with critical stakeholders or without putting in place palliative measures to cushion the harsh effects of the subsidy removal.
“Within hours of his pronouncement, the nation went into a tailspin due to a combination of service shutdowns and product price hikes, in some places representing over 300 per cent price adjustment.
“By his insensitive decision, President Tinubu on his inauguration day brought tears and sorrow to millions of Nigerians instead of hope. He equally devalued the quality of their lives by over 300 per cent and counting.
“It is no heroism to commit against the people this level of cruelty at any time, let alone on an inauguration day. If he is expecting a medal for taking this decision, he would certainly be disappointed to receive curses for the people of Nigeria consider this decision not only a slight but a big betrayal.
“On our part, we are staunchly opposed to this decision and are demanding an immediate withdrawal of this policy.”
NLC argued that the pronouncement has ripple effects on the economic well-being of the people
He said, “The implications of this decision are grave for our security and well-being.
“We wonder if President Tinubu gave a thought to why his predecessors in office refused to implement this highly injurious policy decision.
“We also wonder if he also forgot the words he penned down on January 8, 2012, but issued on January 11, 2012”.
NLC, therefore, advised Tinubu “to respect his owe postulations and economic theories instead of daring the people. It could be a costly gamble.”
Also, TUC, in a statement by its President and Secretary General, Festus Osifo and Nuhu Toro, respectively, rejected the removal of fuel subsidy as announced by Tinubu.
It warned that it is a joke taken too far.
The body, while assessing the President’s inaugural speech, said “TUC is delighted by the peaceful transition from the Muhammad Buhari government to the Bola Tinubu administration and across the 28 states of the federation. We congratulate Nigerians and the new administration at all levels even as we urge all those contesting the election results across the board to keep following the rule of law as provided in the constitutional and electoral act in seeking redress.
“While listening to Tinubus’s Inaugural Address, we were at first encouraged by his pledge to lead as a servant of the people (and not as a ruler) and to always consult and dialogue, especially on key and knotty national issues. But we were subsequently taken aback, even horrified, when he announced the withdrawal of subsidy on petroleum products.
“If by this, he means increases in pump price and the exploitation of the people by unregulated and exploitative deregulated prices, then it’s a joke taken too far. It is not for nothing the Buhari government pushed this to the new administration. But we expect the Tinubu government to be wise on such a sensitive issue and be more explicit in its pronouncement to avoid contradictory interpretations when comparing his written statement, what he said and the provision in the 2023 appropriation act.
“We dare say that this is a very delicate issue that touches on the lives, if not very survival, of particularly the working people. Hence, it ought to have been treated with utmost caution, and should have been preceded by robust dialogue and consultation with the representatives of the working people, including professionals, market people, students and the poor masses.
“Accordingly, we hereby demand that President Tinubu should tarry awhile to give room for robust dialogue and consultation and stakeholders engagement”.
Also, IPMAN said it was opposed to the President’s resident’s subsidy removal plan.
IPMAN’s National Public Relations Officer, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, said the new government should dialogue with marketers before taking the decision to remove subsidy.
“We are not in support of the removal of fuel subsidy at this time. We have said it repeatedly that our refineries should be fixed before taking such decision that will cause galloping inflation and inflict more hardship on the masses.
“The government of President Tinubu should not adopt what is in the transition document handed over to it by the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari. Someone (Buhari) who for eight years did not remove subsidy is advising a new government to remove it.
“That is not fair and should not be adopted. Rather, the new government should sit and discuss with marketers and other stakeholders on how to manage the fuel subsidy regime. We now have the Dangote Refinery, but all our refineries are still not working, so we don’t think removing subsidy is the right thing to do now,” Ukadike stated.
He said IPMAN was ready to work with the new government and would proffer measures to address the fuel subsidy regime, instead of effecting an outright halt in subsidy.
Meanwhile, barely a few hours after Tinubu’s announcement on subsidy, fuel queues resurfaced in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and some other states.
The announcement triggered a rush for petrol at fillings stations in Port Harcourt as they struggled to get their tanks filled, over fear that once subsidy ends, the cost of PMS could rise above N500/litre.
Oil marketers had projected that the cost of the commodity could hit N700/litre, once the Federal Government ends subsidy on petrol in June this year.
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