Tinubu, APC Govs, Other Leaders Back S’West Govs On Open Grazing Ban, Frown On Secessionist Agenda

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South-West leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have backed the Southern Governors Forum on the total ban on open grazing across the region.

The support came in a communique issued by the South-West APC Leaders after a meeting at Lagos House, Marina on Sunday.

Recall that the Southern governors met on Tuesday, May 11 and released a 12-point resolution dubbed the Asaba Declaration.

In its communique on Sunday, the APC leaders threw their weight behind the decision to ban open grazing of cattle in the Southern region.

Party leaders at the meeting were APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; former APC Interim National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande; former Ogun State Governor, Chief Segun Osoba; House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila; Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Gboyega Oyetola (Osun), and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun); Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Niyi Adebayo; former APC South-West Vice Chairman, Pius Akinyelure; and elder statesman, General Alani Akinrinade (retd).

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However, Ekiti and Ondo State Governors, Kayode Fayemi and Rotimi Akeredolu respectively were conspicuously absent at the meeting.

“Concerned about the state of the nation, particularly the serious security challenges facing the country, APC leaders in the South-west met in Lagos on Sunday, May 24, 2021.

“The meeting was characterized by open and frank discussions of the difficulties now facing Nigeria. “Based on these deliberations, the following points of agreement were reached:

“The Leaders commiserate with and console the President and Commander-in-Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari, the military authorities, families of the Chief of Army Staff and other officers who died, and indeed the entire nation over last Friday’s tragic plane crash in Kaduna,” the communique read in part.

The party restated their belief in the unity, stability and sustainability of Nigeria, warning those pushing separatist agenda to desist forthwith.

“We note with significant concern the security situation in the country. Terrorism and violent criminality threaten many areas, adversely affecting the lives and livelihoods of too many innocent and peace-loving Nigerians. While mindful of the resource and other constraints facing the nation, we urge the federal government to continue to make the necessary expenditures and allocate sufficient resources to enable the military and security agencies tackle the difficult security challenges confronting us.

“For Nigeria to overcome these challenges, we must do so with unity of purpose and action. The desire for peace and the chance for a prosperous and just society are universal and transcend all regional, religious or ethnic divisions. Sadly, many public figures have made statements that spark division and undermine the needed unity of purpose. We urge the government at all levels, security agencies, and public leaders across the country to do everything possible to prevent tension so that we sustain the necessary unity to defeat these challenges to our national security. All responsible Nigerians must speak and act in a manner that strengthens our common cause against these common threats to our collective peace, justice and development.

“We restate our abhorrence of violence as a means to achieve either political or economic power or influence. We strongly condemn the violence of any form in any part of the country, regardless of the ethnic or regional identity of the perpetrators of the violence or of the victims. Government must do all it can to protect potential victims and assist those who have previously been victimized by terrorism or widespread banditry.

“We hold the view that true federalism where more power and resources are allocated to the states will be an essential part in strengthening society and improving democratic governance so that we beat the present challenges but also engender durable peace and security. True federalism and the reallocation of resources and authority that comes with it will empower the states to solve localized issues before they spread and transform into national ones. In addition to mitigating political competition for control of the national government, greater federalism will empower grassroots economic development and political reforms that will stand as bulwarks against the terrorism and criminality now experienced in too many parts of the nation. A hallmark of this enhanced federalism will be the establishment of state police forces.

“We endorse the position of the Southern Governors taken at their May 11, 2021 summit in Asaba, Delta State, regarding ranching. We do so because such a decision will lessen tensions between farmers and herders while also helping the long-term economic viability of both the farming and herding communities.

“We are mindful of the short-term dislocation this might cause but are also mindful that this position is in the best interests of all parties concerned. We, therefore, recommend that the federal and state governments cooperate fully with each other to enact the necessary measures to encourage this more effective and modern method of cattle-rearing so that both farmers and herders can pursue their livelihoods with greater productivity and in a more cooperative relationship that minimizes the friction between these two important pillars of our agricultural economy.

“And finally, we use the opportunity of the meeting to urge the Federal Government to provide, through the CBN, short, medium and long term financing for states and those who may wish to set up ranches as part of the agricultural sustainability policy.”

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