The Southern Senators Forum (SSF), has commended the Southern Governors Forum (SGF) for outrightly taking a firm position on burning national issues, including restructuring and banning open grazing of cattle in Southern part of the country, among other demands. The lawmakers said the decision was a welcome development against the backdrop of growing insecurity, which has continue to take a toll on the country and subjecting innocent Nigerians to kidnapping and killing.
SSF 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.
According to report the Southern Governors Forum rising from its meeting held in Asaba, Delta State on Tuesday, had unanimously passed a verdict prohibiting open grazing in the region to checkmate herders-farmers clashes and senseless kidnapping as well as killings of innocent residents.
In a statement jointly signed by the SSF chairman, secretary general and publicity secretary, Senators Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central), Mathew Uroghide (PDP, Edo) and Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu) respectively and made available to journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, the legislative pressure group appaluded the step taken by the governors, saying it would serve as a buffer to wanton destruction of farmlands, kidnappings and carnages .
The Senators also lamented how the farmers in the South 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records have shown that attaining food security status would remain a mirage in the south owing to ravaging effect of outdated livestock grazing policy being unleashed on farmlands by some unscrupulous herders.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,” they said.
They, therefore, 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.
The SSF leaders stated that 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. The Southern Senators Forum encouraged the governors to swiftly follow up on their resolutions by immediately approaching the leadership of the National Assembly 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 constitution review exercise.