The Coalition of Northern Groups, CNG, says the 10-point declaration by 17 Southern governors in Asaba, Delta State has exposed the long years of leadership failure in the North. It said this on Sunday in a statement by its spokesman, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, in Abuja. The Coalition, which condemned the Southern governors’ decision to ban open cattle grazing in their domains, said it was about time the leadership of the Northern states took urgent action to check the mass movement of millions of people from the South into the vast interior of the North.
The statement read, “The Asaba meeting has exposed the extent of the bankruptcy of northern governors who have not, for once, met to take concrete steps to anticipate and checkmate the manoeuvres of the South, particularly with the creation of such armed outfits as the Amotekun, Eastern Security Network and recently the Ebubeagu which are now the tools used to intimidate northerners in the South and to challenge the Nigerian State.
“It also exposed the total failure of the northern governors in the vital area of speaking up for the rights of northerners to be protected from illegal harassment where they earn their living; their rights to places of worship, and their rights to full protection when they live as minorities among other communities in Nigeria.”
The CNG also accused the southern governors of unfairly profiling the business community of herders as the cause of the security challenges in the region.
“The southern governors typically neglected to acknowledge that just as development and population growth has put pressure on available land and increased the prospects of conflict between migrating herders and local populations, so also has the mass movement of millions of people from the South into the vast interior of the North and the permanent nature of this movement.
“Disappointingly, the southern governors cowed from hitting the nail directly on the head by not holding the total failure of the All Progressives Congress administration of Muhammadu Buhari and Yemi Osinbajo responsible for the current national woes, rather than singling out a particular ethnic group for attack and irreverent treatment.”
Suleiman, therefore, demanded that the federal government should proclaim a National Policy on Grazing and Livestock Development (NPGLD) to cater for the needs of all the pastoral communities everywhere in the country.
“There is no justification whatsoever to resist or even question the creation of special initiatives to address the needs of herdsmen if these will lead to lasting peace and stability,” he insisted. On the issue of the national dialogue on insecurity, the Northern groups stated that they would not be part of any such forum that may emerge now or in the future, which would not include a final discussion on the actualization of Biafra and the settlement of any other pending secessionist or self-determination issue.