Members of the House of Representatives from Southern Nigeria have thrown their weight behind the resolution of the Southern Governors’ Forum over the prohibition of open grazing and other national issues following their meeting on Tuesday.
The Southern federal lawmakers said the resolutions of their governors would address the penetration of bandits and terrorists into their area, which has incapacitated social and economic lives of the people in the South.
They stated that the demands by the 17 governors from the Southern part of the country, which include devolution of power and creation of state policing will stabilise the country.
In a press release signed by 22 House of Representatives' members, made available to SaharaReporters on Wednesday, the lawmakers vowed to support the resolutions with their legislative powers.
"The members of the House of Representatives from the 17 southern states of the federation, after due considerations, unanimously support the resolutions of the Southern Governors’ Forum on the demand for true federalism, restructuring as well as the worsening insecurity in the country, among others.
"This position is in firm restatement of our insistence that our nation must exist and be governed on the platform of democratic tenets of social justice, equity, fairness, mutual respect, true federalism, rule of law and constitutional order, and we are ready to deploy all legislative instruments at our disposal for actualisation
"Against this backdrop, the members of the House of Representatives from the South, without regard to any other affiliations, firmly support our governors on the immediate ban on open cattle grazing across the Southern Nigeria.
"We hold that such is a sure step towards checking the infiltration of bandits, armed herders and terrorist elements which has heightened security challenges with escalated killings and bloody attacks on innocent citizens, while crippling social life, economic activities and food production in the region," the statement partly read.
Among those who signed the statement on behalf of the Southern members in the House of Representatives are Hon Ndudi Elumelu, Hon Peter Akpatason, Hon Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, Hon Toby Okechukwu, Hon Adesegun Mujid Adekoya, Hon Dolapo Badaru, Hon Jimoh Ojugbele and Hon Femi Fakeye.
Others are Hon Segun Odebunmi, Hon Mayowa Akin Folarin, Hon Olufemi Bamisile, Hon Oluwole Oke, Hon Victor Nwaokolo, Hon Kingsley Chinda, Hon Essien Ekpeyong Ayi, Hon Fred Agbedi, Hon Francis Charles, Hon Patrick Asadu, Hon Lynda Ikpeazu, Hon Sylvester Ogbaga, Hon Nkem Abonta and Hon Jerry Alagboso.
While the lawmakers lent their voice in asking the Nigerian government to provide modern option to open grazing, they also cautioned those rejecting the restructuring of the country and reviewing of the revenue control.
"We therefore support the recommendation that the Federal Government should provide alternative and modern livestock management that does not constitute a security and economic challenge to the nation.
"The platform of Southern members in the House of Representatives also support our governor’s restatement of the demand for true federalism through restructuring that will lead to the devolution of power, creation of state police, review of resource control and revenue allocation formula, as well as strict adherence to federal character principle in federal appointments in the shared interests of the federating states.
"As lawmakers, we affirm that such is the only guaranteed way to ensure fairness, justice, equity to engender national stability, productivity and peaceful co-existence and we support an urgent national dialogue in that regard.
"We caution certain individuals kicking against such devolution of power and review of revenue control and allocation formula, to desist from their vested parochial interest and note that such reviews are the only way to stabilise our nation, and engender regional or state productivity and healthy development at all levels.
"Furthermore, our platform commends our governors for the concern for the asphyxiation of economic activities in the Southern Nigeria resulting from the continued congestion in ports in Lagos and the gridlock on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway.
"This challenge has led to loses in billions of naira to businesses and other economic activities in the industrial and commercial activities of not only in the Southern Nigeria but the nation at large.
"We therefore firmly back the demand for the establishment and activation of other ports in other states of the federation, particularly in the South where such services are in very high demand.
"As lawmakers, our platform assures of our readiness to deploy our legislative instruments to ensure speedy achievement of the reforms and constitutional amendments that will guarantee a restructuring towards the practice of true federalism in our country and we are rallying our colleagues from other parts of the country in this direction," the Southern Reps said in the statement.
They went further to commend the governors for their 'bold move', and also appealed to the people of the country to embrace the steps as a way to fix the nation.
"We urge all Nigerians to see the larger picture and ensure that all hands are on the deck to move our nation in the right direction.
"Our platform applauds our governors for their patriotism and courage while commending Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State for hosting his colleagues in their quest for solutions at this critical time in our nation history," the statement added.