Members of the minority caucus in the House of Representatives from the 19 northern states have endorsed the recommendations of the Southern Governors’ forum.
Governors of the 17 southern states, under the aegis of Southern Governors Forum (SGF), had on Tuesday, after a meeting in Asaba, Delta State, resolved to ban open grazing by herders and also called for the restructuring of the country.
The resolutions were contained in the 12-point communique read by SGF Chairman, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State.
On Wednesday, senators and members of the House of Representatives from the south, in separate statements, endorsed the decision of the governors.
On Thursday, In a statement signed by Amos Gwamna (PDP, Kaduna), Solomon Maren (PDP, Plateau), Rimande Shawulu (PDP, Taraba), Mark Gbillah (PDP, Benue) and Tajudeen Yusuf (PDP, Kogi) on behalf of the minority caucus, the lawmakers expressed support for the position of the governors.
They called on President Muhamadu Buhari to heed the recommendations of the governors and to initiate a bill to kickstart the process of restructuring.
The lawmakers also urged the president to reconsider his ‘skewed appointments.”
“We, members of the minority from the north hereby call on President Buhari to heed the genuine advice of governors from the south and immediately address the nation to assuage frayed nerves.
“The president should also put machinery in place for the commencement of the process of restructuring the nation and initiate legislation to end open grazing, which has been at the centre of the lingering insecurity across the nation.
“In order to regain the confidence of majority of Nigerians, the president must begin to redress his skewed appointments, which have unfortunately divided the nation along ethnic and religious lines.”
They also condemned the federal government for not supporting some states in enforcing their anti-open grazing laws.
“We commend the governors for taking the bold move to speak against open grazing and other ills bedevilling the nation. Benue State had the foresight and enacted a law banning open grazing and was closely followed by Taraba state.
“Unfortunately, these states have not gotten the desired support from the federal government thereby creating room for some elements to undermine the implementation of the law.”
Benue State passed its anti-open-grazing-law law in 2017. However, violence and killings linked to herders/farmers clashes are still being recorded in the state.
Taraba State passed a similar law in 2017.
The move by the southern governors is coming amidst the recent legislative intervention by the House of Representatives. Last month, the lower legislative chamber resolved to call on Mr Buhari to declare a state-of-emergency on security.
The lawmakers are billed to hold a security summit from May 24 to 28.