From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja, Magnus Eze, Enugu and Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki
Members of the House of Representatives from the 17 southern states have lauded the Southern Governors Forum for calling for a restructuring of the polity, banning of open grazing and demand for true federalism in the country.
The southern lawmakers, in a statement by the minority leader, Ndudi Elumelu and 22 others, yesterday, promised to deploy all legislative instruments at their disposal, to actualise the resolutions of the governors at their meeting in Asaba, on Tuesday.
“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.
“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.
“We 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.
“We 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.”
Also, Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), yesterday, backed the decision of the southern governors banning open grazing in the area.
They described the move as courageous and strategic, urging them to ensure that they back it up with the necessary legislation; which is the most potent strategy to prevent the monstrous and murderous Fulani herdsmen from overrunning their states.
ADF said: “The law to be passed in the Houses of Assembly should be accompanied by clear modalities, instrumentalities and machineries for their enforcement. The effectiveness of this move depends on the synergy between the governors, the legislators and the people including the civil society organisations.”
ADF also drew the attention of the southern governors and legislators to the obvious fact that their fate in the current struggle for survival is intricately interwoven with the fate of their fellow compatriots in the Middle Belt and Southern Kaduna.
MASSOB on its part, encouraged the southern governors and other leaders to sustain the southern unity and brace up for the defense of their indigenous people. Leader of the group, Uchenna Madu, noted that their decision had rattled the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and, therefore, urged them not to relent in their ban on open grazing and call for national dialogue.
MASSOB assured the southern governors that Southeast and the people were solidly behind the latest moves of salvaging their people from the marauding Fulani-terrorist herdsmen being brought in from some West African countries to carry out Islamisation agenda.