Open grazing of cattle by Fulani herders has been banned throughout the 17 states of Southern Nigeria.

Governors of the Southern states who met for the first time in Asaba, Delta State, said the resolution to ban grazing in their territory was taken to safeguard the welfare of people and ensure food security.

Expressing concern over the level of criminal activity observed in Southern states as a result of the actions of undesirable elements, the Governors noted in an eight-point communique, “this has posed a severe security challenge, and our people are not able to live normal lives, including pursuing productive activities, leading to threat in food supply.

“Consequently, the forum resolved that open grazing be banned across all the 17 Southern states.”

Similarly, the Southern Governors resolved to ban the movement of cattle on foot.

They however urged the Federal Government to support states that are willing to invest in livestock management.

The Southern states reaffirmed their faith in an indivisible and united country.

But the governors from the geographical area maintained that the time has come to restructure the nation in a manner which would give vent to the emergence of an actual federalist state.

Such a move, they stressed, must include concepts that would encourage the evolution of state policing as well as the establishment of other institutions of state that would advance the notion of true federalism.

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While urging President Muhammadu Buhari to address the nation without delay, the Southern Governors emphasized that their commitment to national unity would be based on “justice, equity and fairness” and “peaceful co-existence between and among Nigerians for economic development and prosperity.”

Hammering strictly on restructuring and national unity, the Governors of Southern Nigeria recommended “greater inclusiveness in governance”, saying that “the federal government should convoke a national dialogue as a matter of urgency.”

According to them, appointments into federal government agencies, including military and police, should henceforth reflect the nation’s federal character.

The meeting asked for more effective collaboration between states and the federal government in evolving strategies required to fight the war against the COVID-19 pandemic.

News of the meeting of the Southern states has come as a pleasant surprise.

Across the country, it is being seen as a demonstration of political will and evidence that Southern states may have set aside differences to stand together in defence of their common interests.

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State hosted the meeting of the 17 Governors which outcome is reverberating nationwide.