Chief Tola Adeniyi, convener, G9

OBINNA EZUGWU

A national think tank group, the Gravitas Group for Good Governance (GGGG), has challenged the governors of the states south of Rivers Niger and Benue, to summon courage and speak out boldly on tackling the menace of insecurity that is about to snuff life out of their constituencies, in the manner that those of Taraba State, Darius Ishaku and Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje have done.

The group in a statement by its convener, Chief Tola Adeniyi, called on governors of Yoruba nation, the Ijaw nation, the Igbo nation as well as the Middle Belt in particular and indeed all the entire 34 states that have kept mute to speak out.

It also tasked the Senate President Honourable Lawan, the Speaker House of Representatives Honourable Gbajabiamila and all elected and selected officials throughout the country to  commence immediate action on the restructuring of the country.

“They should declare their stand and insist on the immediate restructuring of Security Architecture, immediate establishment of state and local government police and more urgently the immediate non-negotiable negotiable mass evacuation of herdsmen from Forest Reserves and from all lands forcefully occupied,” the group said.

The group noted that animal husbandry is a private business, even as it argued that it is cruel to continue to send school age boys to roam streets and forest in the name of rearing cattle.

“Animal husbandry and all forms of agriculture and farming are personal investments and businesses like carpentry, manufacturing etc etc. Cruel exploitation of school-age boys sent trekking several miles day and night and living in pitiable inhuman conditions must stop. Ganduje and Ishaku have spoken.

“There were two significant public pronouncements from usually unusual quarters at the weekend, one through a Press Interview and the other via Channels TV interview. The two thought-provoking pronouncements addressed very pertinent matters of burning national interest which are critical to the corporate survival of Nigeria as a country, thus they gained the attention of Gravitas Group for Good Governance,” the group noted.

“Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje [Born December 25, 1949] with B.Sc [Ahmadu Bello], M.Sc [Bayero University] and PhD [University of Ibadan] last 2 degrees in Public Administration and leader of the most populous state in Northern Nigeria threw the first salvo. He stoutly called for the outright ban of movement of cattle from north to other parts of the country”. He is worth quoting in full.

“Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano state has called on the Federal Government to enact a law banning the movement of cattle from the north to other parts of the country in order to resolve the incessant incidences of clashes between farmers and herders.”

“The governor made the call in an interview with journalists after a special lunch which the All Progressives Congress, APC, governors had with President Muhammadu Buhari at his Daura private residence, Katsina state during the weekend.

“He said having a ban on movement of herders would also address the challenge of cattle rustling.

“Fielding question on how far he had gone with the Ruga project in his state, Ganduje said “we are building a Ruga settlement in Samsosua Forest, our border with Katsina and we have succeeded in curtailing the effect of banditry in that area.

“‘So, we are building many houses, we are constructing a dam; we are establishing a Cattle Artificial insemination Centre; we are establishing a veterinary clinic and already we have started building houses for herdsmen.

“‘My advocacy is that we should abolish the transportation or trekking of herdsmen from the northern part of Nigeria to the middle belt and to the Southern part of Nigeria.

“‘There should be a law that will ban, otherwise we cannot control the conflicts between herdsmen and farmers and cannot control the cattle rustling which is affecting us greatly.'”

The GGGG also commended Taraba governor, noting that, “The second pronouncement came from Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba state [Born July 30, 1954] an Architect graduate from Ahmadu Bello University and former lecturer. He also spoke boldly on the imperative of State and Local Government Police. He is also worth quoting verbatim:

“’Unless we break down the strata of Security Agencies particularly the police there can never be security in this country. There must be, I insist, state police, there must be local government police. The Federal government alone cannot handle this security. It has shown that they have failed and failed woefully.

“’Where we copied this Constitution is America. America has federal police, state police, and local government police. And when an issue is bigger than what the state and local government police can handle, and then the Military comes in.

“’But ours here, Military is the first resort, because we have failed woefully.”’

According to it, “These are commendable statesmanlike statements that should be issuing from Nigerian leaders who are seriously worried about the plight of their people and the obvious decent into the abyss. And the two governors are highly commended for their forthright statesmanship while kudos is given to former President Olusegun Obasanjo for lending his huge voice and experience, in his recent interview with Toyin Falola to the subjects under reference.

“Gravitas Group challenges the governors of the states south of Rivers Niger and Benue to summon courage and speak out boldly on tackling the menace of insecurity that is about to snuff life out of their constituencies.”