Senators from the 17 Southern states of the country under the umbrella of Southern Senators Forum (SSF) have thrown their weight behind Tuesday’s call by the Southern Governors Forum for restructuring of Nigeria, as well as the ban on open grazing in the Southern States.
The Southern Senators Forum consisting of ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Senators as well as their counterparts in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Young People’s Party (YPP), commended Governors from the region for outrightly taking a firm position on burning national issues, including call for the restructuring of the nation and ban on open grazing of cattle.
A statement issued Wednesday and jointly signed by the SSF Chairman, Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti); Secretary General, Matthew Urhoghide (Edo) and Publicity Secretary, Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu), hailed the Governors for ruminating on the expediency and the need for speedy restructuring of the highly lopsided Nigerian nation, saying this will also help to remove the venom that had permeated the land on account of alleged neglect of certain sections of the country.
The senators noted that ushering of equality , equity and justice in the way the country was being run will wipe out ethnic tension, restore peace and stability and ward off agitations for secession that are now gaining tractions across the land.
The senators equally noted that the deft and unanimous policy of the ban on open cattle grazing would help in reining in those hiding under cattle grazing to unleash terror of kidnapping and killing on the residents of the region.
They appaluded the step taken by the Governors, saying it would serve as a buffer to wanton destruction of farmlands, kidnappings and carnages .
The Senators lamented how the Southern farmers were losing hundreds of millions of Naira to plundering of food crops through encroachments on farmlands and exposing the region to famine and acute food scarcity.
“At this critical point of our national life when the economy was being bedeviled by galloping inflation, youth unemployment and insecurity, food security is very crucial to mitigate the effects of these diverse evils on the citizens,” the senators said.
“Available records have shown that attaining food security status would remain a mirage in the south owing to ravaging effect of outdated livestock grazing policy being unleashed on farmlands by some unscrupulous herders.
“Most appalling were the seemingly unabated kidnapping , raping and killing of our people by suspected herdsmen, who have become bandits heating up the system.
“With this uniform resolve by our Governors to initiate no-open grazing policy, the region will return to its peaceful and agriculturally self -sufficient status it had assumed even long before Nigeria’s amalgamation in 1914”.
The Senators, thus, encouraged the Governors to swiftly follow up on their resolutions by immediately approaching the leadership of the National Assembly with a view to working with the two arms of the parliament “to ensure that their well articulated positions on the state of the nation, especially as relate to restructuring, State policing and the jettisoning of archaic traditional grazing methods, which fall short of global best practice standard and a potential threat to national cohesion and peace, are thoroughly and decisively addressed through the ongoing constitutional review exercise”.