Members of the House of Representatives from the 17 southern states on Wednesday backed the position of governors from the region on the ban placed on open grazing, restructuring and devolution of power.
The lawmakers, in a statement titled: “Position of Southern House of Representatives Members on the Resolution of Southern Governors on Open Grazing, Devolution of Power, Others”, said that Nigeria, as presently constituted cannot make any meaningful political or economic progress.
They said they are in full support of the governors as the southern part of the country is reeling from the activities of armed herdsmen, kidnappers and terrorists.
The statement reads: “The members of the House of Representatives from the 17 southern states of the federation, after due considerations, unanimously support the resolutions of the Southern Governors’ Forum on the demand for true federalism, restructuring as well as the worsening insecurity in the country, among others.
“This position is in firm restatement of our insistence that our nation must exists and governed on the platform of democratic tenets of social justice, equity, fairness, mutual respect, true federalism, rule of law and constitutional order, and we are ready to deploy all legislative instruments at our disposal for actualization
“Against this backdrop, 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.
“The platform of Southern members in the House of Representatives 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.
“As lawmakers, we affirm that such is the only guaranteed way to ensure fairness, justice, equity to engender national stability, productivity and peaceful co-existence and we support an urgent national dialogue in that regard.
“We caution certain individuals kicking against such devolution of power and review of revenue control and allocation formula to desist from their vested parochial interest and note that such reviews are the only way to stabilize our nation, engender regional or state productivity and healthy development at all levels.
“Furthermore, our platform commends our governors for the concern for the asphyxiation of economic activities in the Southern Nigeria resulting from the continued congestion in ports in Lagos and the gridlock on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway.
“This challenge has led to loses in billions of naira to businesses and other economic activities in the industrial and commercial activities of not only in the Southern Nigeria but the nation at large.
“We therefore 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.
“As lawmaker, our platform assures of our readiness to deploy our legislative instruments to ensure speedy achievement of the reforms and constitutional amendments that will guarantee a restructuring towards the practice of true federalism in our country and we are rallying our colleagues from other parts of the country in this direction.
“We urge all Nigerians to see the larger picture ensure that all hands are on the deck to move our nation to the right direction.
“Our platform applauds our governors for their patriotism and courage while commending Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State for hosting his colleagues in their quest for solutions at this critical time in our nation history.
The statement was signed on behalf of the Southern members by Hons. Ndudi Elumelu, Peter Akpatason, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha , Toby Okechukwu, Adesegun Mujid Adekoya, Dolapo Badaru, Jimoh Ojugbele, Femi Fakeye, Segun Odebunmi, Mayowa Akinfolarin, Olufemi Bamisile, Oluwole Oke and Victor Nwaokolo
Others are Kingsley Chinda, Essien Ekpeyong Ayi, Fred Agbedi, Francis Charles, Patrick Asadu, Lynda Ikpeazu , Sylvester Ogbaga, Nkem Abonta and Jerry Alagboso