The governors of the 17 states in the southern region will on Tuesday meet again in Lagos State as a follow-up to their May 11 meeting in Asaba, Delta State, where they considered and concluded to enforce the ban on open grazing.
SaharaReporters learnt that the meeting will be hosted in Ikeja by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu amidst the Presidency’s threat that the open grazing ban was not democratic and should not be allowed to stay.
The State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, also reportedly confirmed that the parley would deliberate on insecurity, true federalism, open grazing, state police, restructuring, and food security, among others.
The meeting would also discuss the aftermath of the Asaba gathering to assess if any meaningful success was made.
But a serving member of the House of Representatives, who did not want his name in print, disclosed that northern lawmakers are watching the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, closely and would not hesitate to initiate an impeachment motion against him if he tries anything they perceive to be against the interest of their region.
It would be recalled that the governors, at the last meeting, which was hosted by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State and attended by 15 of the 17 Southern governors, arrived at a 12-point resolution, which included the banning of open grazing of cattle in all the states.
Following the May 11 meeting, the Presidency days later criticised the Southern Governors’ Forum over its ban on open grazing in the region, saying their announcement “is of questionable legality.”
The Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, in his characteristic defence of the rampaging herdsmen, had stated that the presidency found “no solution offered from their (Southern Governors’ Forum) resolutions” to the incessant herder-farmer clashes that had plagued the country for years.
He had said, “The President had approved a number of specific measures to bring a permanent end to the frequent skirmishes as recommended by Alhaji Sabo Nanono, the Minister of Agriculture in a report he submitted and the President signed off on it back in April, well before the actions of the Southern Governors Forum which attempts to place a ban on open grazing and other acts of politicking intended by its signatories to demonstrate their power.
“It is very clear that there was no solution offered from their resolutions to the herder-farmer clashes that have been continuing in our country for generations.
“But the citizens of the southern states – indeed citizens of all states of Nigeria – have a right to expect their elected leaders and representatives to find answers to challenges of governance and rights, and not to wash their hands off hard choices by, instead, issuing bans that say: 'not in my state'.