…woo their northern counterparts for support
…ask those kicking to desist
…mull legislative back-ups
By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
House of Representatives members from the 17 Southern States have thrown their weight behind the region’s Governors in their quest for restructuring, true federalism and permanent ban on open grazing.
It will be recalled that the governors met in Asaba, Delta State capital on Tuesday where they offered a 10-point solutions to the lingering insecurity and other social and economic malaises that had befallen the country.
In a statement signed by 22 lawmakers on behalf of their Forum on Wednesday in Abuja, the members warned those opposing the resolutions to desist from doing such.
The lawmakers who signed the statement included the deputy majority leader of the House, Hon. Peter Akpatason, the Deputy Chief Whip, Hon. Nkiruka Onyejiocha, the minority leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu and the deputy minority leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu.
Others were Hon Adesegun Mujid Adekoya; Hon Dolapo Badaru; Hon Jimoh Ojugbele; Hon Femi Fakeye; Hon. Hon Segun Odebunmi; Hon. Mayowa Akinfolarin; Hon. Olufemi Bamisile; Hon. Oluwole Oke; Hon. Victor Nwaokolo; Hon. Kingsley Chinda; Hon. Essien Ekpeyong Ayi; Hon. Fred Agbedi;
Hon. Francis Charles; Hon. Patrick Asadu; Hon. Lynda Ikpeazu; Hon. Sylvester Ogbaga;Hon. Nkem Abonta and Hon. Jerry Alagboso.
The lawmakers pledged to deploy all legislative instruments to ensure the speedy achievement of the reforms and constitutional amendments that will guarantee a restructuring and the practice of true federalism in the country.
They also called on their northern counterparts to join them in the pursuit of the objectives.
The statement titled “Position of Southern House of Representatives Members on the Resolution of Southern Governors on Open Grazing, Devolution of Power, Others”, read in full.
“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 heathy 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.”