Thursday, 29 July, 2021

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Asaba Accord: Southern govs won’t get solution by playing politics, says Ndume


The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Ali Ndume, has said Southern governors in the country won’t get the solution to the various problems confronting the region by playing to the gallery.

Ndume, who is representing the Borno South Senatorial District in the upper chamber, stated this on Thursday while featuring on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ programme monitored by The PUNCH.

The Senator again faulted the decision of the Southern governors to ban open grazing in the South-West, South-East and the South-South geopolitical zones of the country, adding that open grazing was not the problem but insecurity.

The PUNCH had earlier reported that about 17 southern governors met on Tuesday in Asaba, Delta State, and resolved to ban open grazing and movement of cattle by foot in the region. The governors called for the restructuring of the country along fiscal federalism, devolution of powers and state policing. They also called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to address the nation and convoke a national dialogue to address widespread agitations amongst various groups in the region.

Of late, scores of farmers in Southern Nigeria have been killed, raped, and kidnapped by criminal elements who masquerade as herders. The escalating insecurity in the region has been responsible for food scarcity as farmers abandon their farms as a result of fear of unknown attacks by criminal herders who invade farmlands, brazenly destroy investments worth millions of naira while their cattle feed on crops and scuttle months of farmers’ labour.

However, speaking on the television programme on Thursday, Ndume said, “The governors being the chief security officers of the state in the south should not politicised these things or even try to look as if they are just grandstanding.

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“They have unfiltered access to Mr President who is the Commander-In-Chief and they themselves being the chief security officers of their states have the national security council.

“We have serious security challenges in this country that are different in all the geopolitical zones and I was expecting the governors to come up with the solutions that they have mentioned and discuss with the President in a closed-session as we call it in the Senate not to come out to the media and issue a blanket statement.”

“I am not concerned about what they said but like the open grazing, I was thinking that they would come out with the immediate solution, mid-term solution and long-term solution to open grazing,” he noted.

Continuing, Ndume said, “All these things are not going to be implemented by coming to the media. That is my concern. When leadership is playing to the gallery in a very challenging situation like this, I get so concerned.

“The problem is not open grazing, what we are faced with in this country is insecurity and the security challenges we face are not uniformed.

“They (Southern governors) should be practical and realistic and honest and that is lacking in that statement. They just made a blanket statement. You just don’t say you ban, what are they doing as solution?” he queried.

Credit: Punch

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