Members of the House of Representatives from the 17 states in Southern Nigeria have endorsed the 12-point communique issued by the state governors on Tuesday.
The 17 governors, under the aegis of Southern Governors Forum (SGF), rose from a meeting in Asaba, Delta State and resolved to ban open grazing, which has been a source of conflicts across the country between armed herders and farmers.
In a statement released by Ndudi Elumelu (PDP, Delta) and signed by 20 lawmakers, across the two major political parties (Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) and from the three geopolitical zones, the federal lawmakers hailed the decisions of the governors.
Some of the lawmakers that signed the statement include the Deputy Leader of the House, Peter Akpatason (APC, Edo), Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu), Deputy Chief Whip, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha (APC, Abia), Leader of the PDP Caucus, Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers) and others.
The lawmakers said the “position is in a firm restatement of our insistence that our nation must exist and govern 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 actualisation.
“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 Southern Nigeria.”
They expressed commitment to national dialogue “to ensure fairness, justice, equity to engender national stability, productivity, and peaceful co-existence.”
The lawmakers also called for the creation of more ports in the southern part of the country, to ensure the decongestion of Lagos.
They also promised to use the ongoing constitutional amendment process to ensure the speedy process of the reforms recommended by the governors.
“Furthermore, our platform commends our governors for the concern for the asphyxiation of economic activities in Southern Nigeria resulting from the continued congestion in ports in Lagos and the gridlock on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway.
“This challenge has led to losses 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.”
The Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, who represents Surulere II federal constituency of Lagos State, was not a signatory to the statement.