Civil rights lawyer, Dr. Kayode Ajulo, has commended governors of the 17 states in southern Nigeria for placing a ban on open grazing, and for demanding the restructuring of the country, among others.
The governors, during their meeting on Tuesday in Asaba, Delta State, under the aegis of the Southern Governors’ Forum, had resolved to ban open grazing of cattle in their states.
They also called for urgent restructuring of the country and a review of appointments into federal government agencies (including security agencies) to reflect federal character.
Ajulo in a statement on Thursday said the southern governors have “assiduously displayed a great milieu of nationalism.”
On the ban on open grazing, he noted that the herdsmen-farmers crisis in the southern parts of the country has been a fundamental cause of insecurity in the country, and that placing a ban on open grazing will stem it.
On the issue of integration vis-à-vis adherence to federal character, Ajulo noted that Nigeria being a nation with more than 250 ethnic groups and an estimated population of about 170,123,740 (2006 census) will naturally experience ethnic and political misunderstanding, mistrust, dominations, conflicts and crises among the various peoples.
Adherence to the federal character principle, he said, would help in smoothening the edges of social integration and interaction.
Citing relevant sections of the constitution, Ajulo also harped on the need for all-inclusiveness in the running of the government at the federal, state and local government levels.
On the need to reflect true federalism, Ajulo said, “There is at present widespread discontent with the country’s federal structure and arrangements. All the constitutional, political and judicial aspects of the federal system need to be openly discussed.
“Issues such as revenue allocations from the Federation Account to the three levels of government; the position of local government in the federal system.”
He also agreed with the southern governors that there is a need for the creation of state police, which he said makes it imperative that the 1999 Nigerian Constitution be amended to give states of the federation the leverage to create their own police.
This he said would lead to a tremendous improvement in state security and in general national security.
He also stressed the importance of the president addressing the nation, as, according to him, every sovereignty all over the world attaches great importance to maintaining the confidence of the public, and that public confidence is invoked as a guiding principle in relation to the conduct of the government in the betterment of the lives of the citizens.
“It is high time the president addressed the nation on the insecurity challenges being faced across the country.
“There are insinuations that some cabals within the corridors of power are the ones ruling the country while the president is sitting at the rear, distant from the ruled.
“Section 5 of the 1999 Constitution has placed the executive powers of the federation in the hands of the president and he must take the bull by its horns,” he said.