Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu hosts 16 of his colleagues from Southern Nigeria at Alausa, Ikeja to discuss the state of the nation.
On May 11, 2021, which is precisely eight weeks ago, similar meeting was held in Asaba, the Delta State capital. At the Lagos meeting, the governors would further assess decisions taken in Asaba on open grazing, restructuring, fiscal federalism and the call for state police.
At the time of filing this report, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), and Godwin Obaseki (Edo) represented by his deputy, Philip Shaibu.
Others are Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Emmanuel Udom (Akwa Ibom), Diri Duoye (Bayelsa), Willie Obiano (Anambra), Ben Ayade (Cross Rivers), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), David Umahi (Ebonyi), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Hope Uzodimma (Imo), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), and Oluwaseyi Makinde (Oyo).
After welcoming his colleagues, Governor Akeredolu hinted that the deliberation would start immediately and that the communique would be made known to the press.
I would be recalled that the governors in a communique issued at the end of the meeting in Asaba, banned open grazing as part of the moves to address the incessant killings and kidnapping by the herdsmen. But a few days after the meeting, the Presidency faulted the ban.
In a statement, the Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu had said, “It is equally true that their (governors’) announcement is of questionable legality, given the constitutional right of all Nigerians to enjoy the same rights and freedoms within every one of our 36 states (and FCT), regardless of the state of their birth or residence.”
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, also slammed the southern governors for banning open grazing. He equated open grazing ban to Northern governors banning spare part trading in their own region, considering the fact that southerners comprise a majority of spare parts traders in the North.
During a recorded television interview in June, President Muhammadu Buhari backed Malami’s position. He also disclosed that he had directed that the grazing routes should be recovered.