Southern Leaders Forum has handed Acting president, Yemi Osinbajo, an ultimatum, to inform the zone of the Federal Government’s plans to protect Southerners residing in the North, against the backdrop of an October 1, 2017 deadline from Arewa youths to Igbo, to leave the region.
Besides, southern leaders have also given Osinbajo another ultimatum, which much be achieved by December 2017: implement the 2014 National Conference report and also, allow the 36 states assume their status as federating units, as guaranteed by the country’s Constitution.
Rising from a meeting in Lagos, yesterday evening, the forum insisted it will not tolerate any threat or attack against any part of the South. They reiterated that any attack against any part of the zone is an attack against the entire region.
Forum President and former director general of the Department of State Security (DSS), Albert Horsfall, said southern leaders will not tolerate any threat and would ensure that any attack against the South will get the response it deserves.
addedHorsfall said Southern leaders are unhappy that up till date, no action has been taken by the Federal Government.
He said Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, must inform Nigerians of federal government actions and plans, to protect southerners living in the North.
“We are disconcerted that, up till now, no action appears to have been taken regarding the October 1 threat issued by Arewa youths. We, therefore, demand that Osinbajo inform Nigerians of what actions and steps has been taken to protect the Igbo and all Southerners who live in the North against the the threats of the Arewa youths. We reiterate that any threat or action against anyone from the South will be treated as a threat or action against all Southerners.”
The forum also stated that the federal government, should, as a matter of urgency, implement recommendations of the 2014 National Conference.
“We note with gratitude, a statement by the acting president, that the issue of restructuring will be addressed soon and we urge him to follow his statement with immediate action by acting on the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference. The issue of restructuring and change was an integral part of the All Progressives Congress (APC) manifesto.
“We want the 16-point agenda that was submitted by the South-South delegation, submitted in their meeting with the acting president to be acted upon immediately, to avoid youth restiveness and sustain the current peace.
“There is an urgent need to restructure Nigeria to achieve true federalism. We will not be distracted by individuals who claim ignorance of what restructuring means or those who try to imply a non-existent sinister plan to break up Nigeria because of the demand for restructuring. We affirm our commitment to the unity of Nigeria and also, insist on the urgent need to restructure Nigeria, to achieve true federalism.
“For the avoidance of doubt, restructuring is a return to the constitution of independence which our founding fathers bequeathed to us. That constitution allowed the states autonomy in the management of their affairs.
“The states will be federating units, with its own with rights to have their own constitution. The states will have control of its resources and make agreed contributions to the federal government for general services.
“We will identify those areas of our Constitution which should allow for effective administration in the states. It is important that action be commenced immediately, to ensure that the entire changes are implemented by December 2017.”
The forum also noted what it describes as the menace of armed Fulani herdsmen and proliferation of Fulani armed settlements in the South.
“We want to alert the international community and we also want the FG to take appropriate actions against them. We want the FG to make an official statement on this and take appropriate action to put them in check.”
Those in attendance were former governor of Akwa Ibom state, Obong Victor Attah, Afenifere chieftains, Ayo Adebanjo, Femi Okurounmu, former managing director of Niger Delta Development Commission, Timi Alaibe, Tony Uranta, President of Ijaw Monitoring Group, Joseph Eva, Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw and Afenifere spokesman, Yinka Odumakin.
South East, South South govs meet in Enugu
•To forge common regional integration
From Chidi Nnadi, Enugu
Governors of the South East and South South geo-political zones, yesterday, met in Enugu State, to pool efforts together, in forging regional integration.
Welcoming the governors to the meeting, coming on the heels of the one held last week by South-East governors and stakeholders, host, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi said people of the two regions are one people, joined by history, culture, values, geography, brotherhood, friendship and more recently, common challenges.
He said the Enugu parley, held at Nike Lake hotel, would help them understand themselves more, as well as avail them the opportunity to strengthen old ties, develop common regional agenda and ensure development of the regions.
Ugwuanyi also said they will deliberate on the welfare and security of the two regions, bearing in mind that criminals criss-cross the regions in carrying out their nefarious activities.
He told his colleagues that South-East governors and other stakeholders met in Enugu last week, to review the state of the nation, and said they agreed for a restructured Nigeria, where equity and justice would reign.
Also speaking, Governor Dave Umahi, who is chairman of the South-East Governors Forum, said they were meeting for the first time as governors of South South and South East, to brainstorm on various but salient issues affecting the two zones.
“We are meeting as brothers, to talk about regional integration and find lasting solutions to intermittent outbreak of inter-state clashes, arising from boundary disputes among the two regions.
“We will also talk about economic survival of the two regions and look at possible ways of bringing our ingenuity and making use of our huge deposit of both human and natural resources to attain economic viable zones in Nigeria.
“There is also need to discuss security, peace and unity of the two regions and find lasting solution to various salient issues that affect our unity in Nigeria.
“It is a meeting borne out of love and desire to find cohesion among the two regions and I am happy that my brother governors responded to the call, even at the short notice given to them. In other words, we are discussing regional and national interests,” Umahi said.
Governors who attended yesterday’s meeting included Governors Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Rochas Okorocha (Imo); Dave Umahi (Ebonyi ); Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia); Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa); Ben Ayade (Cross River); Emmanuel Udom (Akwa Ibom) while deputy governor of Anambra State, Nkem Okeke represented Governor Willie Obiano.