South-west Governors stand firm on State Police

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Governors of the six South-west states of Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo yesterday in Ibadan, said they were committed to protect the lives and property of their people and vowed to put their political affiliations aside and confront killer-herdsmen, banditry and other security challenges facing the region.

The governors also said to successfully protect their people in the geo-political zone, it had become necessary for the federation to permit states to raise their own police force.

This is coming as President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja said his administration was determined to find a lasting solution to the protracted farmers and herders’ violence in different parts of the country.

The governors, who gave the commitment in their separate remarks while speaking at a security summit, christened, “Stakeholders’ Security Summit : Focus on Western Nigeria,” held in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, also said now more than ever is the time to create state police, stressing that they could co-exist with the federal police.

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Present at the summit which was organised by the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission, were the six governors from the region, security chiefs, traditional rulers, leaders of thought and prominent groups within the region.

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, who doubles as the Chairman of the Western Nigeria Governors’ Forum, in his speech while declaring the summit open, said no sacrifice was too much for the governors in the region to make to protect their people, noting that the governors in the region had decided to put their party affiliations aside and tackle the security challenges facing the region.

According to him, “This meeting has become exigent considering the spate of insecurity in the country. The anxiety of our people is palpable. The growing fear among the populace makes nonsense of any plans conceived for the development of our God-given space.

“It is my fervent hope that this engagement will not be limited to the current challenge which threatens to wreck our collective peace. I look forward to future interactions on matters as important and affective as this one which compels this assembly. There is no gainsaying the obvious; the issue of socio-economic integration in the region must be taken seriously for any aspiration towards development to be meaningful. No remarkable progress can be achieved amidst chaos. No state in the region can achieve greatness in isolation.

“We should extend the possibility of cooperation on other socio-economic fronts. Our people stand to benefit from our resolve to ensure that they remain at the centre of all permutations and considerations.

“Partisan coloration should not delimit the extent of collaboration aimed at maximum service for our people. With shared yearnings for the development of the region, there should be no difficulty in agreeing to provide the best services possible in the interest of our people.

“There should be no disagreement in aspiration for service, if altruism is the focus. Our seeming difference, considering political platforms, should not stand in the way of commitment to promote the collective well-being of our people. Convinced of our shared heritage, propelled by the desire to proceed on the enviable tradition of excellence for which our ancestors are reputed, we cannot harbour any extraneous preferences to this inherited and established course of development.

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, in his welcome address, said as governors, their role is to ensure that everyone living in the region is safe, stating that there can be no development without a secure environment.

He noted that as a group, the people of the South-west have always had more things that unite them than those that divide them, insisting that they want things to continue like that and would not allow the actions of miscreants and enemies of unity to make the people change who they are.

According to him, “As governors, it is our responsibility to ensure that everyone in our midst, indigene or alien residents, is assured of security of their life and property. We also know that there are barriers preventing us from carrying out this constitutional responsibility to the fullest measure.”

Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, in his own remarks, said drone system has been deployed to tackle some of the security challenges facing the region while Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State and Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State, in their addresses, maintained that security issue has been the major discussion of the governors and had decided to cooperate with each other in tackling security challenges in the region.

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja said his administration was determined to find a lasting solution to the protracted farmers and herders’ violence in different parts of the country.
The president, who said the government was putting in place policies aimed at finding permanent solutions to the crisis, appealed to all leaders in the country to assist the government in promoting peace.

The president made the remarks while hosting a delegation of leaders of thought from Nasarawa State in the Presidential Villa, recalling how he advocated the need to invest in four areas, namely: security, primary healthcare, agriculture and education while inaugurating the National Economic Council (NEC) on Thursday.
He appealed to the states of the federation to focus on these four areas in the country’s quest for development.

Buhari said: “The incessant conflicts between herders and farmers is an age-long problem. This administration is determined to find lasting solutions. I employ all leaders of opinion to help maintain peace while we are putting in place policies and permanent solutions.

“Just last week, I inaugurated the National Economic Council. During that meeting, I emphasised the need to invest in education, primary healthcare, agriculture and security as foundations for sustainable progress.
“I want to use this forum to again solicit the support of all states to align with those four pillars. We must all have a collective vision for sustainable development.”

He praised the state for what he described as its steadfastness and commitment to progress, saying he will never forget the state because it was the only state won by his defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in 2011.

He assured his guests that in the next four years, the federal government would remain committed to the change agenda, pointing out that the government’s goal to build an inclusive, secure and prosperous Nigeria is achievable.

The president told his visitors: “In the next four years, I want to assure you that we will remain committed to the change agenda. Our goal of building an inclusive, secure and prosperous Nigeria is achievable. However, the federal government cannot do it alone. We need the full cooperation and support of states, local governments as well as traditional and religious leaders.

“I must commend you the Nasarawa elders and leaders for making peace within the state. In the last four years, you collectively put aside your political, religious and ethnic differences for the interest of stability and prosperity. We must continue to preach peace and understanding in your various community.”
Answering questions from journalists on their mission in the State House, Nasarawa State Governor, Alhaji Sule Abdullahi, said they had visited the president to congratulate him on his re-election and also thank him for appointing their sons into notable positions in the country.

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