Southwest Governors and traditional rulers today advised President Muhammadu Buhari to reopen the prolonged border closure, saying it has caused untold economic difficulties to the people, especially those in border communities.
The southwest leaders also urged the Federal Government to come up with comprehensive programme that addresses youth employment and empowerment and a review of the curricular of tertiary institutions with emphasis on skills acquisition and entrepreneurship.
In a communiqué issued at the end of stakeholders meeting with President Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Ministers, Inspector General of Police, Director of Department of State Services (DSS), among other security agencies held at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, the Southwest Governors and monarchs also called for concerted efforts to urgently resolve the impasse between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government so that students can return to school in earnest.
All the southwest Governors and key traditional rulers were in attendance at the meeting, while the communiqué was jointly signed by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State who is the Chairman of Southwest Governors’ Forum, and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi.
The communiqué is reproduced below:
Communique issued today (Sunday 8th November 2020) after a meeting of Governors and Traditional Rulers of South West States and Presidential delegation, including Minsters from the South West;
1. We express appreciation to Mr. President and his administration on the responsiveness to the initial demands of the ENDSARS demonstrators and for his firm handling of the aftermaths of the protest.
2. We endorse the call by traditional rulers call for regular consultations with state governors and federal authorities on challenges facing the state and for appropriate recognition of their role in the Constitution.
3. The security architecture of the country requires adjustment to adequately address the threats and realities of insecurity in the country. There should be more police presence in communities in the South west states.
4. While there are legitimate concerns contained in the initial ENDSARS movement, these have been hijacked by criminal and other elements with ulterior and negative forces and degenerated into anarchy.
5. There is need to undertake preventive actions aimed at prevention of repeat of what happened in the country following the ENDSARS demonstrators. Security needs to be strengthened in all states.
6. We wish to encourage the Nigeria Police by responding to their needs and appeal to them to do more to protect lives and properties and enhance security all over the country.
7. We call for specific measures and proposals to repair damage done to the physical infrastructure and economic assets of the South West.
8. Review of reports of constitutional conferences including 2014 National Conference and implement some of the recommendations especially with reference to security, economy, equal treatment for citizens all over the country.
9. We believe that the prolonged closure of the border has caused economic difficulties and should be re-examined to alleviate problems of the people in the border communities and prices of some essential commodities. There is need to review the closure and permit resumption of economic and trading activities.
10. A comprehensive programme that addresses youth employment and empowerment should be prioritized. Closer coordination and complementarity between the states and the Federal Government. In this regard, the curricular of tertiary institutions should be reviewed, with emphasis placed on skills acquisition and entrepreneurship.
11. We recognize the damaging and negative impact of fake/false news and worry about its destructive and dangerous potency of fake news. We call on federal government to use the instrumentality of existing laws and those regulations bench-marked from other countries to provide safeguards against the spread of fake news. 2015 Cyber Act will also be fully used.
12. Federal Government should ensure that technology is used effectively for the advancement of the Nigerian Security and not its destruction by working with the technology cum social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. The regime of checks and gate keeping should be fully employed.
13. We urge that every effort should be made to resolve the impasse between ASUU and the federal government so that students can return to school in earnest.