The Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has said Nigeria is at the brink of an avoidable catastrophe that requires urgent actions.
A statement signed on Sunday by the National Publicity Secretary of the group, Comrade Jare Ajayi, said the most potent recipe to prevent the catastrophe is restructuring that would return the country to true federalism.
According to the statement, this was part of the resolutions of the Executive Council of Afenifere, at its meeting held at the Lagos residence of its acting leader, Chief Ayo Ayobanjo, last week.
After reviewing recent developments in the country, Afenifere Executive Council said that the signs “are ominous, requiring steps to prevent the country from apocalypse.”
The statement added that the meeting endorsed the recent resolutions of the Southern governors, especially placing a total ban on open grazing and having state police.
“Afenifere is in full support of the governors to have laws banning open grazing latest by September 1, this year. We notice that some states already have this law enacted. We urge the remaining states to enact the law expeditiously. Beyond the enactment however, we call for immediate enforcement of the law so as to put an end to various vices that the act of open grazing is engendering,” it said.
The pan-Yoruba organisation also frowned at the disapproval being expressed by some northern elements to the position of the Southern governors, prompting it to ask the questions: “Of what intrinsic benefits has open grazing been in the recent past going by various studies that have been done?
“It is on record for instance that open grazing is one of the major causes of desertification that is occurring in the northern part of the country. It is also on record that cows reared in a ranch are far more productive, healthier and are less tasking for the rearer compared to the ones being driven from one place to another in search of food and water. And certainly those in ranches constitute less risk to neighbouring communities compared to the ones migrating from one place to another.”
Afenifere maintained that the seeming intractable security challenges in the country are due largely to the restraint put in the way of state governors.
“The governors are described as chief security officers of their respective states, yet they have no security agency that can be deployed to where crimes are being committed with arms. A security agency that can arrest, investigate and prosecute. Those of them who came up with some security apparatus like Amotekun are disempowered because they could not bear arms. And when they arrest suspected criminals, such suspects must be handed over to the police. As experiences have shown, once this is done, hardly do such cases go beyond the police. And the state security body has no control anymore since the Police is a federal agency who does not take order from the governor. This must change. State police, down to the level of local government, must become operational immediately,” the statement asserted.
The group called on President Muhammadu Buhari, the national and state assemblies and all other concerned authorities to ensure that restructuring take place within the remaining part of this year, saying: “Its implementation in terms of true federalism in finance, security, social welfare etc. must commence before the middle of next year.”
Among those at the meeting presided over by Chief Ayo Adebanjo were the deputy leader, Oba Oladipo Olaitan; Secretary General, Chief Sola Ebiseni; Treasurer, Chief Supo Sonibare; National Organising Secretary, Abagun Kole Omololu;Publicity Secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi; Secretary for the Diaspora, Engineer Adebayo Adenekan; Director of Research, Dr. Akin Fapohunda and Mogaji Gboyega Adejumo.