The southwest governors and traditional rulers have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to reopen the prolonged nation’s land borders that have remained closed a year ago, saying it has caused untold economic difficulties to the people, especially those in border communities.
“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 a need to review the closure and permit resumption of economic and trading activities,” the leaders said.
This was part of 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, on Sunday.
The communiqué which was jointly signed by Rotimi Akeredolu, Ondo State Governor who also is the Chairman of Southwest Governors’ Forum, and His Royal Majesty Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi. the Ooni of Ife, had in attendance all the southwest Governors and key traditional rulers in the region.
The communiqué expressed appreciation to the 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.
The region condemned the fallout of the #ENDSARS protest with its attendant negative consequences in Lagos, and called for specific measures and proposals to repair damage done to physical infrastructures and economic assets of the South West.
“While there are legitimate concerns contained in the initial #ENDSARS movement, these have been hijacked by criminals and other elements with ulterior and negative forces and degenerated into anarchy.
“There is a 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.”
It wants more police presence in communities in the zone as it called for adjustment in the nation’s security architecture to adequately address the threats and realities of insecurity in the country.
“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 the country.”
“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 the 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. the 2015 Cyber Act will also be fully used.
The Southwest also called on the federal government to 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 to allow for checks and gate keeping.
While calling 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, the Southwest also urged the federal government to come up with a comprehensive programme that addresses youth employment, empowerment and a review of the curriculum of tertiary institutions with emphasis on skills acquisition and entrepreneurship.
“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.
“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.”
It endorsed 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.
Other demands expressed in the communique are a “review of reports of constitutional conferences including the 2014 National Conference and implement some of the recommendations especially with reference to security, economy, equal treatment for citizens all over the country.”