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    Southern governors’ forum meets in Lagos

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    •Caucus Chooses Lagos as Permanent Secretariat

    Eight weeks after their last meeting, Governors from the Southern part of the country, again, converged in Lagos State on Monday in a follow-up to their May 11, 2021 deliberation in Asaba, Delta State.

    Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu hosted his colleagues at the Government House in Alausa for the meeting held behind closed doors for four hours.

    The Southern Governors’ Forum reviewed the situation in the country and had extensive discussion on the current security situation in the country, constitutional amendment, and the recently passed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

    Rising from the meeting, chairman of Southern Governors’ Forum and Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, read the communique agreed by the member State.

    The communique reads:

    1. The Governors re-affirmed their commitment to the unity of Nigeria on the pillars of equity, fairness, justice, progress and peaceful co-existence between and amongst its people.

    2. The Forum reiterates its commitment to the politics of equity, fairness and unanimously agrees that the presidency of Nigeria be rotated between Southern and Northern Nigeria and resolved that the next president of Nigeria should emerge from the Southern Region.

    3. Security

      a. The Forum reviewed the security situation in the country and commends security operatives for their relentless efforts in restoring security and safety and commiserates with families and loved ones of those who have fallen in the line of duty.

      b. Re-emphasised the need for State Police.

      c. Resolved that if for any reason security institutions need to undertake an operation in any State, the Chief Security Officer of the State must be duly informed.

      d. The Forum frowns at selective criminal administration of Justice and resolved that arrests should be made within the ambit of the Law and fundamental human rights.

      e. The Forum sets a timeline of Wednesday, 1st September, 2021 for the promulgation of the anti open grazing law in all member States.

      f. The Forum resolves that Funds deducted from the Federation Account for the Nigeria Police Security Trust Fund should be distributed among the States and Federal Government to combat security challenges.

    4. Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) Law:

      i. The Forum commends the National Assembly for the progress made in the passage of the PIB.

      ii. The Forum rejects the proposed 3 per cent and support the 5 per cent share of the oil revenue to the host community as recommended by the House of Representatives.

      iii. The Forum also rejects the proposed 30 per cent share of profit for the exploration of oil and gas in the basins.

      iv. The Forum, however, rejects the ownership structure of the proposed Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC). The Forum disagrees that the company be vested in the Federal Ministry of Finance but should be held in trust by Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) since all tiers of Government have stakes in that vehicle.

    5. In order to consolidate our democracy and strengthen the Electoral process, the Southern Governors’ Forum reject the removal of the Electronic transmission of the election result from the electoral act; and also rejects the confirmation of exclusive jurisdiction in pre-election matters on the Federal High Court.

    6. The Forum unanimously chose Lagos State as its permanent secretariat and appreciated the Governor of Lagos State for the wonderful hosting of this meeting while commending him for his good work in the State.

    Other Governors, who attended the meeting, include Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Nyensom Wike (Rivers), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Gboyega Oyetola (Osun), Emmanuel Udom (Akwa Ibom), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Senator Douye Diri (Bayelsa), Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu).

    Deputy Governors who represented their principals include Philip Shuaibu (Edo), Placid Njokwu (Imo), Sir Ude Oko Chukwu (Abia) and Kelechi Igwe (Ebonyi).

    Governors of Cross River and Anambra States, Prof. Ben Ayade and Willie Obiano, were absent at the meeting.

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