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The six Southwest Governors (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.
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”.