Nigeria Governors Demand President Speak on Security Worries

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Governors from Nigeria’s southern states called on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the nation over growing insecurity in Africa’s top oil producer.

The leaders of 17 states also called for a national dialog to address “widespread agitations” in the West African nation, according to a statement emailed by the Lagos state’s government after a meeting of the Southern Nigeria Governors Forum Tuesday.

“The meeting expressed grave concern on the security challenges currently plaguing the nation and strongly urged that Mr. President should address Nigerians on the challenges of insecurity and restore the confidence of our people,” the governors said.

Nigeria Governors Demand President Speak on Security Worries

Africa’s most-populous country is contending with a decade-long war against Islamist insurgents in the northeast, a worsening conflict between nomadic cattle herders and crop farmers in the central and southern regions, and a new separatist rebellion in the southeast. It’s also facing a growing number of abductions of students that have shut down hundreds of schools.

Buhari on Tuesday met military, intelligence and other officials to discuss the security situation in Nigeria. It was the third such meeting in two weeks, and followed attempted burglaries at the homes of two officials who live near to the presidential villa in Abuja, the capital.

READ: Nigerian Leader Summons Security Chiefs After Aide Targeted

Chief of Defence Staff Lucky Irabor told reporters after the meeting that “far-reaching decisions were made” at the talks, without providing any information on what measures are planned.

Nigeria’s security forces have so far failed to stem the Islamist insurgency in the northeast that’s left thousands of people dead and forced almost 2 million others to flee their homes.

Herder Conflict

Separatists have also begun carrying out attacks in southeastern Nigeria -- the nation’s oil-producing hub -- including assault on police stations last weekend that left 12 policemen dead. The so-called Indigenous People of Biafra formed a militant wing in December to protect the region against incursions by ethnic Fulani herders from northern Nigeria it accuses of grazing on farmlands and committing crimes against local residents.

To quell the conflict between crop growers and herders, the southern governors announced a ban on open grazing in southern Nigeria and outlawed the movement of cattle to the south by foot.

“The meeting recommended that the Federal Government should support willing states to develop alternative and modern livestock management systems,” the governors said.

Nigeria’s central bank has cited the conflict between herders and farmers as one of the reasons for the highest increase in food prices in 15 years last month.

READ: Nigeria Food-Price Growth at 15-Year High Fuels CPI

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