The governors of the South-South states on Thursday announced their resolution to establish a regional security outfit to stem increasing criminal activities in the region.
The move follows a similar decision by the South-west states, which has set up Amotekun to tackle insecurity in the area. The South-east states have also announced plans to set up a similar body.
The Niger Delta governors, who met Thursday in Asaba, Delta State, also resolved to insist on full implementation of the 13 per cent oil derivation and to adopt a regional approach in tackling coronavirus, otherwise known as Covid-19.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, the chairman of South-South Governors’ Forum, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, said that BRACED Commission, the economic think-tank of the region, had been mandated to work out the details of the proposed security outfit.
According to him, the commission will brief the governors on the details of the outfit at their next meeting to be held in Port Harcourt in May.
“We also took other decisions concerning Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) and the need to insist that 13 per cent Derivation must first be taken out of the funds that come from oil before the rest of the funds is shared at FAAC.
“The 13 per cent is supposed to be for the oil-producing states and that has not been the situation for a very long time and we agreed as governors, to take up this matter at the appropriate levels,” Mr Okowa said, according to his media office.
“We also took a decision on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the need to urge President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute the Advisory Board of the Commission because it has a major role to play, though in an advisory capacity.
“This is because we believe that there is a need to reposition NDDC to take on regional projects rather than small projects, and this we are going to pursue as quickly as possible,’’ he said.
He stated that though no case of coronavirus had been reported in the region, it was necessary for the governors to collectively be prepared on how to tackle it when it occurred, adding that action was also being taken over Lassa Fever epidemic.
Consequently, Mr Okowa said that the Commissioners for Health in the six states of the region, “who are experienced in medical protocols, will need to meet.
“I am aware that individual states have taken steps to tackle this outbreak but the six commissioners from the South-South States are going to meet almost immediately to take a further look into how to contain these diseases, especially Lassa Fever.
“They are also to look into how to tackle the issues collectively of the Coronavirus in case it extends to our region. At the moment, we do not have any case of it in the South-South, but it is important that we prepare ourselves in case of any spread in our region.
“So, the commissioners will meet and share ideas on how best to tackle these diseases.”
The forum’s chairman also disclosed that the governors had decided to revive BRACED Commission, established 10 years ago but which had been dormant for some years.
According to him, we have decided to provide the necessary logistics for the commission to function properly, because the commission as established, is to help us (South-South) to look into issues of regional economy.
“We need to develop our region collectively instead of working as individual states.
“A lot has been done in the past in terms of documentation and we have agreed to resuscitate it with the headquarters in Port-Harcourt, Rivers,’’ Okowa added.
Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers and his counterparts of Edo, Godwin Obaseki; Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom and Duoye Diri of Bayelsa attended the meeting.