The governors made the declaration during their third meeting held in Enugu State. The meeting was in continuation of the earlier ones held in Delta and Lagos states.
Host governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state, four other governors of the southeast region were absent from the meeting.
They also emphasized the need for Houses of Assembly in the region and their National Assembly members to leverage their legislative competence to pursue the inclusion of VAT as falling within the purview of the states in the ongoing constitutional amendment.
During their Asaba meeting, the 17 governors called for concerted efforts at tackling the worsening insecurity, while in Lagos, they resolved to enact laws in their respective states against open grazing as well as presidential zoning in 2023 to the South.
Reading a seven-point communique reached at the meeting and signed by its chairman and governor of Ondo state, Rotimi Akeredolu, they reaffirmed their earlier commitment to structural and fiscal federalism and emphasized the need for states in the region to leverage the legislative competence of their respective state houses of Assembly as well as National Assembly to pursue it’s inclusion in the ongoing constitutional amendment.
The communique expressed satisfaction with the rate at which the States in the Southern Nigeria are enacting or amending the anti- Open grazing laws.
They said enacting or amending the Anto open grazing laws aligned with the uniform template and aspiration of Southern Governors and encouraged the states that are yet to enact the law to do so expeditiously.
“We encourage the full operationalization of already agreed regional security outfits; which would meet, share intelligence and collaborate, to ensure the security and safety of the region.
“We reaffirm our earlier commitment to Structural and fiscal federalism as resolved at the inaugural meeting of the Forum held on Tuesday, 11th May 2021 at Asaba, Delta State and emphasized the need for the Southern States to leverage the legislative competence of their respective State Houses of Assembly as well as representation in the National assembly to pursue its inclusion in the Nigerian Constitution through the ongoing constitutional amendment.
“Following from paragraph 3” above, the meeting resolved to support the position that the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the States.
“We express satisfaction with the handling of issues around the Petroleum Industry ACT (PIA) and ownership of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by the larger Nigerian Governors’ Forum.
“We reiterate our earlier position that the next President of Nigeria must come from the Southern part of Nigeria in line with politics of equity, justice and fairness,” they said.