Governors of the South-South states on Thursday agreed to establish a regional security outfit to address peculiar challenges in the region.
This is coming in the heels of the passage of the bill for the establishment of South-West security network Amotekun by state Houses of Assembly in states of the region.
Addressing journalists in Asaba at the end of the meeting of the forum of governors in the South-South, chairman of the forum and governor of Delta State, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, said the governors have agreed to resuscitate the BRACED Commission, a regional economic and integration platform.
Okowa said BRACED, which stands for Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta, will be mandated to come up with modalities on the establishment of the regional security outfit.
According to him, the Commission is expected to brief the governors on the steps to be taken for the establishment of the regional security outfit at the next meeting of the forum in May in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
He said the BRACED Commission was set up over ten years ago by their predecessors to facilitate economic cooperation among the South-South states, adding that the incumbent governors have concluded plans to provide the needed logistics for the Commission to come back to life.
On the 13 per cent federal derivation, the governors prevailed on the Federal Government to adopt the system where the percentage is deducted at source before the revenue is shared out.
“And we need to stress that in any allocation that is being done, 13 per cent derivation must first be taken out of the funds that come from oil revenue before the rest of the funds is shared out,” Okowa said.
“This 13 per cent is supposed to be for the oil-producing states and that has not been the situation for a very long time.”
The governors further urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately constitute the governing board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), noting that the interventionist agency will play a great role in the regional development of the South-South.
The meeting, the first since Okowa was elected chairman of the forum, was attended by governors Duoye Diri (Bayelsa), Nyesome Wike (Rivers), Emmanuel Udom (Akwa-Ibom), Godwin Obaseki (Edo) and the host, Okowa of Delta State.
Also in attendance was the Director-General of the BRACED Commission, Mr Joe Keshi.
Okowa said the governor of Cross River, Ben Ayade, was unavoidably absent as he was held up in Abuja for an official engagement.