South East Govs Decry Continued Incursion of Herdsmen in Igboland

  • Say: We don’t have any land for ranching

South East Governor’s Forum (SEGF) and other stakeholders have risen from a special stakeholders’ meeting in Enugu with a declaration that Igboland would not give out any portion of land for ranching by herdsmen in any part of the South East geo-political zone because there is none available.

Chairman of the forum and governor of Ebonyi State, Nweze Dave Umahi, who read a 9-point communiqué after the meeting, explained that the leaders came to the resolution in view of the fact that the geopolitical zone is at the moment trying to fashion out modalities to contend with the problem of inadequate land mass, adding that for that reason, South East would not be disposed to releasing any land for cattle grazing.

The special meeting took place at the Executive Council Chambers, Lion building, in Government House Enugu.

Meanwhile, the forum has congratulated the governors of Enugu and Abia States, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Chief Okezie Ikpeazu, respectively, for their recent Supreme Court victories, adding that the confirmation of their election victories by the apex court, as well as the victory of the Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, at the electoral tribunal, were acts of God.

They asserted that the triumphs of the governors were a demonstration of the fact that power comes from God, and urged all citizens of the South East to support the governors for the good of the entire Igboland.

On the continued menace of criminal herdsmen across the country, the governors joined in commiserating with the government and people of the recently affected states, especially Plateau State, and called for an end to what they called unwarranted killings, while also calling for justice for the victims.

The governors further pointed out that they have noticed “increased challenges in the movement of herdsmen from one state and region to another with the resultant effects of massive destruction of farmlands and attendant clashes with farmers,” lamenting that  they “have been spending huge funds in settling farmers whose farms and crops are destroyed.”

“We therefore, request for emergency meeting in the Zone with Federal Security Chiefs, farmers and herdsmen to stop the movements and prevent the clashes, ” Governor Umahi stated.

The meeting also discussed the controversial issue of renaming of Abakaliki Street, in Onitsha, by Governor Willy Obiano.

Clarifying the matter, Umahi noted that there was really no disagreement between the sister states (Ebonyi and Anambra), but rather that it was a case of communication gap, which, he said, was already being addressed.

He further disclosed that the governors reiterated, at the meeting, their commitment to continued promotions of elements of brotherhood, which bind the states together.

The governors as well informed that they had approved a partnership with a South African health firm, E-Health Africa, to provide health interventions and for the establishment of world-class health facilities in all the states in the South East.

While shedding more light on the initiative, Umahi added:  “We have also set up a Health Consultative Committee comprising all the State Commissioners for Health in the various states in the Zone, including health experts and development partners, to pursue health interventions in the zone.”

He also disclosed that the governors had resolved to undertake the floating of an Industrial and Infrastructural Development Bank, under a private initiative, and clarified that the idea was for the bank to fast-track capital flow for the rapid development of the region.

The governors also disclosed that they have resolved that the tenure of Chairmanship of South East Traditional Rulers Council would be two years, to be rotated alphabetically among the five states in the zone.

They, however, directed the incumbent chairman, HRM, Eze Eberechi Dick, who the State Chief Executives noted has served out his term, to hand over the mantle of leadership to the Obi of Onitsha, HRM, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, who would assume office with effect from August 1, 2018.

They stated that after Achebe, it would be the turn of Ebonyi State and Enugu, in that order.

The SEGF, however dissociated itself from a certain “purported registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission, of South East Traditional Rulers Council”, and stressed that, “the Governors of South East, and Ohanaeze Ndigbo, have nothing to do with it”.

The meeting was attended by governors of Ebonyi (Chairman) and Enugu while those of Abia and Anambra were represented by their deputies.

Others at the parley included the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo (Jnr); HRM, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe and the Chairman of Enugu State Council of Traditional Rulers, HRM, Igwe Lawrence Agubuzu; Chairman of South East Development Corporation (SEREDEC), Prof. Barth Nnaji and the Director-General of South East Governors’ Forum, Prof. Simon Uchenna Ortuanya, among others.

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