By Ugochukwu Alaribe
ABA—Association of South East Town Unions, ASETU, has rejected plans by the Federal Government to establish grazing reserves across the nation to end the frequent clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers.
In a communiqué issued at the end of its expanded national executive council meeting in Aba, Abia State, and signed by the Chairman, Chief Emeka Diwe as well as Presidents and Secretaries of the five state chapters of the zone, the Union condemned the incessant invasion of farmlands, raping of women and wanton killings by gun wielding herdsmen and called on the Federal Government to rethink the plan as it is capable of aggravating the already tensed situation.
“We remind the Federal Government that cattle rearing is a private business just like selling motor spare parts and other trades. It then becomes suspicious when government devotes special interest to make a legislation to give people’s land to nomads with the seal of authority.
“Communities of the South East of Nigeria have no land to surrender as grazing reserves and therefore, any effort to take our lands will be sternly resisted. Our concern is that the Federal Government had for a very long time not taken any definite step to halt the assaults.
“We do know that South Easterners doing their private businesses in other parts of Nigeria duly negotiate and settle satisfactorily for their shops and business premises, both with individuals and government agencies. Why should that of Fulani herdsmen be an exception?” the communiqué asked.
The Union stated that it would continue to ensure that peace reigns in the communities of the South East zone, and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take drastic steps to check the excesses of Fulani herdsmen in order not to force the people to resort to self-defence.