By Anthony Ogbonna
- …Says all cattle must come in trucks, not bush paths
- …Says no available lands in S/East for RUGA
- …Denies donating any land for RUGA
- …Says in talks with Northern Govs over threat by northern youths’ group
- …Says “no peaceful herdsman’ll be chased out of region
- ….Urges South-Easterners living in north not to panic
The South-East Governors Forum has warned all herdsmen not to bring cattle to the South-East on foot through the bush paths except by roads and using trucks.
The Governors said any herdsman caught moving cattle to the south East region on foot and through the bush paths would not be allowed entry.
The Governors also said that there is no available land in the whole of South-East for the now suspended RUGA project formerly proposed by the federal government.
The South-East governors gave the statement through the forum’s Director General, Prof. Simon Ortuanya.
According to the statement, the no herdsman who is peaceful would be chased out of the region. The Governors also assured all South-Easterners living in the north to ignore the recent threat by a northern youths’ group over the RUGA project under suspension.
The statement partly read thus:
“We will no longer allow foreign herdsmen to bring their cattle into our geopolitical zone through the bush paths by foot because this is what always cause conflict between our people and the herders.
“The fact remains that no South-East governor has donated any land or intends to donate any land for any of the two programmes for lack of enough land in the entire South-East.
“Governors of South-East appreciate the fact that we have good and law-abiding herdsmen who have been living with us; some of them were even born here. We have been living in peace with them until recently when we started witnessing invasion of our land, kidnapping of our people, killing of defenseless natives and destruction of their farmlands.
“These herdsmen that have been living peacefully with us together with the natives have insisted that this evil, as now experienced in our land, are the handiwork of herdsmen moving from other states into South-East and most of the time, these herdsmen are not even Nigerians.
“We will not chase away herdsmen who are peaceful and have been living peacefully with us in the South-East.”
“We are committed to selling grasses and by-products of our farms to support the NLTP for states that have keyed into the programme.
“We ask all our people living outside the South-East, especially in the North, to ignore the threat contained in the video message by self-styled northern youths. We are in talks with the northern governors and leaders who speak for their people and they have assured us that there is no harm that will befall our people living in various northern states across Nigeria.
“Finally, we advise those beating the drum of war to remember our mothers and children and have a rethink. In a state of war, even your friends could become your enemies. Let us bond together as one people and start to think on how to rebuild our youths whose future we ate up in the time past, rebuild our nation whose patriotism we ignored in the time past and love one another.”