By Peter Okutu & Peter Duru
GOVERNOR of Ebonyi State and Chairman Southeast Governors’ Forum, Engr. David Umahi, yesterday said the zone had before now banned open grazing of cattles within the region.
The governor announced this during an APC stakeholders meeting at the Christian Ecumenical Centre, Abakaliki.
The governor who said the Southeast Governors’ Forum had also banned the movement of cows by foot enjoined leaders to exhibit patriotism in their conduct to guarantee the unity of the country.
“We are living in a dangerous time. Without patriotism to our nation Nigeria, it is very difficult to have a peaceful time”
He called on leaders and stakeholders of the zone to speak up and desist from playing politics with the security of the zone and nation.
“Governors of South East have been calling on our leaders to speak out on the security of the zone and unity of Nigeria. I read on paper where someone said he was giving governors of South East 7-days to ban open grazing. The governors of southeast had banned open grazing and movement of cows by foot into South East in each of states of the zone. We are managing ourselves well. What we discuss with the herdsmen is the system in place for a long time”
The chairman of the southeast Governors’ Forum cautioned people of the zone against instigating crises in the country through the dissemination of fake videos alleging killing of Fulanis by IPOB in the South East.
“What our people must know is that security is not political. What is demanded of the leaders is to put up programmess that favour the people and foster national unity”.
Umahi also announced his support for the call to flush out criminal elements from forests across the nation to boost the security of the country.
“In our forests today, we have the kidnappers, herdsmen, cultists, all sorts of criminals. Anybody staying in the forest is taking a risk when we say that people should move out of the forests. It is for their safety and security. So, I support that kidnappers, herdsmen, cultists, and bandits should be flushed out of our forests”.
The governor used the occasion to officially flag off the APC Revalidation and Registration Committee and charged the Caretaker Committees to ensure the successful conduct of the exercise.
He thanked stakeholders of the party for attending the meeting and observing the COVID19 protocol, insisting that the Ebonyi remains an APC state.
“Let me thank our leaders for their commitment to the welfare of our party; Ebonyi State is complete and Ebonyi State is APC”
Earlier, the Acting Chairman of APC in the state, Chief Stanley Emegha said the meeting was convened to find a way of upgrading the membership status within the party in the state and called on the stakeholders to support the exercise to fully reintegrate the state to the next level.
“We have made it clear that Ebonyi is APC and the nation will be expecting us to prove it, proving it is by us coming out and participating in the exercise massively, make whatever sacrifice to the betterment of the state because we must use the exercise to prove a point that Ebonyi State is APC and APC is Ebonyi State”
Inaugurating the State and Local Government Area Caretaker Committee members of the exercise, the chairman of the exercise in Ebonyi State, Chief Chima Onyekwere expressed hope that the exercise of membership Revalidation and Registration would produce an Igbo President in 2023.
He appealed to local government chairmen to collaborate with the caretaker committees to ensure the success of the exercise in their areas.
Highlights of the meeting were the adoption of Local Government Area nominees for federal board appointments and empowerment, among others.
We fully support the decision of S-East govs —MBF
Meanwhile, the Middle Belt Forum, MBF, has declared support for the decisions of the South East Governors to ban open grazing in region.
National President of MBF, Dr. Pogu Bitrus who made the position of the forum known yesterday in Makurdi said it was time for Nigeria to adopt ranching as the best form of animal husbandry adding that it would help check the spate of farmers/herders conflicts in the country.
According to him, “the decision of the governors is a welcome development. Open grazing is archaic and abhors modern developmental trends which supports ranching all over the globe.
“Open grazing does not improve the quality of meat neither does it improve the life span of the livestock. So it is creating unnecessary conflicts in Nigeria and in other parts where this practice is still on.
“Now, what we need in Nigeria is ranching which is a modern way of animal husbandry and we support the South East Governors fully because within the Middle Belt we have continued to advocate ranching as the best and acceptable way of animal husbandry.
“This is not only for stopping the raging conflicts but it will improve the economic well-being of the people including even that of the Fulanis.
“But one fact we pointed out is that we cannot ranch the cattle of foreign Fulani herders. That is our grouse. We said every community in Nigeria know their local Fulanis and those are the Fulanis that are supposed to be ranched in our communities.
“The West African free movement policy that allows foreign herders into our communities has to be checked because it is causing problems in Nigeria. And if we are adopting ranching, our neighbours will also have to, otherwise it is going to be more conflicts,” he added.