By: Sunny David/Awka
The South East Governors’ Forum has announced that no state in the region will donate any land for the federal government’s proposed establishment of cattle ranches in the zone contrary to the federal government’s explanation.
Briefing journalists after the meeting at the Government House Enugu State, the Chairman of the Forum, Engineer David Umahi who is the Governor of Ebonyi State said the federal government had not asked for any land for ranches, saying the South-east governors would not accede to such a request, should it be made.
The governors, while condemning the recent killings in Plateau State, raised alarm over what they termed as challenges posed by the movement of herdsmen in the South-east and agreed to meet with heads of federal security agencies, leadership of farmers and pastoralist to stop the increased movement in the zone to prevent possible clashes.
Governor Davvid Umahi lamented on the huge funds the governors in the zone have been spending in settling farmers whose farms and crops were destroyed by herdsmen and their cattle, restating that Governors of the region have not donated any portion of land in the zone for ranching since the area lacks sufficient land for ranching.
“Although all state governors are members of the NEC which reportedly took the decision, the South-east governors said they were not party to it.
“No land in the South-east has been donated for ranching. We have not donated any land; we have not been asked to donate and we are not going to donate.
“Ranching is not approved by the South-east governors in the South-east,” he said.
“The Forum thanked Ohanaeze on the job well-done and reiterated its earlier stand that restructuring is the only way forward for Nigeria, pointing out that the governors would take a careful look at the template of restructuring and would make its final stand clear by their next meeting” they stressed.
They commiserate with the Governor of Plateau State and the people for the recent killings in the state while condemning the killings and joined other regions to demand justice for the Plateau people.
At the meeting were chairman of the Forum, Engineer David Umahi of Ebonyi State, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, represented by his Deputy, Dr. Nkem Okeke and Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, who was also represented by his Deputy, Hon. Ude Oko Chukwu.
President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, representative of the NNPC, members of the South-east Traditional Rulers’ Council including the Obi of Onitsha Igwe Alfred Achebe, among others.
Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state who is the only governor from the South-east that is a member of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress was absent at the meeting nor send a representative.