Five governors from the South-east have vowed to resist any attempt to foist the federal government planned cattle ranching initiative on their region in other to solve the incessant herdsmen/farmers clash.
Rising from a meeting at the weekend in Enugu, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, Umahi, governor of Ebonyi, Abia and Anambra states who were represented by their deputy governors, Ude Chukwu and Ikem Okeke, agreed not to make land in the region available for the establishment of cattle ranches.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, Umahi, chairman of the south-east governors’ forum, said reports that some south-east states had made land available for the establishment of ranches, based on a request by the federal government, were not true.
He said while the federal government had not asked for any land for ranches, the governors would not agree to such a request if made.
“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,” he said.
“Ranching is not approved by the south-east governors in the south-east.”
The governors also condemned the recent killings in Plateau state, and demanded justice for the victims.
They raised the alarm over what they described as challenges posed by the movement of herdsmen in the south-east, adding that they would meet with heads of federal security agencies over the development.
Reading from a communiqué adopted at the meeting, Umahi said, “The south-east governors forum commiserates with the governor of Plateau state and the people of the state for the recent killings.
“We condemn the killings and join other regions to demand justice for the Plateau people.
“South-east governors have noticed increased challenges in the movement of herdsmen from one state and region to another with the resultant effect of massive destruction of farmlands with attendant clashes with farmers.
“South-east governors have been spending huge funds in settling farmers whose farms and crops are destroyed; we, therefore, request an emergency meeting in the south-east with federal security chiefs, farmers and herdsmen to stop the movements and prevent clashes.”
Rochas Okorocha, governor of Imo state, and his deputy were absent.
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