South-East Governors’ Forum (SEGF) on Sunday rejected the proposal by the Federal Government to establish cattle ranches in some states in the country to solve the frequent clashes between herdsmen and farmers.
The forum also condemned the recent killings in Plateau State linked to Fulani herdsmen.
Dave Umahi, the Chairman of the forum and Ebonyi State Governor, stated their position at Enugu Government House while briefing journalists after a meeting of the governors and other critical stakeholders in the zone.
Reading the communiqué, Umahi noted that the South-East does not have land mass and therefore was not disposed to allocating any part of its limited land for establishment of cattle ranches.
According to Umahi, the South-East governors commiserated with the governor of Plateau State and his people for the recent killings in the state.
He stated further: “We condemn the killings and join other regions to demand justice for the people of Plateau State.
“South East governors have noticed increased challenges in the movement of herdsmen from state and region to another with resultant effect of massive destruction of farmlands and attendant clashes with farmers.
“South East governors have been spending huge funds in settling farmers whose farms and crops are destroyed. We, therefore, request for emergency meeting with South-East and federal security chiefs, farmers and herdsmen to stop the movements and prevent clashes,” Umahi said.
The Ebonyi helmsman said Ndigbo stand on restructuring of the Nigeria and template were presented to the forum by Ohanaeze president, based on the resolutions arising from the Awka enlarged Igbo meeting.
He said the forum thanked Ohanaeze Ndigbo for a job well done and reiterated its earlier stand that restructuring is the way to move Nigeria forward.
Umahi said the forum decided that the governors should take a studied look at the template of restructuring and will make its final stand clear by the next meeting of the forum.
On the conflict in the South-East Council of Traditional Rulers, he said the forum listened to the royal fathers and agreed that the term of office of the council is two years, rotational in alphabetical order.
Umahi said the forum, therefore, directed the present chairman of the council, His Royal Majesty, Eze Eberechi Dick, who had served for two years to hand over to Anambra State under the chairmanship of His Royal Majesty, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, the Obi of Onitsha, with effect from August 1, 2018 and thereafter, to Ebonyi State and then, Enugu State.
He said that the forum dissociated itself from purported registration with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) of South East Council of Traditional Rulers, stressing that the forum and Ohanaeze Ndigbo had nothing to do with it.
On the disputed renaming of Abakiliki Street in Anambra State, Umahi said the forum observed that there was no real disagreement between the sister states, but a communication gap, already being closed.
He said the governors reiterated their commitment to the brotherhood, which is holding them together.
Umahi announced that the forum approved a partnership between the South-East Governors’ Forum and E-Health Africa for health interventions and establishment of world class health facilities in all the states of the zone.
He said the forum has set up a Health Consultative Committee comprising of state commissioners for health in the various states of the South-East, health experts and development partners to pursue health intervention in the South-East.
Umahi disclosed that the forum has approved to support the setting up of an Industrial and Infrastructural Development Bank, to fast track capital flow for rapid development of the region as a private initiative.
He said the forum received presentations from the promoters of South-East Backbone Infrastructure and expressed satisfaction with its objectives.
“The forum, however, requested the promoters to liaise and synergise with the South East Development Company (SEREDEC), the official vehicle for South East development and secretariat of South East Governors’ Forum with respect to the proposed South-East Ring Road. This is imperative, so as to harmonise issues and resolve intersecting routes for easy right of way”, he said.
He said the forum congratulated the governors of Enugu and Abia states for the recent confirmation of their electoral victories by the Supreme Court and the governor of Anambra State for his victory at the election tribunal.
According to Umahi, the forum noted that power belongs to God and urged their brothers and sisters in the South-East to see the victory from God.
Others at the meeting were the host governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), and deputy governors of Anambra and Abia states.
Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, did not attend the meeting and was not represented.