The South-East Governors Forum has said they will henceforth restrict the movement of cows by foot through the bush into the Southeast region.
According to a statement released by the Director-General of the forum, Professor Simon Ortuanya, he said they had come to an agreement with the herdsmen residing in the region and made it clear to them that movement of cows must be done by road and not through the bush.
“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 causes conflict between our people and the herders,” the governors stated.
The forum debunks allegations that the rumours that the panel had secretly given land to herdsmen Ruga settlements.
“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 the invasion of our land, the kidnapping of our people, killing of defenceless natives and the 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.
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“We will not chase away herdsmen who are peaceful and have been living peacefully with us in the South-East.”
The forum made it clear that no land is available for donation for Ruga or NLTP project.
They added, “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 no harm 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.”