Governors of the South-East states rose from a meeting in Enugu on Sunday evening with a decision that no land would be made available for the establishment of cattle ranches in the zone.
The meeting, which held at the Enugu State Government House, had the governors of Enugu (Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi), Ebonyi (Dave Umahi) in attendance, while Abia and Anambra were represented by the deputy governors.
Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, was absent and was not represented by his deputy.
The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, presented the association’s ‘template on restructuring’ to the governors at the meeting, which ended late on Sunday evening.
Addressing journalists after the parley, the Chairman of the South-East Governors Forum, Umahi, disclosed that the governors had agreed that ranching would not be allowed in the zone.
Umahi explained that the 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.
The Ebonyi State Governor stressed that while the Federal Government had not asked for any land for ranches, the governors would not accede to such a request, should it be 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.
“Ranching is not approved by the South-East governors in the South-East,” Umahi declared.
The governors, in the same vein, condemned the recent killings in Plateau State, and demanded “justice for Plateau people.”
The governors, however, raised the alarm over what they described as challenges posed by the movement of herdsmen in the South-East.
They agreed to 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.”
Following the presentation by Ohanaeze, the South-East governors restated their demand for restructuring.
“Ndigbo’s Stand on Restructuring of Nigeria was presented to the South-East Governors Forum by the Ohanaeze President, based on the resolutions arising from the Awka enlarged Igbo meeting.
“He (Ohanaeze President) also laid down the template for the governors. The Forum thanked Ohanaeze on a job well done and reiterated its earlier stand that restructuring is the only way forward for Nigeria.
“The Forum also 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,” the communiqué said.
The governors, at the meeting, observed that the ‘dispute’ between the governments of Anambra and Ebonyi states over the recent renaming of Abakiliki Street in Awka, Anambra State, was due to ‘communication gap which is already being closed.’