The South-East Governors Forum has said movement of cattle into the geopolitical zone through the bush paths by foot will no longer be allowed.
A statement by the Director General, South-East Governors Forum, Prof. Simon Ortuanya, said that was an agreement reached with herdsmen living in the zone, adding that movement of cows into the zone should be strictly by road, using trucks to their specific cow markets 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 cause conflict between our people and the herders,” the governors stated.
The forum dispelled the rumours that the governors had secretly donated land for Ruga settlements for herders.
“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 invasion of our land, kidnapping of our people, killing of defenceless natives and 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.
“We will not chase away herdsmen who are peaceful and have been living peacefully with us in the South-East.”
The governors, however, noted that there was no land to donate for Ruga or NLTP programme.
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 there is no harm that 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.”