………Says won’t bow to blackmail
By Douglas Okoro
The South-East Governors Forum has reacted to lingering controversies surrounding the alleged proposal by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) to organize local vigilance groups in the South-East.
According to MACBAN, the proposal is to assist leaders in the zone curtail menace of crime and criminal activities in the area.
But the South-East East Governors Forum has denied ever being ready to allow such suggestions come to fruition in the zone.
Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi and Chairman of the forum in a statement released by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Uzor on Monday in Abakaliki described the allegation of the governors allowing MACBAN to form vigilance group as strange.
Part of the statement read: “I find it extremely strange for anybody to think that none locals in any part of the country including South-East can be allowed to form vigilance outfit.
“The Miyetti Allah group may have made that suggestion which I believe will never mean to form a vigilante in South East whichever is the meaning, no governor will allow that.
“South-East governors have their local vigilance groups working with security agencies; any such demand by Miyetti group is a joke and not acceptable.
“Governors of the zone are doing their best and we have no problems receiving insults from our people, it is the price of leadership.
“The important thing to us is the safety and well-being of our people; the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) and other pressure groups may not have found it fashionable to insult their leaders even when their leaders may not be saints,” the statement noted.
Umahi further disclosed that his task was to develop Ebonyi, contribute in rebuilding South-East and Nigeria.
“My calling is not to insult others for me to do these. Have we been fairly treated? No. Can we solve the problem by hate speeches? For me, the answer is no.
“Nobody, no matter the level of pretence can change my style of peaceful leadership. Ebonyi, in particular, has suffered so much even in the context of South-East.
“We believe that we do not need hate speeches as a strategy to solve our problems,” the governor said.
He maintained that South-East would not allow any Miyetti vigilante in any part of the zone, neither would it allow cattle ranch nor cattle colony.
However, Umahi insisted that people of the zone must live peacefully with herdsmen that did not destroy farm lands especially those that were born here and had lived peacefully with the people.
“Finally, we insist there will be no Miyetti vigilante, no cattle ranch or colony; but we must live peacefully with herdsmen that do not destroy our farm lands especially those that were born here and have lived peacefully with us.
“All South-East governors are together in this position,” the document said.