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IPOB, cleric trade words over programme in South East as CAN urges caution

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The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Anglican Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, yesterday disagreed over Ruga Settlement in the South-East Zone.

IPOB, in a statement, had alleged that some governors of the South-East Zone have secretly allocated lands to herders for RUGA settlement.

It specifically pointed at Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and his Abia State counterpart, Okezie Ikpeazu, to have concluded arrangement to hand over land “in three senatorial zones of Enugu State and Olokoro in Umuahia to Fulani herdsmen as part of their Ruga programme in the East.”

But Chukwuma, who spoke yesterday during his sermon at the 85th birthday/thanksgiving service for Dame Beatrice Ekwueme, wife of the late former Vice President of Nigeria, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, said that he had discussed with the governors of the zone on the matter and that none had done so.

Meanwhile, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the southern Nigeria yesterday cautioned the people of the area to remain cautious even with the suspension of the controversial Ruga settlement for Fulani herdsmen.

The warning was contained in a statement issued by its Secretary, Dr. Joseph Ajujungwa.

Ajujungwa, who said the suspension of the programme by President Muhammadu Buhari may not mean its end, said there was every indication that “though it is claimed that it has been suspended, the underground work is still going on.”

He urged the southerners “to be watchful,” stressing that “even as we pray, we don’t need to keep quiet; they are experts in underground work.

“We do not have land to give to anybody as a grazing field or colony and we call on the South-East governors to maintain their stand that they do not have such a place. Do you know what it means to give 10 hectares of land to herdsmen? We say no to that.

“As CAN, we will preach it from our pulpit, every Imam should peach from the mosque and the traditionalists should stand against it; nobody should relent; no land should be given; any traditional ruler that does that should be dethroned.

“In the North, we have largest hectares of land, very vast that nobody is occupying. Why are they not building the ranches, Ruga of whatever there? They can come here, take grass and go, and we buy cow in exchange.”

On the threat and ultimatum issued by a northern youths, Ajujungwa said: “They should understand that nobody has the monopoly of violence. As they are planning to attack, others are planning to defend themselves and we cannot run away for them.”


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