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South-East governors ban open grazing, order criminals out of forests

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Sale Tambaya, a cattle herder in central Nigeria, grazes his cows. After his home state criminalized open grazing in November 2017, he and his family fled with their livestock to a neighboring state where grazing is allowed. Two of his sons died on the journey.

South-East Governors’ Forum (SEGF) has banned open grazing of cattle in the zone.

The Chairman, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, stated that the forum also directed that all cultists, kidnappers and bandits using the forests as hideout be flushed out.

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Speaking during the All Progressives Congress (APC) stakeholders’ meeting at the Christian Ecumenical Centre, Abakaliki, yesterday, Umahi said: “enough is enough”.

The governors maintained that the ban on the movement of cows by foot into the zone was still in place, enjoining leaders to exhibit patriotism to guarantee the unity of the country.

His words: “We are living in a dangerous time. Without patriotism to our nation, Nigeria, it is very difficult to have a peaceful time,” he stated, calling on stakeholders of the zone to desist from playing politics with the security of the zone and nation.

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“Governors of South East have been calling on our leaders to speak out on the security of the zone and unity of Nigeria. I read on paper where someone said he was giving governors of South East seven days to ban open grazing.

“The governors of South-East had banned open grazing and movement of cows by foot into South East. In each state of the South East, we are managing ourselves well. What we discuss with the herdsmen is the system in place for a long time.”

He cautioned people of the zone against instigating crisis in the country through the dissemination of fake videos alleging the killing of the Fulani by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the South East.

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“What our people must know is that security is not political. What is demanded of the leaders is to put up programmes that favour the people and foster national unity.”

The SEGF boss expressed support for the call to flush out criminal elements from forests across the nation to boost security.

His words: “In our forests today, we have the kidnappers, herdsmen, cultists and all sorts of criminals. Anybody staying in the forest is taking a risk.

“When we say that people should move out of the forests, it is for their safety and security. So, I support that kidnappers, herdsmen, cultists and other bandits should be flushed out of our forests.”

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