By Agnes Igwe
As the state of insecurity persist in Southern Nigeria, the Chairman of South East Governors forum who doubles as the Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. David Umahi has disclosed that no state government has total control of bandits and killings and admonished Fulani herders not to return to the state.
While briefing newsmen after this week’s state Security Council meeting, Umahi stated that there is no herder in the state presently which according to him shows that they were privy on the attacks in Ebonyi State and urged them not to think of coming back.
The Governor who gave a nod to the ban on open grazing charged the people and all security agencies to demobilze any herdsman coming into the zone with AK 47.
Umahi condemned the killing of police officers and burning of stations in the South East and stressed that herdsmen are not responsible of such attacks.
Governor Umahi spoke thus: “On the issue of herdsmen, we want to place it on record that no herdsman is in Ebonyi state as at now. We didn’t ask them to leave, they left on their own meaning that they were privy to the attacks on Ebonyi state. I have been talking to the national leadership to please beg them that what is going on in the various states, that no state governor has control of bandits and because of the killings of defenseless Ebonyi people and they have all left the state.
According to him ,”For the safety of them, they should please not return back now, there is still very high tension under the people who pretentiously speak that they are protecting Ebonyi people but you can see that our problems is not herdsmen, we are still killing ourselves; we are killing policemen, we are burning police stations which means that the South East should know that our problem is not just herdsmen, that we are also problems to ourselves and we enjoin leaders to rise up to condemn this because it is a little monster that if it is encouraged, can consume all of us beyond the herdsmen menace.
“And so, we have sent messages to the leadership of Myeitt Allah, please Ebonyi state is under tension because of this killings and we will want them to still stay out until such a time that it will be safe for the traditional ones to show face.
“On the open grazing, there is no need of talking about that because there is no cow in Ebonyi state now, there is no herdsmen in Ebonyi state now but the position of Ebonyi state government is that we have a law on open grazing and the natives cannot continue to blame security agencies because the security agencies cannot be everywhere.
“So, we are directing vigilante to enforce the open grazing law of the state. At national level, the Governors have said there is no open grazing. We don’t expect the security people to be everywhere but working with the vigilante. The local government Chairman should enforce the ban on open grazing anytime the healthy herdsmen will return because we will confront any herdsman coming to Ebonyi state with AK-47.
“I have directed that they should be confronted. If you are coming to Ebonyi state with AK-47 and my directive is just obvious because Mr. President had already directed at such. So, if you are a herdsman and you are coming to Ebonyi state with AK47, you will be confronted with the same measure that you are bringing to Ebonyi state.
“We condemn totally, the killings of policemen and burning of police stations in South East. These are not done by herdsmen, they are done by people across the South East, bandits and criminals and my directive to policeman is that if you see anybody coming to kill you, demobilize the person, that is the rule of engagement.
“Police people should not fold their hands and be killed; vehicles burnt, police stations burnt and I want South East leaders to rise up to condemn this. How do we feel if because of the killings and burning of police stations in South East, the federal government decides to withdraw all the police people from South East?
“We should rise up to condemn what is evil and this is very important. Those you claim are protecting us, are not protecting us. Let us not create another monster in South East, we will all regret it “.Follow us