South-East unavailable, too tiny for ranching – Intersociety cautions governors

A civil rights group, International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, Intersociety, has vowed to resist any attempt by governors of the South-East states to cede any land for ranching.

There have been plans by some governments in the zone to establish ranchings in some locations in their states as part of measures to quell incessant clashes by farmers and herders.

However, in a statement made available to DAILY POST on Monday, Intersociety said such action would not be tolerated.

The statement was signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi, Intersociety Board Chair, Chinwe Umeche, Head, Democracy and Good Governance Program and Obianuju Igboeli, Head, Civil Liberties and Rule of Law Program.

The group specifically told governments of Enugu, Anambra, Abia, Imo and Ebonyi states that “the South-East landmass (measuring 29,525km2) was too tiny for grab, for the purpose of Ranching/Settlements.”

Intersociety strongly advised the governors “to back off from any form of moves- under whatever disguises or camouflages, aimed at establishment of herders’ settlements in any part of their respective States.

“These moves must be done away with in the entire South-East or be lawfully and popularly resisted.”

It added that despite denials and reasons given by the governors and their governments “to justify the widely suspected politically motivated moves to establish the so called ‘non-native trailer parks’, ‘agro-industrial farms’, ‘mechanized farm settlements’ or ‘modern cow ranching’, most social clusters have remained saturated with strong suspicions that the governors and their governments are being economical with the truth.”

Intersociety traced the current food insecurity in Nigeria, including food shortages and price hikes to “terrorization of the country’s food baskets- Ondo, Ogun and Oyo in South-West; Delta and Edo in South-South; Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kogi and Niger in North-Central; Southern Kaduna and Southern Kebbi in North-West; and Taraba, Southern Borno and Northern Adamawa in North-East.”

“It is therefore most likely correct to say that the ongoing moves by the named governors and their governments are tantamount to ‘the Voice of Jacob and the Hands of Esau’.

“It must be clearly pointed out that it is the duties of the referenced governors and their governments, as Chief Security Officers of their respective States, to rise to the occasion at ensuring security and safety of those they were elected or selected to govern and protect, including mustering enough political will to flush out marauding Jihadist herdsmen wrecking havocs in farmlands located in communities across their states and restore farmers’ access to their farmlands and cultivated and harvested crops.

“The governors and their governments are also duty bound to ensure general security and safety of lives and properties in their domains and provide access and good roads, energy supply, ICT technologies, social amenities and services, as well as modern urban and rural planning, so as to attract huge direct foreign investments (under public-private-partnership-PPP),” the group further stated.

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