Governor David Nweze Umahi of Ebonyi State on Wednesday rejected calls for reprisal on Fulani herdsmen in the South-East.
Reacting to criticisms on the social media that he pledged to create grazing fields for herdsmen during his meeting with traditional rulers and security chiefs in the state on Tuesday, Umahi said he had done the right thing by asking that all armed cattle rustlers should be disarmed.
Umahi stated during a stakeholders summit on rice revolution in Abakaliki on Wednesday that what was agreed at the Tuesday meeting was the provision of grazing routes in the state, and not grazing fields as claimed by “our distractors.”
On learning that some herdsmen had built huts near the permanent site of the Ebonyi State University in Ezzamgbo, he directed the state Police Commissioner, Peace Abdallah and the Commissioner for Education, Prof. John Ekeh, to ensure that the herdsmen were peacefully moved out the area.
“There is no way cows can be allowed to stay where human beings, especially students are living. The CP and the commissioner should find a peaceful way of moving out of there within seven days,” he added.
The governor stated that it was not in the best interest of the Igbo for anyone to call for reprisal against Fulani herdsmen for the recent killings in Enugu State.
“The Igbo are also nomadic in commerce and are scattered across the country,” he stated and appealed to all those who want herdsmen to be sent away to think about the safety of the Igbo living and doing business in other parts of the country.
Umahi also advised that since “our people that the country is very tensed now, let us be careful in making inflammatory statements that could endanger the lives of Nigerians.”
“Instead of us being worried about live or don’t live, it is better to use our energy to think of alternatives on how we can live in peace with them,” the governor added.
Stressing that the Police has been directed to disarm all herdsmen in the State.