The decision of the South East Governors Forum in Enugu on Sunday not to give any land in the region for cattle ranching has caught some stakeholders by surprise.
The Chairman of the Forum, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State said, “No land in the South-east has been donated for ranching. We have not donated any land; we have not been asked to donate and we are not going to donate.
“Ranching is not approved by the South-east governors in the South-east.”
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in the South East described the decision as shocking and urged the governors to reconsider their decision.
In a Wednesday statement by its leader, Alhaji Gidado Siddiki, MACBAN South East said the group had hoped that the governors’ decision would be different because of existing cordial relationship between the group and the governors.
Siddiki said, “It is evident that our organisation’s advocacy for peaceful coexistence among indigenous farmers and herdsmen is increasingly making success in the South East.
“This explains our surprise at the latest stand of the governors, which, if implemented, would not only frustrate our people from carrying out our legitimate livestock rearing business in this part, but might be suggestive of a kind of suspicion that might undermine the mutuality of the claim of brotherhood.
“We are mindful of the various negotiations and consultations still going on in respect of the contentious issues of ranching, colonies and grazing areas across the country, and we are hopeful that these issues are considered dispassionately, in the interest of Nigeria and the generality of its citizens.”
The MACBAN leader said the group hopes the governors would reconsider their decision in view of the existing understanding between herdsmen and host communities in the South East.
“We of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders of Nigeria, South East zone, consequent upon the existing understanding we enjoy with our hosts, and in response to the latest stand by the South East Governors Forum, wish to reaffirm our confidence in the capacity of our host governors to encourage the growth of our legitimate trade in their geo-political zone,” he added.