The South East Governors Forum has rejected the recent request by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) for establishment of a Fulani vigilante group in the zone to protect their members.
The forum which made its position known on Monday in a statement by its chairman and governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, denied ever being ready to allow such suggestions come to fruition as being alleged in some quarters.
The statement which was released by his chief press secretary, Emmanuel Uzor, described the allegation of the governors allowing MACBAN to form vigilante groups as strange.
“I find it extremely strange for anybody to think that none locals in any part of the country including South East could be allowed to form vigilante outfit.
“The Miyetti Allah group may have made that suggestion, which I believe will never mean to form a vigilante in (the) South East. (Whatever) is the meaning, no governor will allow that.
“South East Governors have their local vigilantes working with security agencies. Any such demand by Miyetti group is a joke and not acceptable. Governors of South East are doing their best and we have no problems receiving insults from our people. It is the price for leadership.
“The important thing to us is the safety and well-being of our people. OPC and other pressure groups may not have found it fashionable to be insulting their leaders even when their leaders may not be saints,” the governor said.
Mr Umahi further disclosed that his task is to develop Ebonyi State and contribute in rebuilding South East and Nigeria.
“My calling is not to insult others. Have we been fairly treated? No. Can we solve the problem by hate speeches? For me, no. Nobody, no matter the level of pretence, can change my style of peaceful leadership. Ebonyi, in particular, has suffered so much, even in the context of the South East. We believe that we do not need hate speeches as a strategy to solve our problems.
“Finally, no Miyetti vigilante in South East. No cattle ranch or colony, but, we must live peacefully with herdsmen that do not destroy our farm land, especially those that were born here and have lived peacefully with us. All South East governors are together on this position,” the governor said.
MACBAN had made the proposal during the South East Security Summit held in Enugu last week.
The summit was convened by the South East Governors’ Forum to proffer solution to lingering clashes between herders and farmers in the region.
The clashes have led to killings and destruction of farmlands.