Posted by News Express | 26 January 2018 | 2,230 times
Igbo Patriots, an alliance of people of Igbo descent at home and in the Diaspora have called on Igbo leaders to reject the establishment of cattle colonies in Igboland as proposed by the Federal Government across the country.
In a statement on Wednesday, signed by Obumneke Ejimnkeonye Okafor, Coordinator; Com. Arthur Nwakanma, Secretary; Com. Ifeanyi Okonkwo, Publicity Secretary; and Mr. Chjioke Oham, Diaspora Link, the group, which is also an alliance of Igbo nationalities, said it had taken a closer look at recent and old acts of terror, intimidation and attacks on its people that are living and doing legitimate businesses in Nigeria, and concluded that some political, traditional and religious leaders of the geo-political zone have betrayed their trust by their actions and inactions.
The group expressed sadness that any leader from the South East could concede the giving out of land for the establishment of cattle colony, grazing area, grazing reserve or any other deceitful name that is or will be coined for it.
It affirmed: “We, Igbo Patriots, are against creation of cattle colony or similar establishment in any part of Igboland. It is obvious that we do not have enough land for our present and future projects and it is also obvious that there are large undeveloped fertile land in various parts of northern Nigeria, thus we wonder why Fulani herdsmen should be looking for colony in Igboland and beyond when Sambisa forest is, more or less, the size of five states in Igboland.
“Sambisa forest has rivers, streams, lakes, fertile land and good vegetation. It can serve as national cattle colony for over a century without being filled up with cattle. There are other vast land that can be used in north. So we should be spared our scarce land.”
The pressure group further encouraged Igbo leaders who are still sitting on the fence, especially elected leaders, to act like other bold Igbo, middle belt and southern Nigeria leaders by boldly telling the Federal Government of Nigeria that there is no land for cattle colony or similar establishment in Igboland.
“We expect the few Igbo leaders who favour this unthinkable act to ask the Federal Government of Nigeria to stop the incessant destruction of lives and properties of Ndi Igbo in the north and to stop creating bigger problems for us down south.”
Moreover, the group advised the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria to adopt modern cattle rearing methods that would irrigate grazing land in the north, slaughter and process the meat on site, and transport them to different parts of the country in refrigerated trailers as it is done in some African countries and beyond.
It observed: “Nigeria is not found among the top 20 nations in the world in cattle business and none of these top 20 nations that earn billions of dollars in beef and milk export are practicing cattle colonies or primitive cattle grazing. All the top cattle rearing nations are applying modern technology, thus Nigeria should learn from them.”
The group called on governments of Abia, Anambra, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers states to enact bills that prohibit open grazing. The bills, according to the group, will stipulate strong penalties for offenders. They will also prohibit establishment of cattle colony, grazing area, grazing reserve or any other similar establishment. Furthermore, the bills should empower state Governors to set up local taskforce that will enforce the law because incidents in some states showed that the Nigeria Police has not effectively enforce similar state laws.
Igbo Patriots said: “We want members of the states assemblies to be bold in doing their jobs because they have backing of the masses. If they fail to do their jobs this time, they will lose the goodwill they enjoy from the masses.
“We, also, want to inform all state Governors in Igboland that we are, closely, monitoring their activities in relation to giving out any portion of land for grazing. Any Governor in Igboland who goes against the will of our people by agreeing to give our land to the people that will eventually kill us and forcefully convert us to different faith will be regarded as enemy of Ndi Igbo.
“We will use all necessary legal measures to stop him. We will work with good elders of the land, relevant traditional and socio-cultural groups in Igboland to banish him and his family from our land.
“We have had enough of the arrogant, wicked, self-serving and dictatorial governors in our midst. You must be reminded that power belongs to the people.”
Besides, the group called on the Federal Government to desist from “indirect imposition of a hidden agenda on our people in the name of granting grazing rights and establishing cattle colonies in our land.”
According to it, “Ala Igbo is not available for grazing and we, definitely, cannot be colonised a second time. If the main motive of seeking for grazing rights and cattle colony is not to use Fulani herdsmen to recolonise Ala Igbo, we challenge the Federal Government of Nigeria to use the vast unoccupied land in northern Nigeria as national grazing reserve(s) for their cattle. Igboland cannot be a colony and the herdsmen and their cattle are not welcomed here.”
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