Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has submissively appealed to South East governors to as a matter of urgency, ban all manner of open grazing in the region in compliance with the 1969 Anti Grazing Law of the Federal Government.
Kanu’s proposition was met with stiff resistance from Imo State governor, Hope Uzodinma, who argued that though South East governors were desirous of solving the intractable farmers/herders’ clashes, he has no reason to issue ultimatum to the governors.
Kanu had warned that if after 14 days the South East Governors failed to heed his submission, and there is no firm and decisive action by them to ban open grazing in South East, Eastern Security Network, ESN, would step in to commence the enforcement of the 1969 Anti-Grazing Law across the entire region.
It will be recalled that Mazi Kanu had on May 15, 2020, made a similar appeal in a letter he wrote to South East and South South Governors, State Houses of Assembly members of South East and South South, informing them of his intention to work with them in establishing a security outfit for the zones before he went ahead towards the end of the year to establish the Eastern Security Network, ESN, to secure forests in the zones.
In a statement he personally signed and made available to newsmen through IPOB’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, yesterday, Kanu urged the South East Governors to emulate the bold step taken by their South West counterparts by banning open grazing.
The statement read: “We wish to humbly and most submissively call upon all the governors of the East to, as a matter of urgency, ban all manner of open grazing in the region in compliance with the 1969 statutory law of Nigeria that banned such provocative and primitive practice by Fulani herdsmen.
“The bold step taken by Yoruba governors in banning open grazing in their region is commendable and as such MUST be reciprocated and consolidated by a similar pronouncement in the East.
“If after 14 days there is no firm and decisive action by Eastern governors to ban open grazing in our land, Eastern Security Network, ESN, will step in to commence the enforcement of this 1969 Anti-Grazing Law across the entire region. Don’t say you were not informed or given prior warning.”
Speaking on Nnamdi Kanu’s appeal to South-East governors to ban open grazing or the ESN would step into the breach, Imo State government through the Commissioner of Information, Mr. Declan Emelumba, said the IPOB leader had no right to issue ultimatum to the governors.
His words: ‘’I don’t know the basis he is issuing the ultimatum. Is he the boss of the governors or superior authority? The governors will look at his appeal at their discretion.
‘’The threat aspect is wrong. He has no right to talk of enforcement. The South-East governors will always take decision based on the best interest of the people who elected them.’’
Efforts to get the reactions of other governors in the South East and South last night proved abortive, as they refused to speak on the issue.
Speaking on the issue yesterday, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chekwas Okorie, stressed that opinion leaders in the region had pressed South-East governors to employ the Benue State model in actualizing it through legal means, just as South-West Amotekun.
He said: “It’s not about IPOB calling for it, it is nothing new, it has been suggested before. Opinion leaders in the South-East have suggested the Benue State model in this regard.
‘’But now that it has been re-echoed by IPOB, I think it should be considered. Whatever their constraint is, none of us know. But I expect them to address insecurity in the region.
‘’South-East governors are not proactive on security matters. The reecho by IPOB should be a wakeup call for reconsideration.”