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Insecurity: Southeast Governors Ban Herdsmen With AK47, Cutlasses

From  Ignatius  Okpara, Enugu

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – As part of measures to checkmate the present insecurity ravaging parts of Nigeria, governors of  South East geo political zone of the country on Saturday announced the banning of Herdsmen who move about with AK47 riffle and Cutlasses in the area.

   Ebonyi State Governor and Chairman of the South East Governor’s Forum,  Dave Umahi revealed this while briefing newsmen on the outcome of their expanded meeting with heads of security agencies in the zone  as well as other stakeholders, including the Minister of Aviation, Senator Sirika Hadi Abubakar, who was invited over the recent closure of the Akanu Ibiam international Airport by the federal government.

Present at the meeting were, Governors of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, that of Imo, Emeka Ihedioha, Willy Obiano  of Anambra, Dave Umahi of Ebonyi, while Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu was represented by his deputy Ude Oko Chukwu.

Umahi further disclosed  that they agreed that a joint air operation to flush out bandits from all forests in the South East will be made a continuous one, adding that the meeting equally resolved to put measures in place to restrain the movement of Herdsmen and cattles from moving from one state to another, saying that the movement remains a source of conflicts with natives and farmers.

On the closure of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport which informed the invitation of the Minister of Aviation, Umahi said they acknowledged the reasons adduced  by the Minister for the closure, saying the measure was taken to save lives.

He said: “In our discussion today we agreed that joint air operation to flush out bandits from all forest in South East are to be a  continuous one. We also agreed that we have to put measures in place to restrain movement of herdsmen and their cattle from one state to another which is a source and point of conflict with the natives and farmers and also restrain the movement of cattle and herdsmen from coming to communities across farmland.

According to the forum chairman, “We commend Enugu state governor in establishment of Forest Guards which was a decision of South East Governors, and we encourage the remaining South East governors to launch theirs.

“Southeast governors have banned herdsmen who move about with AK47 guns and cutlasses and we want our security agencies to implement same, South East governors never invited the army nor were South East Governors informed of any of their operations on Python Dance until the operations were already started in the states.

“South East  governors would like to write to Mr president  to request for a meeting with him and all the security chiefs on security to douse tension in the region.

“We acknowledge the safety reasons given to us by the Hon Minister of Aviation Sen Hadi Sirika for the closure of Enugu Airport. It’s a matter of need to save the lives of our people, the deterioration in the airport  went on for a long time, and it is because of the deplorable situation that we have to close it to save the lives of our people and we acknowledge his measures and we are very satisfied with his passion and his readiness to uplift the airport.

“Hon Minister of Aviation has assured us that the Akanu Ibiam International Airport will be reconstructed to meet the Abuja International Airport standard, the runway shall be reconstructed and extended, and the landing equipment shall be replaced with a better landing light installation and he has assured that the work will go on day and night and it must be completed before December 2019.

“Other works like the cargo section, extension of the tarmac, buildings that were damaged by rain storm etc are also in the package. He has assured us that two sets of contractors are pinned down for any of them to be used like Julius Berger as we requested and PW but in the weeks ahead we will be asking him that we have a choice of Julius Berger.

“Palliative measures has been arranged and the South East governors will have a committee with Minister of Aviation and Minister of Works to discuss on the palliative measures, we are very committed as South East governors for the safety of our people, for the convenience of our people to ease all inconveniences and these we are going to do.

“Some states have already started and some states will also follow. And in the next one week we will roll out our palliative measures and we assure our people of their safety.

“On Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri, the Hon Minister said they had already met and a number of facelift will be given like the barbed wire, the tarmac, the buildings; they are all going to be given a facelift, where most of these planes will be diverted to and we are very happy with that.

“South East governors, already we set up security committee, we shall inaugurate them today, one per state and they will play a major role with our security chiefs and also play a role in this airport closure and diversion of flights.

In a brief speech, the Minister Aviation, Abubakar said “for us at the centre in this federating country, we take the city of Enugu extremely import because what Enugu is to the South East is what Kaduna for example is to the North or Ibadan to the South West. So contemplating to close down the runway in the heart of the South Eastern part of the country, very mobile, very enterprising people, it’s not done without complete respect and regard to the activities around this centre; it was purely based on safety to ensure that people that are flying into airport do so safely.

“This airport is one of the five International Airports that we have, I want to assure you that we will take all the seriousness that it deserves, and we should be able to deliver this project all things being equal before Christmas.

“We are conscious and aware of the hardships that you might go through but I believe it is worth it in the interest of safety and the committee that has been formed will discuss the palliative and we will also discuss the arrangement, planning”  the Minister stated.



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