By Vincent Ujumadu & Chinonso Alozie
GOVERNOR Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State, yesterday, ordered heads of agencies to convene a meeting with the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, over reports of invasion of farmlands by herdsmen.From left: Deputy House Leader, Rep. Leo Ogor; Chairman, Constitution Review Committee of the House of Representatives and Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, and Chief Whip, Rep. Ishaka Bawa, during the News Conference on the forthcoming Constitution Review Committee’s Retreat in Port Harcourt in Abuja yesterday.
Special Adviser on Security to Governor Ihedioha, Raymond Nkemdirim, confirmed this to Vanguard, adding “we have asked the heads of security agencies to engage the leadership of Miyetti Allah and get back to us quickly so that we can make a decision on the matter.
“We are waiting for the outcome. They have already started the interface and before the end of today(yesterday) they will get back to us.”
In a related development, stakeholders from communities in the South-East zone have identified beefing up of community vigilance groups as one way of tackling security challenges in the area.
At a meeting of Alaigbo Development Foundation, ADF, at Umuchu, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, the stakeholders described the security situation in the country as worrisome, adding that something urgent needed to be done to restore the confidence of the people in their country.Also read: South-East govs describe cattle colonies, Fulani vigilantes as jokes
Meanwhile, an investigation by Vanguard, yesterday in Owerri, revealed that armed herdsmen have started spreading into other villages, despite the cries of invasion of farmlands by their host community, particularly Obokofia community in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area.
The migration is coming days after the herders shot sporadically at their host community in Obokofia, although no life was lost in the incident.
Some of the areas said to be their next destination are Oguta Local Government Area; Naze in Owerri North Local Government Area. Other local government areas that could be affected are Okigwe, Onuimo, Ehime and Isiala Mbano among others.
Also, Ndegwu, Orogwe, Obinze, Nekede, Amakohi-Ubi in Owerri West; Ogbaku in Mbaitoli Local Government Area, among others.
…the Umuchu declaration
At the Umuchu, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State meeting, President-General of ADF, Professor Uzodinma Nwala, said the group, which was formed five years ago, was essentially established to develop the Igbo nation, as well as champion the cause and advance the spirit of her culture and traditions, through the think home philosophy.
According to him, Igbo stakeholders should no longer ignore a situation where the people lived in fear occasioned by kidnapping, robbery, cultism and other vices, arguing that the presence of viable vigilance groups in the various communities would ensure the security of lives and properties against any possible attack from the herdsmen.
Speaking on the theme ADF Today, Yesterday and Tomorrow, Nwala recalled that the group came into existence after an international colloquium on the Igbo question before, during and after the Biafra War, held in Enugu in 2014, where, he said, many questions arose on the way forward for emancipation of the Igbo nation.
His words: “Igbo people should look inwards and remember where they were coming from, where they are presently and where they will be in future and then make haste to save their generations to come by investing their wisdom, strength and wealth in the South-East.”
He explained that the choice of the rural community of Umuchu as the venue for the meeting was to appreciate an indigene of the area, Mr Godwin Ezeemo, who had transformed the community with multi-million naira investments, adding that such was what was expected of every Igbo entrepreneur.
Addressing the audience, Ezeemo, who is chairman of Orient Group, regretted the difficulties faced by Igbo businessmen in the country, alleging that they were often denied opportunities to grow their businesses.
According to him, poor electricity and harsh operating environment had also forced many businesses to close down.