Cattle Colonies: S’East govs lack moral right to make land available to herdsmen – Igbo leaders
By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA – Igbo Leaders of Thought (ILT), the policy-making body of Ohanaeze Ndiigbo, has stated that with the current population density and constant pressure on the land in the South East which has resulted in many gully erosions in the area, no governor in the region has the moral right to give out any land for the proposed cattle colonies.
In an interview with Vanguard in Abuja at the weekend, Co-chair of the group and former governor of Anambra state, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife noted that the proposed cattle colony is not in sync nor in tandem with international and modern best practices in an era where technological advancement has made livestock raising a pleasure rather than a punitive, hazardous enterprise.
He also revealed that the ILT during its just concluded meeting in the Federal Capital Territory, without equivocation, rejected the proposed establishment of Cattle Colonies in any part of Igbo land.
He said: “The governors as the Chief Executive of the state hold the land in their states in trust for the people. They have no moral right to give out any land for whimsical reasons, fancy or grandstanding.
“Governors in Igboland are advised in their own interest not to give out any land for cattle colony as our people will vehemently resist it. The social media reports and some rumours making the round that a governor in Igbo land is contemplating donating 10,000 hectares of land for cattle colony had better remain at the realm of rumor mongering because Ndi-Igbo will resist any such undemocratic and unpopular action.
“It should be remembered that our people still practice shifting-cultivations; that a parcel of land is left to fallow does not mean it is unutilized. Additionally, top countries that produce best beef and milk across the world do so not in colonies but in ranches. We can only do well, if we follow their examples.
“We endorsed fully the spirit of brotherhood, mutual understanding and values appreciation and respect embodied in the resolutions of the recent ‘Handshake Across the Niger’ conference in Enugu. We believe that the faithful implementation of the constitutive resolutions will further enhance ethnic rapprochement, libertarian rights, national unity and development.”
Ezeife further asserted that the immediate restructuring of the polity involving the devolution of powers to the states is imperative for the peaceful co-existence of the ethnic nationalities that were bundled together by the colonialists.
“An over-bloated and centralized centre, far removed from the units that gave it power, will always function in fits and starts when it fails to surrender sufficient portions of its powers to the sub-nationals in matters that are essentially local.
“We will restructure Nigeria not only for ourselves but, more importantly, for our children and grand children to increase their social opportunities and substantive freedoms.,” he said.
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