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South East leaders reject cattle colonies

…Says erosion enough menace to land in the region
The Igbo Leaders of Thought also known as Umeobi Ohaneze which is the apex think tank of Ohaneze Ndigbo has rejected the recent plans from the federal government to establish cattle colonies in the region.

The group also condemned the lack of empathy from federal government over the 73 lives lost to the herdsmen in Benue State just as they maintained that erosion has created enough pressure on the scarce land in the region, adding that extra pressure from cattle to be quartered in colonies will increase the damage.

Addressing the media, Prof. Ihechukwu Madubuike who is a key member of the group said that the South Easterners are basically farmers who practice shifting cultivation. He said that an empty unfarmed land does not mean that the land is under utilized.

He said, “We reject without equivocation the proposed establishment of Cattle Colonies in any part of lgbo land.

“That the proposed Cattle Colony is not only conservative, retrogressive and obnoxious; It is also parasitic, anachronistic and antipeople; it is not in sync nor in tandem with international and modern best practices in an era where technological advancement has made life stock raising a pleasure rather than a punitive, hazardous enterprise.

“The South East is unarguably one of the most densely populated regions in Sub Saharan Africa, and constant pressure on the land has resulted to the prevalence of many gully erosions in the area.

“Any additional pressure and appropriation of land through the creation of political Cattle Colonies will aggravate rather than ameliorate the situation and further reduce the hitherto insufficient arable farmlands for our people.

“It should be remembered that our people still practice-shifting cultivations. That a parcel of land is left to fallow and manure does not mean it is unutilized” Madubuike added.

Reacting to the rumour that a governor in the South East has already carved out land for cattle colony, he replied.

“The social media reports and some rumours making the round that a governor in lgbo land is a contemplating donating 10,000 hectares of land for Cattle Colony had better remain at the realm of rumour mongering because Ndi lgbo will resist any such undemocratic and unpopular action.

“The governors as the Chief executives of the states, hold the land in their states in trust for the people. They have no moral rights to give out any land for whimsical reasons, fancy or grandstanding. Governors in lgboland are therefore advised in their own interest not to give out any land in lgbo Land for Cattle Colony as our people will vehemently resist it.”

The group also reminded the federal government that top countries that produce the best beef and milk across the world do so not in colonies, but in ranches.

They further stressed the call for the restructuring of the country, saying that federal government is over whelmed with the problems in the country.

“We assert unequivocally that the immediate restructuring of the polity involving the devolution of powers to the states is imperative for the peaceful coexistence of the different ethnic nationalities that were bundled together by the imperial overload without their consent.

“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”.

Present at the briefing were the Chairman of Umeobi Ohaneze, Chief Chukwemeka Ezeife, former governor of Enugu State Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo, as well as His Royal Highness Ibe Nwosu, Ezeigbo of Abuja.

Myke Uzendu, Abuja

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