Five governors from the Southeast under the aegis of South East governors Forum have described as spurious the claims that they have ceded some lands for the implementation of the controversial Ruga settlement for herdsmen project.
In a statement issued on Tuesday by Prof. Simon Uchenna Ortuanya, Director General of the Forum, the governors asserted that none of them have donated any land or intends to donate any land for any of the two programmes for lack of enough land in the entire South East.
“We agreed with herdsmen living peacefully with us and the natives that movement of cows into the South East should be by road transportation using trailers to their specific cow markets. No more allowing foreign Herdsmen to move their cattle by foot as this is the point of conflict with the farmers and natives.
“That we do not have any land to donate for RUGA or NLTP programmes but we are committed to selling grasses and by-product of our farms to support NLTP for states that have keyed into the programme.
The governors in the statement commended President Muhammadu Buhari and his Vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo for their good intentions, but stated that what Federal Government and NEC approved was NLTP and it is not compulsory for all the states.
“In this direction, we advise the FGN to immediately start the implementation of NLTP in the Northern States that have accepted the Programme and where we have large expanse of land. This will surly stop the movement of cows from one state to the other and put a stop to the crisis and suspicion between farmers and herdsmen.”
“We ask all our people living outside the South East especially in the North to ignore the threat contained in the video message by self-styled Northern Youths. We are in talks with the Northern Governors and their leaders who speak for their people and they have assured us that there is no harm that will befall our people living in various Northern states across Nigeria.
“Finally, we advise those drumming for war to remember our mothers and children and have a rethink. In a state of war, even your friends could become your enemies. Let us bond together as one people and start to think on how to rebuild our youths whose future we ate up in the time past, rebuild our nation whose patriotism we ignored in the time past and love one another.”