Magnus Eze, Enugu
Association of South East Town Unions (ASETU), at the weekend, blamed governors for the growing insecurity in the region and called for anti-open grazing laws in the region.
The town union leaders said the state chief executives would have nipped the spate of killings and existential threat in Igbo land in the bud if they had heeded their calls and those of other well-meaning people and groups, for the enactment of anti-open grazing laws in the South East states.
ASETU National President, Emeka Diwe, told Daily Sun that they had written to the governors and speakers of the Houses of Assembly in the region about the issue on December 3, last year.
He said the recent influx of army of youths from the northern parts of the country into the zone, regardless of the ban on interstate travels, would have also been abated if the governors had acted on their follow-up letter of February 7, 2020, long before the lockdown.
The letter entitled: “Re-urgent need for legislation to protect the lives of Ndigbo,” and signed by Diwe, alongside ASETU National Secretary, Gideon Adikwuru, and presidents general of association of town unions in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states; also called for the strengthening of the neighbourhood watch system and setting up of forest guards within the shortest possible time.
ASETU further attached a draft anti-open grazing bill for the governors, urging them to fine tune it and present to the states’ Houses of Assembly.
“In the South East and in other parts of Nigeria, we have witnessed the killings and rape of our people due to herdsmen that roam about the interior parts of our villages. They are reported to enter into people’s farms and consume their produce before it is harvested. People are now afraid to farm in their interior farms in their ancestral land. This is close to being sacrilegious.
“Traditionally, in Igbo land, we do not allow animals to roam freely. It is time to formalise this tradition by enacting an anti-open grazing law so that all animals that graze must be ranched or housed in an enclosed place. This will seriously weaken the resolve of anyone to engage in open grazing which leads to the killing of our people and the raping of our women,” ASETU said.
This is as the South East Governors’ Forum recently agreed on a community policing model with the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.