The South-East Governors’ Forum has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to pay heed to its earlier demand on the ban of herdsmen without cattle and those who move their cattle by foot in the zone.
The governors also pleaded with President Buhari to delay the government decision to close the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu for repair works.
The forum made these pleas in an open letter signed by its chairman and governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi on Tuesday.
The governors said they decided to make the letter an open one in order to assuage the people of the zone, who according to them, do not believe that they (South-East governors) are making efforts to check worsening insecurity in the region.
“We plead with Mr. President that we publish this letter to assuage our people’s feelings who erroneously think that no efforts are being made by the leaders of the South-East to tackle insecurity and economic challenges facing the zone and to let them know that her leaders before now have been working very hard without making noise as issues of security must not be discussed in the public.
On the call for criminal herdsmen to be banned, the governors said that doing such will help checkmate escalating cases of all manner of criminal activities against the people of the zone.
They said, “That Mr. President do approve the earlier resolution of the South-East governors banning herdsmen without cattle and movement of cattle by foot in the zone to eliminate increasing cases of killing, maiming, raping of our women, the kidnapping of our people and destruction of our farmlands mostly carried out by foreign herdsmen and in most cases with the backing of some compromised local herders.”
On the closure of Akanu Ibiam International Airport, the forum said that the announcement for the closure was prompt and would not allow them time to make security arrangement for the convenience of the people, and visitors to the region who would be travelling long distances to alternative airports where flights would be diverted to.
They therefore urged President Buhari to direct aviation authorities to make available urgent palliatives in form of transportation with armed escorts and helicopter services to prospective passengers from alternative airports that connect the zone.
“Your Excellency, in our letters to the respective ministries, we observed that the notification of the closure was prompt giving us no time to make adequate arrangement for the security and convenience of our people and visitors to the South East who will be travelling long instances to alternative airports where flights will be diverted to,” the governors wrote.
Recall that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) had on Saturday, announced that the airport’s runway would be closed for major repairs.