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Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi State
Herders were on Tuesday warned to stay away from Ebonyi State until “tension abates”.
David Umahi, governor of Ebonyi, gave the warning in Abakaluki, the state capital, saying that his administration did not ask herders to leave the state, but they did so on their own accord.
There have been attacks by gunmen on Ebonyi communities in the past few weeks, heightening tension between herders and their host communities.
Umahi, however, said the herders should not yet return to the state.
Said he: “We are killing policemen, we are burning police station which means that South-East leaders should know that our problem is not just herdsmen. We want to put it on record that no herdsman is in Ebonyi state now.
“We didn’t ask them to leave. They left on their own, which means they were privy to the attacks on Ebonyi state.
“I have been begging the national leadership that with what is going on, no state governor is in control of bandits and because of the killings of the defenceless Ebonyi people, for the safety of them, they should not return now.
“There is high tension. We have sent text messages to Myetti Allah that Ebonyi state is under tension and we would not want them to still stay until such a time that the state is safe”.
The governor also said he had ordered vigilantes and the leadership of the LGAs to enforce the ban on open grazing in the state, adding that although there was no herder presently in the state, the ban should be seriously enforced.
Said Umahi: “The natives should not blame security agencies who cannot be everywhere as we will fully fund vigilante operations in the state. Individuals who make inciting statements on the social media should desist because such increases tension in the land”.
He urged residents of the South-East to condemn the incessant attacks on police facilities and other security threats.
Noted he: “The attacks are not perpetrated by herders but by criminals and bandits in the zone. How would we feel if the federal government withdraws policemen from the zone as a result of this development?
“The people claiming to protect us are not doing so and we should avoid creating another monster in the zone”.
The governor also ordered the arrest of people whose “inciting utterances escalated the conflict and killings” in Effium and Mgbo communities of the state.