David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
The South East chapter of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) says it is surprised by the announcement of the South-east governors that it would not donate land for ranching.
The South-east governors had last weekend in Enugu, after its meeting, agreed that no part of the zone would be ceded to cattle breeders for ranching.
MACBAN said its surprise stems from the existing cordial relationship between the people of the South-east and themselves, which it said does not warrant such outright rejection.
A statement signed by the leader of the group, Alhaji Gidado Siddiki, and made available to THISDAY in Awka, Anambra State, conveyed its surprise.
Siddiki said Miyetti Allah has consistently appreciated the commitment of the South- east governors in ensuring their safety and harmonious coexistence with their host.
According to Siddiki, â€œIt is evident that our organisationâ€™s advocacy for peaceful coexistence among indigenous farmers and herdsmen is increasingly making successes in the South-east.
â€œThis explains our surprise at the latest stand of the governors, which, if implemented, would not only frustrate our people from carrying out our legitimate livestock rearing business in this part, but might be suggestive of a kind of suspicion that might undermine the mutuality of the claim of brotherhood.
The group further said; â€œWe are mindful of the various negotiations and consultations still going on in respect of the contentious issues of ranching, colonies and grazing areas across the country, we are hopeful that these issues are considered dispassionately in the interest of Nigeria and the generality of its citizens.
â€œWe of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders of Nigeria, consequent upon the existing understanding we enjoy with our hosts, and in response to the latest stand by the south east Governors forum, wish to reaffirm our confidence in the capacity of our host governors to encourage the growth of our legitimate trade in their geo-political zone.
â€œIt is a very trying period in the history of Nigeria and it is our candid view that the South-east whose citizens are the major bonding elements among the people of Nigeria, would provide exemplary leadership in accommodating other Nigerians in their midst, in so far such persons are legitimately engaged in their economic pursuits,â€ it said.