Christopher Isiguzo and Gideon Arinze in Enugu
Governors of the five states of the South East Zone rose from a closed-door meeting in Enugu yesterday and reaffirmed its stand on the federal government’s planned RUGA settlement programme.
In a Communiqué issued by the forum and read by its chairman and Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, the forum said it still maintained its earlier decision that there is no land in the South-east for the federal government’s planned RUGA programme.
The forum said it reviewed the security situation in the zone and in response to the emerging security challenges, decided to set up both a committee and centre for South East Integrated Security Monitoring and Intelligence gathering to be centrally located in Enugu.
The forum also said the security committee would also address the safety of fuel pipeline route to Enugu Depot to ensure that pumping of petroleum products in Enugu depot resumes in the shortest possible time.
The forum said it would key into the federal government’s community policing programme, adding that forest guards would be established in each state and roads cleared up to 50 meters into the bush to have a clear view of roads ahead.
‘’After discussing extensively the comparative advantages of agriculture and the attendant benefits in the South-east, the forum resolved to put funds together to fund the people of the region who are interested in rice, cow rearing, piggery, goat rearing and other cash crops permitted by their soil,’’ the forum said.
While noting that states in the South-east have abundant oil and gas reserves, the forum called on the federal government to rather show more commitment and commence intensive exploration and development of both resources in the region.
The forum, while commending the federal government for the steady progress on the 2nd Niger Bridge project, also urged it to take more meaningful action in fixing some of the roads in the region.
In attendance at the forum were Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; Abia State governor, Okezie Ipkeazu; Ebonyi State governor, David Umahi; Imo State Deputy Governor, Gerald Irona; and Anambra State Deputy Governor, Nkem Okeke.