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Enugu Indigenes Living In Diaspora Reject Grazing Bill

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Enugu indigenes living in the Diaspora under the auspices of Concerned Patriotic Enugu Indigenes In Diaspora (CPEIID) have rejected the alleged secret passing of a grazing bill by the House of Assembly.

They called on Governor Peter Mbah and the Speaker to reverse the bill within 72 hours of receiving the letter.

If the ultimatum is ignored, they warned that they will be forced to consider all peaceful and legal means to protect the interests of the state and the communities. This may include organized protests, legal actions, and exploring other avenues.

The open letter was titled: “Condemnation of the Secretly passed grazing bill and demand for Immediate reversal”.

The letter dated May 11, 2024 by the group leader and 12 other members of the group reads in part: “We, the undersigned, are writing to express our deep concern and strong condemnation of the secretly passed grazing bill by the Enugu State House of Assembly. This bill, which was passed without public input or debate, allows for the establishment of grazing lands by The Enugu State Government for AK 47 riffles carrying terrorist herders, which has far-reaching and devastating implications for our communities and state.

“The secret passage of this bill is a clear violation of our rights as citizens of Enugu State and a betrayal of the trust we have placed in our elected representatives. It is a clear example of the government’s failure to prioritize the needs and interests of its people.

“The implications of this bill are severe and far-reaching. It will lead to the continuous massacre of our people, displacement of our people, the destruction of our crops and properties, and the continuous erosion of our cultural heritage.

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“It will also continue to perpetuate the criminal activities of Fulani herdsmen, who have consistently shown disregard for the law and the rights of our indigenous people and communities.

“We believe that the bill will have numerous negative implications, including, increased instances of violence and insecurity, particularly concerning the ongoing attacks by criminal Fulani herdsmen in our different communities, displacement of indigenous communities and the subsequent loss of livelihoods, culture, and heritage.

“Including escalation of tensions between communities and external groups, undermining the social fabric of our state, and the potential for exacerbating environmental degradation and negative impact to agricultural activities and further endangering our food security.

“We have seen the negative implications of similar ranches in Benue State, Plateau State, Kaduna State, and other Nigerian States, where thousands of indigenous communities have been displaced and forced into IDP camps, without being protected by the security forces.

“The experiences of these states serve as a stark warning of the dangers of allowing foreign herdsmen to take over our lands and displace our people. We cannot allow Enugu State to suffer the same fate.

“Therefore, we demand that the Enugu State House of Assembly takes immediate action to reverse the secretly passed grazing bill and prioritize the well-being and prosperity of the people of Enugu State, take immediate action to compensate Enugu indigenous communities for their crop damages (Worth trillions of dollars) suffered due to the activities of Fulani criminal Fulani herdsmen and terrorist organization, and ensure that the government works to protect the rights and interests of its citizens, rather than prioritizing the interests of external groups.

“When viewed from statistical point of view and reference the Federal Bureau of statistic (NBS) Federal republic of Nigeria 2019, Land Area of Nigeria by State, the Fulani and Northern Nigeria comprises 19 states, which are: Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Gombe, Adamawa, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kogi, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara, and FCT (Abuja).

“According to the data provided by the National Bureau of Statistics, the total land area of the 19 northern states is approximately 786,372 square kilometers

“On the other hand, Southeast Nigeria consists only of 5 states: Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo. The total land area of these 5 southeastern states is around 29,483 square kilometers

“Comparing the two regions; Northern Nigeria has a land area of 786,372 square kilometers. Southeast Nigeria has a land area of 29,483 square kilometers.

“Therefore, the land area of Northern Nigeria is significantly larger than that of Southeast Nigeria by approximately 26 times.

“Given the significant difference in land area between the two regions, it is clear that Northern Nigeria possesses ample land to accommodate grazing reserves without infringing on the rights and resources of South-East communities.

“We implore you to listen to the voices of the people of Enugu State, who resolutely oppose this bill.

“We also call on all stakeholders, including community leaders, civil society organizations, and citizens, to join us in condemning this bill and demanding that our government works for their people, not against them.

“We also implore Governor Mbah to charge the security agencies to live up to expectations and protect Enugu communities from the mass destruction perpetrated by Fulani terrorist herdsmen. The security agencies have a responsibility to safeguard the lives and properties of Enugu citizens and a responsible state government is expected hold them accountable for their actions or inactions for criminalities by the Terrorist Fulani herdsmen in our dear state.

“As an expression of the urgency and gravity of this matter, we request the immediate reversal of this bill within 72 hours of receiving this letter. Should this ultimatum be ignored, we will be forced to consider all peaceful and legal means available to protect the interests of our communities, including organized protests, legal action, and the exploration of other avenues to voice our collective dissent.

Rest assured, we will not sit idly while our rights and interests are trampled upon. We will resist this bill through every legal and peaceful means available to us.

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