Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State on Monday declared that his people would rather die than give out their land for ranching.
Umahi’s statement comes after the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) ordered the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to begin the process of recovering land from persons who have converted cattle grazing routes for their personal use.
Speaking on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ on Monday, the governor revealed that each of the states in the South-East already has laws banning open grazing.
When asked if he can use his position to allocate land for ranching, Umahi said, “This is not about the governors, it is about the people, so, whatever position the people take in this regard, that is what will happen. There is no land in this regard that is not owned by individuals, corporate bodies.
“So, this is beyond governors and that is the truth. People calling governors are making a very grievous mistake. Even if I say as a governor in South-East, I want people from this village, I want you to donate this land, the question is: will they allow it?
“I have heard about three communal crisis in my state, and it is all about land. There is a place that I am building a medical university and the people of that village, for a project that is almost completed, went and brought it down. They prefer to have their farms than a medical college. So, land is a different ball game altogether.”
Umahi further emphasised that the people of Ebonyi cannot be swayed into giving out land for ranching.
“They have said they have no land for ranching. They put me where I am. If I have one acre of land and I am talking about giving land for ranching, I should be talking about that particular land. I can’t be talking about somebody’s land. Yes, constitutionally, I have control over the land but you have to kill all the people to get the land.”
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