While fielding questions to newsmen after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Friday, September 6, 2019, Umahi spoke about insecurity and the recent ban on movement of cattle on foot across the region by herdsmen.
Umahi insisted that herdsmen terrorizing, killing people and raping women in the south-east region are AK47-armed ‘foreign’ herdsmen who do not speak Fulfude, Hausa or English. He said:
“We told Mr. President about the foreign herdsmen that come to our land with AK47. It has heightened tension in the region. They kill and maim our people; rape our women and people are very much afraid of going to farms and most of these people are in the thick bushes in the South-East.
“But the foreign herdsmen, most of them don’t even speak Hausa neither do they speak Fulani nor English and a number of them are being caught by security agencies and it’s introducing a new dimension in the name of herdsmen.
“We have informed Mr. President that as governors of South-East, we have @anned these foreign bandits in the name of herdsmen.”
“The mistake people make is that leaders in this country including governors are not supposed to be talking carelessly, security matters are not discussed on the pages of newspapers. But we have to speak out now just to encourage our people, to let them know that we are doing everything possible to secure their lives.
“In our states we have forest guards, we have vigilante, we have committees from the village level to the community to local government to the state level that interface with any kind of crisis arising from natives to farmers and herdsmen. We have been doing everything possible and that is why you see a lot of calm in our states. But when these herdsman that are terrorists and foreigners found their ways to the south-east, we started having the real insecurity problem and that is why we have to ban them from coming to the south-east.
“This banning of terrorist herdsmen with AK47 is in agreement with traditional herdsmen, they are also not happy with what is happening – going into kidnapping, raping our women and making the farmland very much insecure and people are afraid of going to farms now and the resultant effect will be catastrophic because traditionally, we are farmers. It’s not as if we have not been doing things, we’ve been doing things but we can’t begin to shout on the pages of newspapers on what we are doing about security.”
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