By Harry Awurumibe, Head, Abuja Bureau
Irked by the unguided statement from an unknown group to herdsmen in the South Eastern zone of Nigeria to quit within 24 hours, the Government of Imo State has disowned the ultimatum and made it categorically clear that the state is hospitable and receptive to visitors.
An unknown ‘Group’, under the aegis of Coalition of South East Youth Leaders had given herdsmen in the state 24 hours to quit.
But in a statement issued through the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Imo State, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, Mr. Chibuike Onyeukwu, the group lacks the legitimacy to speak for the state.
Onyeukwu described the report of the ultimatum as an embarrassment to the Government and people of the state, urging members of the public to disregard it.
“The attention of the Government of Imo State has been drawn to a report on some news media, credited to a group, which identified itself as Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, giving herdsmen in the state 24 hours to quit.”
“The group, led by one Goodluck Ibem relied on an alarm allegedly raised by the management of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, accusing herdsmen of destroying their farm lands and crops, among other concerns.”
“The Government of Imo State, under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha CON, hereby dissociates itself and entire good people of the state from the said ultimatum to herdsmen in the state.”
“Imo State Government is embarrassed by the development and has taken steps to prevent breakdown of law and order in the state.”
“While efforts are being made to ensure that concerns raised by the management of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri are addressed, let it be on record that the Governor Emeka Ihedioha – led administration shall not tolerate a situation where individuals take the laws into their hands.”
“For the avoidance of doubts, citizens of Imo State are very peaceful, hospitable and have always enjoyed cordial relationship with neighbours and strangers in the state.
Imolites are at peace with residents and have no axe to grind with anyone living or doing business in the state, as long as such transactions do not in any way violate the laws of the land or constitute public nuisance.”
“The general public is therefore advised to disregard the report and go about their normal businesses without fear or favour”.