THE Southeast Governors’ Forum (SEGF) have formally presented a request of the South East people, governors, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Nzuko Umunna leadership, clergy and National Assembly members for a meeting with Mr President while requesting for joint security operations to address the menace of ”killer herdsmen” in the region.
Briefing journalists, Thursday, after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Chairman of the SEGF and Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, said, “I came to see him on behalf of our people on the closure of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu.
”We are very happy with him for ordering the closure of the airport consequent to our letter to him to intervene and that closure has saved a lot of lives because if you land at that tarmac you will see that the tarmac was gone.
“We asked the Federal Government to expand the tarmac of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu in its rehabilitation work at the airport.
”We are aware it wasn’t constructed by the present administration but the tarmac became bad as soon as it was completed.
”So, we have discussed the timeline for the completion. We are all aware that towards December, we have a lot of social economic activities in South East and Enugu is our base, capital.
”We pleaded with Mr President at the meeting for the extension of the tarmac so that it can accommodate bigger aircraft; we pleaded with him to do what he did when we had the same issue with Abuja International Airport, he intervened in a number of ways.”
The governor urged Buhari to provide special funding to ensure speedy and timely completion of the airport project.
He said: ”In the last administration, we had to rehabilitate Port Harcourt International Airport and because it went through budgetary provisions it lasted for two years.
”But similar intervention by Mr President in the International Airport Abuja, he had to provide special funding and then it was later included in the budgetary provision and the fund was accordingly replaced.
”We are therefore pleading for a similar gesture for Enugu International Airport so that special funding could be given to the Minister of Aviation.”
Menace of herdsmen
Umahi added that he requested for joint security operations to address the menace of ”killer herdsmen” in the Southeast.
According to him, “we told Mr President about the foreign herdsmen that come to our land with AK47, which has heightened tension in the region, they kill and maim our people, rape our women and people are very much afraid going to farms and most of these people are in the thick bushes in the region.
”So, we requested for joint operation with security forces to flush these people out.
”We don’t really have issues with our traditional herdsmen some of them have been living with us for quite a long time.
”But the foreign herdsmen most of them don’t even speak Hausa neither do they speak Fulani or 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 banned this foreign bandits in the name of herdsmen.”