Governors and leaders of the Southeast zone, yesterday, said they have placed a ban on the movement of herdsmen with AK47 and their cattle in the zone, noting that their activities have been the cause of conflict between herdsmen and farmers in the zone.
Chairman of southeast governors forum and Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi told reporters after a meeting with the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, southeast governors, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, traditional rulers and other stakeholders in zone.
At the meeting hosted by Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, attended by Willie Obiano of Anambra state, Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State , Deputy Governor of Abia state Udo Oko Chukwu and Ohanaeze Ndigbo President general, Nnia Nwodo, among others, Umahi disclosed that the governors would soon meet with the President and Service chiefs, with a view to proffering solutions that could tackle the rising tension in the zone, adding that a joint air operation to flush out bandits from all forests in South East have commenced.
He denied inviting or aware of the 2017 Operation Python dance launched by the army in the zone until it became operational in the states.
The exercise is the source of discontent between the governors and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). It has resolved to also engage the President on rising insecurity in the zone. Meanwhile, the Federal Government said it would complete the rehabilitation works at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu before December this year.
Minister of Aviation, Sirika stated that reputable contractors such as Julius Berger construction company and PW construction company have been engaged to work day and night towards the delivery of the airport in record time.
He said the rehabilitation work would be carried out on the runway to ensure its extension, tarmac, buildings that were damaged by rainstorm, as well as replacement of landing facilities and light installation to facilitate night operation in line with international standards.
While speaking at the meeting, Sirika said the closure of the airport was purely to secure lives, allaying fears that the airport was being shutdown to deal with Ndigbo and subdue the development of the zone.
Sirika said: “Indeed for us at the centre in this federating country, we take the city of Enugu extremely important, because what Enugu is to the Southeast is what Kaduna, for example, is to the North or Ibadan, to the Southwest. So contemplating to close down the runway in the heart of the Southeastern part of the country, very mobile, very enterprising people, it’s not done without complete respect and regard to the activities around this centre; it was purely based on safety to ensure that people that are flying into airport do so safely.”