By Sunday Agbo, Abakaliki
Southeast Governors’ Forum has written to President Muhammadu Buhari to consider the approval of their resolution to ban herdsmen without cattle and movement of cattle by foot to bring to an end increasing cases of killing, maiming, raping of women, kidnapping of the people and destruction of farmlands mostly carried out by foreign herdsmen with the backing of some compromised local herders.
The governors also requested for extension of time from President Muhammadu Buhari to the end of October, 2019, to enable them make adequate arrangement for airport users and to carry out curative work on the Akanu Ibiam International
The request is coming on the heels of the order for the closure of Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu state.
The forum said they had to write to the president to intervene in what they termed ‘prompt closure of the Enugu Airport without giving us any time to make adequate security arrangement, convenience of the people and visitors to the zone, who would be travelling long distances to alternative airports where flights would be diverted to following the closure.
According to the letter signed by Mr. Emmanuel Uzor, Chief Press Secretary to Ebonyi state governor and chairman of the South East Governor’s Forum, David Umahi, the governors called on the president to direct the aviation sector of the Federal Ministry of Transport to provide immediate palliatives in form of transportation with armed escorts and helicopter services to prospective passengers from alternative airports that connect the zone.
The governors maintained that federal ministry of works in collaboration with the Southeast Governors’ Forum, should be directed to carry out palliative repairs on the major roads leading to the alternative airports as well clear all the bushes along the routes for better view of road users.
They called for 24-hour joint security patrol be provided for the safety of the people and visitors to the South East, who will be using the roads day and night through the alternative airports.
It reads, “The South East Governors’ Forum highly appreciates Your Excellency, Mr. President, for granting our request for the immediate resurfacing of the tarmac and extension of the runway of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, for public safety.
“May we use this opportunity to also thank you for the consistent progress of works at the second Niger Bridge in Onitsha and other federal government projects in the South East especially, the completion of the Zik’s Mausoleum in Onitsha and 2.8 mega watt solar power plant at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike Ikwo in Ebonyi state.
“As we thank you, Mr. President; we are constrained to ask for your kind intervention in the observations we have made to the Federal Ministries of Transport (Aviation sector) and Works on the closure of the airport for the renovation works.
“Your Excellency, in our letters to the respective ministries, we observed that the notification of the closure was prompt, giving us no time to make adequate arrangement for the security and convenience of our people and visitors to the South East, who will be travelling long distances to alternative airports where flights will be diverted to.
“We request that the closure of the airport be deferred to the end of October, 2019, to enable adequate arrangements to be made for security of the airport users and for few remedial works within seven (7) days to be carried out at the tarmac to ensure safety.
“That Mr. President do approve the earlier resolution of the South East Governors banning herdsmen without cattle and movement of cattle by foot in the zone to eliminate increasing cases of killing, maiming, raping of our women, kidnapping of our people and destruction of our farmlands mostly carried out by foreign herdsmen and in most cases with the backing of some compromised local herders.
“We plead with Mr. President that we publish this letter to assuage our people’s feelings, who erroneously think that no efforts are being made by the leaders of the South East to tackle insecurity and economic challenges facing the zone and to let them know that her leaders before now have been working very hard without making noise as issues of security must not be discussed in the public.”