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Umahi beams searchlight on herdsmen in Ebonyi.

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Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi on Tuesday charged the newly appointed liaison officers to check the activities of herdsmen operating in the state.

Umahi gave the charge in Abakaliki while swearing-in 159 liaison officers appointed across the 13 Local Government Areas (LGA) of the state.

He said that the state had effectively managed its relationship with herdsmen.

The governor charged the liaison officers to ensure that the state was not viewed like others states on herdsmen issues, noting that it has accommodated the herdsmen operating in the state over the years.

“The herdsmen that have stayed with us for over 60 years do not foment trouble as it is only those that migrate from other places that do so.

“Ebonyi took a stand that there should not be migration of cattle to Ebonyi and anyone moving cattle from other states to Ebonyi should use articulated vehicles.

“We cannot evict our brothers and sisters herdsmen from our states but we insist that they should not move cattle from one farm to another but stay in designated areas given to them by their host communities,’’ he said.

The governor also tasked the officers to maintain the existing peace between the populace and herdsmen in the state and ensure that their cattle were not rustled or killed.

“Frictions exist even in families but we must always device mechanisms of handling them as our committee on herdsmen activities should inculcate the liaison officers in the committee.

“I must also warn you about betraying me and you should remember that while Christ forgave those who crucified him, the one who betrayed him committed suicide.

“The reward for betrayal is suicide and if you do so, we will investigate the N20, 000 overhead given to you monthly and prosecute you if found wanting.

“Good behaviour from you would, however, mean that you spent the money well as you will receive monthly salaries of N80, 000 in addition to the N20, 000 overhead,’’ he said.

Umahi used the occasion to present staff of offices to three new traditional rulers in the state: Chief Gabriel Okoro of Ihie autonomous community of Ivo Local Government Area (LGA) and Chief Ambrose Ogbu of Isu Community of Onicha LGA.

He also presented the staff of office to Chief Peter Ogbuagu of Ama-Akpoha, Afikpo North LGA and charged the traditional rulers to ensure that the menace of illegal mining is curbed in the state.

“Traditional rulers in the state must give me the mining sites situated in their localities with relevant contacts as anyone who fails will forfeit his February salary.

“I will also inch towards the affected persons’ staff of office in March as the illegal miners operate under the cover of traditional rulers in the state.

“Allowing these miners to operate illegally makes it difficult for the state to survive economically and it is a shame that Ebonyi generates only N7 million monthly from mining activities,’’ he said.

Chief Solomon Okoronkwo, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, said that the liaison officers were found worthy to serve the state having been successfully screened by the House of Assembly.

“They are expected to step down the governor’s activities in various LGA’s, especially in effectively monitoring agricultural, educational, health and other activities,’’ he said.

Also, Chief Gabriel Okoro, thanked the governor for the honour bestowed on them and pledged that they would use their offices to promote traditional institution and contribute to the state’s development.
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