South-East Governors’ Forum led by the Ebonyi State Governor, Mr David Umahi, said that the call by NEF came at the right time.
He added that South-East governors would not force herdsmen to leave the zone.
Umahi spoke to one of our correspondents through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Emma Ozor, in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.
He said NEF must have carefully assessed the insecurity in the country before making the call.
According to Umahi, cattle breeders were not in any form of compulsion to leave any part of the country.
He, however, stressed that their alleged inimical activities, rape and killings of innocent Nigerians, had indicted them heavily and thus, warranted their quick exit from the South to their native lands for a sober reflection.
He said, “The call by the elders forum to the cattle breeders to return home is a welcome development. It could be that the elders had carefully considered and weighed activities of the herders and their implications and decided to call them back home in order to talk to them.
“The herders are not in any way being forced to leave any part of the country and are not in any form of compulsion to do so. They are Nigerians, too, and all of us own Nigeria. But, they themselves know that their alleged illegal activities, killings and others pit them against the law and they should heed to that call by the most respected elders from the North. So, if they want to go and heed the call, it is a show of civility and maturity on their part.
“There is already heightened insecurity in the country and Nigerians live in fear currently. We believe that the elders have a genuine agenda for calling their younger generations, who are mostly cattle breeders, home. So, let that perceived genuine agenda, guide the herders’ mind in answering that call.”