Ebonyi women’s group proscribed for striking deal with Fulani herdsmen •Leaders fined and banned from prayer meeting

Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 8 August 2016 | 2,513 times

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For brazenly signing a grazing pact without the consent of the Traditional Rulers and Elders’ Council, a women’s group, Nzuko Inyom Ehugbo in Afikpo North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, has been proscribed.

The sledgehammer of the people of Ehugbo came on the women yesterday when the elders established that the women acted alone in signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which allows Fulani herdsmen to graze in the community contrary to the position of the Council.

The elders expressed shock that apart from sidelining the Council, the women also ignored other relevant stakeholders in taking the decision.

When the group’s action came to the limelight, the people had accused the Traditional Ruler of the Ohaisu Autonomous Community, HRH Ewa Elechi, of engineering their MoU and moved to dethrone him.

The monarch’s accus­ers claimed that he support­ed the women’s group to sign the MoU, an allegation Elechi denied.

Arising from an enlarged meeting at Ogo Amaelu Amaelu Amangballa playground, the people, under the umbrella of Ehugbo General Assembly, described the pact signed by one Mrs. Felicia Egwu and Mrs. Grace Alu Oti, on behalf of the community, as a betrayal and an affront on the people.

The meeting noted that the women acted in bad faith by unilaterally signing the MoU when the people had resolved that no cattle should pass through their farmlands because of the constant destruction of their crops without compensation from the herdsmen.

In their resolution, the elders said that “the duo of Mrs. Grace Alu Oti and Ezinne Felicia Egwu were not appointed, nominated, elected, nor directed by Ehugbo people to act, represent or work for, and or on behalf of the people in any capacity including going into any Memorandum of Understanding with one Alhaji Dabo Ardo, leader of the cattle owners in our area.

“The people of Ehugbo hereby reiterate their earlier resolve not to allow cattle of any kind in our farmlands. The action of Mrs. Grace Alu Oti and Ezinne Felicia Egwu in going into the aforesaid MoU with Alhaji Dabo Ardo is unacceptable to us.’’

To serve as a deterrent to other women, the community ordered signatories to the MoU to pay a fine of N100,000 each and banned the Nzuko Inyom Ehugbo quarterly prayer meeting in the area.

The elders warned that anyone who disobeyed the ban would pay the sum of N50,000 fine.

Earlier, Ewa Elechi said he had supported the women group to sign the MoU and arranged for a lawyer who prepared the agreement but did not know the content.

He pleaded for forgive­ness, adding that he was deceived by the women.

Addressing the mammoth crowd that graced the event, the Chairman of Ebonyi State Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB), Chief Hyacinth Ikpor, said the decision of the people was binding on the state government.

He said: “Governor Dave Umahi has been talking of agriculture with emphasis on rice production. He has paid more attention to rice pro­duction while cattle have continued to destroy our crops and farmlands?

“I will support the sanctions that will be meted out to them. Governor Umahi is the chief security officer of the state and has spoken the position of Ebonyi State as regards herdsmen and any other person in the state must obey it whether you are a policeman or a soldier,” Ikpor said.

•Source: The AUTHORITY. Photo shows Governor Umahi.

Source: News Express

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