Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has warned that it would excommunicate Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma, if he withdraws from the ban on open grazing initiated by the Southern Governors’ Forum.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide had warned the Governor of Imo state on the dangers of withdrawal from the ban on open grazing initiated by the Forum of Southern Governors, as the Imo Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma had attracted scourge of hatred, plagues, and curses on his government,” the group said in a statement signed by its secretary-general, Mazi Okechukwu.
Governors of the 17 southern states had pronounced a ban on open grazing in the region at their meeting in Asaba in May. At a follow up meeting on the issue in Lagos, the governors set a September deadline for all the states in the region to pass a law prohibiting open grazing.
Ohanaeze said that Mr Uzodinma’s absence from meetings of the Southern Governors’ Forum which held in Lagos and Asaba, raises suspicion of what they described as “an attempt to ambush the resolutions of southern governors.”
“Our suspicion had been reinforced with the continued absence of Governor Hope Uzodinma in the meetings of southern governors in Asaba and Lagos, which was intentional and premeditated to ambush the resolutions of the southern governors, and he will never escape the venom of Ndigbo, as he will surely taste the retribution of God and wrath of the people as a confirmed saboteur and this will serve as a warning to any Igbo governor that will follow such decision will never escape the malevolence and venomous action of the the people,” the statement added.
The group further alleged that Mr Uzodinma has become a tool in the hands of detractors who seek to “destabilise southern Nigeria” and warned that he must show repentance and rescind the decision to pull out from the ban on open grazing from September 1, 2021.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo admonished Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma to show repentance and rescind the decision to pull out from the ban on open grazing from 1st september 2021, he cannot afford to face the consequences of this decision, Uzodinma is now the tools our detractors are using to destrablize Southern Nigeria, but if he continues, he will be excommunicated from any Igbo gathering and ceremonies from 1st september 2021,” the statement concluded.
Mr Uzodinma on Wednesday said he was pulling out of the agreement with southern governors, declaring that there was no law banning open grazing in Imo.
“I don’t have any law in Imo State for anti-grazing. But what we have done is that we are regulating grazing activities in Imo State under a partnership between our farmers and herders,” Mr Uzodinma asserted.