Governor of Ebonyi State, David UMAHI on Thursday denied collecting N6 billion from President Muhammadu Buhari to implement the ranching policy of the federal government in the southeast.
Umahi also cautioned the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu for including Ebonyi as one of the states that collected money for ranching, adding that the state has no land for ranching.
UMAHI made this known in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Francis Nwaze.
He said, “We have received the news making the rounds that Ebonyi State is among the States in the Federation that has received the sum of 6 billion nairas each for ranching as attributed to the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.
“That Ebonyi State Government never at any time received any money for ranching in the State and will not receive any money for the same purpose as there is no available land for ranching in the state.
“That should any Ebonyian opt to engage in personal ranching, Ebonyians should see such venture as a personal decision of such person who must use his/her land for the purpose.
“This is because Ebonyi State Government has continued to maintain that there is no land for ranching in the state and it is not about reneging on that decision,” he said.
But in reaction to the governor’s claims, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ebonyi State chapter led by Elder Fred Udeogu berated the governor for allegedly collecting money to implement ranching in the state as against the wishes of the citizens.
“Ebonyi State was mentioned as the only southern state to have received a quarter of the said N24 billion, being N6 billion for ranching.
“We are in shock that such a large sum of money was given to the State and no one knew about it and we are now wondering if it was meant for the development of a private ranch owned by those who received the money?
“We call on the government to immediately make full disclosure on this ranching fund given for public good. We need to ensure that cattle are no longer seen in the public and in the farms of our people – this will settle the clashes that have taken lives needlessly.
“We are eternally committed to doing justice for the good people of Ebonyi State and will not allow this issue, together with many others, to be swept under the proverbial carpet” the party stated.