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‘Anglican Church is opposed to grazing reserves’

By CALEB AYANSINA

ABUJA – THE Primate, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, has insisted that the ongoing effort of the Federal Government to establish grazing reserve across the country would not do anything but create more communal conflict.

Armed Fulani-herdsmen
Armed Fulani-herdsmen

The Primate who made the call in an interview at the 3rd Session of the Ninth Synod of the Diocese of Abuja, Anglican Communion, with the theme; ‘The poverty of Riches’, in Abuja, said there were already struggling among kinsmen over issue of land in many parts of the country, due to increase in popula-tion, therefore, government should not create a bigger problem in the process of solving one.

His words: “The move to create grazing reserves for Fulani herds-men around the country does not have our support. This is because the move treats a set of people with unwarranted special preference, making them indigenes of all regions of the country.

“More so, they are private business-men who take away all proceeds of the business, not sharing with their host communities or government.

“We wish to re-echo to the Federal Government, states and individuals involved, the recommendation already made earlier, that ranches should be built in their own localities for modern animal husbandry.

“In some parts of Nigeria, people are already grappling with high population growth and land does not expand in any guise. Families are fighting themselves over land, brothers are fighting brothers, now if you bring an external person to come and take a large chunk of it, then, those people will perish.

“In fact the land in the southern part of Nigeria is so small that the popu-lation has outgrown it. And since the land does not expand, to seize it and give it to somebody else is asking for a lot of problem, instead of solv-ing the problem we will increase it. So, we are not supporting it.

He  also called on all Nigerians including those in the positions of authoities to shun divisive tendency to move the country forward.

Okoh said Nigeria is progressing at a slow pace because people promote selfish interest above national interest.

His words: “We call upon Nigerians to de-emphasise divisive tendency, trying to dominate others either religiously, politically or on ethnic matters, so that they can occupy the top.

“That type of situation will never promote peace and unity. So, we should do everything to live with other people, respecting the dignity and rights of other people, instead of deliberately seeking to promote ourselves above others which can never promote peace and unity.”

The cleric maintained that with the continued absence of the Chibok girls, the promise of security by government remains a mockery.

“The Synod calls on the National Assembly to drop the bill on grazing reserve, as it is only heating up the polity and will do no good to the herdsmen, their host communities or the government.”

Speaking on the recovery of the missing Chibok girls, Okoh com-mended the effort of security operatives, while charging them to ensure that all of them are recover-ed. “Thank God, the president has promised that effort will be made to support the young woman to raise the baby, but more than that, we want all the others to be recovered, so that, their parents will know that they are not dead, and those who are dead will also know,” he said.

The cleric insisted that “as long as other Chibok girls remain missing the promise of security will remain a mockery.”

Delivering his sermon, the guest preacher and Archbshop of Bendel Diocese, Most Rev. Friday Imaekhai urged the people to shun material-ism that compels them to do un-godly things. “Today, there is a drive towards materialism, worldliness and as a result of that God doesn’t matter anymore,” he said, insisting that this must be done away with to enter the kingdom of God.


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