By Johnbosco Agbakwuru & Sam Eyoboka
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, Catholic Bishops of Lagos Ecclesiastical Province and Lagos Elders Council have criticised the decision of the Federal Government to establish cattle colonies across the country.
Okowa, who spoke in Abuja, yesterday, said his state was in need of land and did not have any to donate for cattle colonies.
He told Sunday Vanguard that the pragmatic approach his administration had adopted by appointing a Fulani man as his Special Assistant and the constant interaction with the Hausa community had helped to reduce tension in Delta.
The Catholic Bishops of Lagos Ecclesiastical Province, comprising of the Archdiocese of Lagos and the Dioceses of Ijebu Ode and Abeokuta, after a prayerful deliberation on issues of importance to the church and the nation, in a communiqué signed by their Secretary, Most Rev. Peter Kayode Odetoyinbo, and President, LEP Bishops, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins, argued that the issue of cattle colonies “is not only capable of further exacerbating an already tensed atmosphere, but also leave one with the impression that the much-touted Islamization agenda of Nigeria is an ongoing project that may have tacitly received the approval of Mr. President.”
The Lagos Elders Council, in a statement in Lagos by its General Secretary, Chef Sunbo Onitiri, said the move to establish cattle colonies for private businesses will not work in Lagos State. “It is a way to create confusion and misunderstanding between state governments which hold the land in trust for their people and the Federal Government in future”, the statement said.
The group wondered why such suggestion was being made by the Federal Government in favour of Fulani herdsmen who have been blamed for attacks on pastoral farmers across the country.
“Such a proposal is a time-bomb which might later blow Nigeria out of existence”, the elders warned, saying it is a northern agenda.
The Voice of Freedom Network, a pressure group in Delta State, condemned a member of the House of Representatives, Aishatu Dukku, who was quoted as saying Fulani herdsmen were created to value the lives of their cattle more than human life, describing the lawmaker’s position as “an insult to the human race”.
The group spoke through it’s spokesman, Comrade Victor Adaka.