- RCCG: Creating grazing zones in states, catalyst for more conflicts
By Gboyega Akinsanmi
The Diocese of Abuja of the Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion) has noted that the renewed pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta was not in the best interest of Nigeria.
It therefore urged those behind the bombing of oil installations in the region to desist from the act forthwith.
The church called on the Niger Delta Avengers to cease hostility against the government while embracing dialogue, noting that Nigeria, which is currently engaged with too many battles cannot afford to start another one with militants in the oil producing areas of the federation.
The Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, Most Rev Nicholas D. Okoh, made the remarke in his presidential address to the third session of the ninth Synod of Abuja Diocese, held at All Saints Church, Wuse.
While urging the federal government to also tread cautiously in its attempts to resolve the growing crises in the Niger Delta, the church called on it to seek collaboration with the host communities in its efforts to secure all pipelines.
He also urged the federal government to open the space for immediate revival of the dwindling Nigerian economy by creating investment friendly atmosphere for more foreign investors to henceforth, take Nigeria as a preferred destination.
He lauded the efforts by President Buhari towards diversifying the Nigerian economy, urging his government to initiate more cutting-edge approaches aimed towards a meaningful engagement of foreign investors for revival of the economy of the country.
He based his talk on the theme of the this year’s Synod, “The Poverty of Riches”, taken from the book of Revelation, 3 vs17, stating that notwithstanding the prosperity that a country enjoys, it may suffer spiritual poverty and then end up being poor (on the real in all ramifications) if the leaders and the led are careless and Godless.
He said: “Creating an investment friendly environment in the country will more pragmatically give us what we need. Factors that investors will need to thrive, especially security, power and other amenities should be made available, while investors would be naturally attracted.”
The Primate said the federal government and Nigerians in general should collectively find lasting solutions to the problem of insurgency, killings by herdsmen, fuel scarcity, pipeline vandalism and wide spread corruption, all he noted, are factors that often inhibit the growth of economy, and the nation in general.
On the menace of herdsmen across the federation, the primate said: “The federal government should make a policy to deliberately disarm the herdsmen” as a means of preventing the springing up of ethnic militias in all the regions of the federation in attempts to resist the rampage by herdsmen.”
“The synod calls on the National Assembly to drop the plan to propose a bill on grazing reserve as the issue has started heating up the polity whereas such will not do the herdsmen any good.”
Also, amid the rising spate of herdsmen’s attacks on farmers across the country, the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) at the weekend rejected a bill seeking to create grazing zones in all states of the federation, noting that the initiative would cause more conflicts.
The Chairman of National Council of Elders, Pastor. Israel Abatan, made the call yesterday at a news conference he addressed along with Media/Publicity Secretary, Pastor Ayodeji Olulani and Vice Chairman of the council, Pastor Obadiah Mulero and member RCCG Board of Trustee, Kayode Ajayi, among others.
Abatan, who addressed the conference on the church’s 15th National Elders’ Congress and Praise Nights in Lagos, noted that Nigeria would change very soon, urging the countrymen to endure the difficult time.
He disclosed that if allowed to sail through, the grazing bill would not end herdsmen-farmers conflict in the country, noting that it was not proper for the federal government to finance the creation of grazing zone for herdsmen.
He added that the grazing zones bill “has a lot of conflict content. The federal government and National Assembly should be very careful because the creation of grazing zones in all states of the federation can cause another conflict and violence in the country.”
He said it was the time the federal government should stop the raging conflict on the grazing zones, thereby proposing the establishment of ranches, which he said, was the modern method of rearing cattle and goats.
Also speaking at the conference, Olulani acknowledged that there was drought in the North, which according to him, was the major reason compelling herdsmen “to migrate their cattle to the South for grazing. We should all have ranches in the country rather than insist on creating grazing zone.”
The publicity secretary explained that herdsmen “are performing their economic activities. But they migrate their cattle to some people’s farmlands and eat up their economic crops. Every Nigerian has the right to do business. Where herdsmen’s rights stops is where another man’s rights begin.
“This often causes conflict and violence. But we must know that it is improper to migrate animals into other people’s farmland. In the UK and China, for instance, only 3 percent of their cattle are migrated from settlement to settlement. Animals are raised basically in ranches,” Olulani noted.
He warned the federal government against building a culture of conflict and violence, noting that it was not ideal for the governments to create grazing zones because cattle-rearing was purely private business.
On the industrial action, the publicity secretary said it was improper to embark upon national strike at this trying time, noting that Nigerians did not want to bear additional burden due to economic challenges.
According to him, when we want to change, things often get worse before they get better. We appeal the organised labour to reconsider its decision to call national strike. It is improper to bring more hardship upon Nigerians.