By Gboyega Akinsanmi
Amid the rising spate of herdsmen’s attacks on farmers across the country, the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) has 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 said this at a news conference he addressed alongside the council’s Vice Chairman, Pastor Obadiah Mulero, Publicity Secretary, Pastor Ayodeji Olulani and a member RCCG Board of Trustees, Elder Kayode Ajayi among others.
Abatan spoke on the church’s 15th National Elders’ Congress and Praise Nights that started at the Redemption Camp yesterday, noting that Nigeria “will change very soon, but we need to endure the difficult time.”
He said if allowed to sail through, the grazing bill would not end herdsmen-farmers conflict in the country while 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 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.”
He 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 stop 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 three per cent 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.