Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) thursday in Enugu asked the 36 states Houses of Assembly to initiate strong and effective legislation against roaming of livestocks and open grazing to forestall the continuous killings by suspected herdsmen in various part of the country.
The CAN President, Dr. Sampson Olasupo Ayokunle made this call when he led other officials to donate relief materials including bags of rice and beans as well as cheque of undisclosed amounts to victims of suspected herdsmen attack in the state.
Beneficiaries of the gesture included the 13 women whose husbands were killed during the herdsmen attack in April 2016 at Ukpabi Nimbo in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of the state.
Others are the leadership of Christ Holy Church of Nigeria and Catholic Church in Nimbo as well as the victims in Attakwu, Nkanu West Local Government Area of the state.
Ayokunle said the legislation should not be seen as hatred against a particular group or interest of anyone but should be for the respect â€œwe have for human soul and for us to do things henceforth more decently and in order as done in other parts of the world.
â€œWe are saying these things because of the value Christian Association of Nigeria attaches to the lives of human beings. Nobody should on the basis of any purported provocation destroy the lives of others. No Nigerian deserves to die pre-maturely especially when you are in your backyards and they come to the backyards and continue to kill them and that is a crime anywhere in the world.
â€œI believe that a strong legislation can prevent that, especially indiscriminate roaming and grazing everywhere in this country should stop henceforth. Nigeria has gone beyond that level; there are other countries of the world where livestockâ€™s keeping and animal rearing like, Austria and elsewhere in the West, they do not allow indiscriminate roaming of any herdsmen.
â€œTherefore in other to secure the lives of Nigerians against this monstrous act of herdsmen, a very effective legislation should be made to contain this. Let me say loud and clear that this type of legislation is not borne out of hate or interest of anyone but out of the respect we have for human soul and for us to do things henceforth more decently and in orderâ€ he said.
The CAN President who prayed for the victims said the gesture was part of the associationâ€™s social responsibility and religious obligation.
Addressing newsmen shortly after the visits to Nimbo and Atakwu communities, Rev. Ayokunle urged the state government to provide security especially in the night at Atakwu raising concern that since those Fulani herdsmen are still in their backyard, â€œovernight they can still come and finished the work which they started.â€
Mrs Cordelia Ugwuogbu, a widow who spoke on behalf of other beneficiaries thanked the leadership of CAN for their kindness.
Ugwuogbu said that though things had been difficult since they lost their husbands but they were consoled by the gesture shown to them