The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria has asked the Federal Government to focus on building cattle ranches in states where cattle rearing is prevalent.
A delegation of the CBCN, led by its president, Ignatius Kaigama, stated this during a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa in Abuja.
In an address, delivered by Mr. Kaigama, the Catholic Bishop of Jos Arch Diocese, the CBCN called on Mr. Buhari to investigate the recent attacks by herdsmen in Agatu, Benue State; Nimbo community in Umuchigbo, Enugu State, and parts of Delta as well as Nasarawa States, among others and declare the perpetrators of the attacks, insurgents.
“Cattle ranches should be created in states known for cattle breeding, with adequate water and fodder provided and nurtured.
“Farmland for root crops and other plants should be protected for their specific products in states known for such.
“This will reduce or eliminate clashes stemming from trespassing,” Mr. Kaigama said.
The CBCN leader charged the Federal Government to focus on disarming herdsmen, saying that the perpetrators of violence should not be allowed to force Nigerians to live in perpetual fear of their follow citizens.
“The fact that armed attacks and wanton killings have become a national threat, it should be declared an insurgency and treated as such, with the aim of dislodging the insurgents from occupied communities by the security and military operatives.
“Our people cannot continue to live in perpetual fear of attacks by fellow Nigerians with criminal intent,” the Bishop said.
The CBCN commended the president’s resolve to deal with the problem, and called for serious approach towards the proposed investigation.
“Happily, we understand that you have ordered some investigations into the Agatu and Nimbo killings.
“The Agatu killings, the Nimbo killings and many other killings in Benue, Taraba, Nassarawa, Ondo, Edo, Delta and elsewhere should be seriously investigated, with the perpetrators unmasked and decisively dealt with.
“For a more permanent peace between herdsmen and farmers in our country, some streamlining is necessary for the good of the cattle rearers in the North and for the welfare of farmers in the South and elsewhere in Nigeria,” Mr. Kaigama stated.
Mr. Kaigama also called on the president to continue the war against terror, as the law requires, and noted that the high rate of success in the battle against corruption is great relief for well meaning Nigerians.
“We commend your efforts in the fight against Boko Haram and against corruption. We encourage that justice be done according to the rule of law, with no sacred cows to be spared.
“These two monsters which you are tackling pretty well have threatened to destabilize Nigeria and to cripple our national growth and development. Although many people have been killed, many others rendered homeless and are without adequate means of livelihood, we commend you for being quite successful so far in repelling the insurgence from decimating Nigeria by halting its further advance,” the Bishops stated.
The Bishops also called on the Federal Government to increase support for missionary schools as a way of improving Nigeria’s educational sector.