Anglican Church rejects grazing reserves across Nigeria, warns of ‘civil war’

The Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, has warned the Federal Government to avoid what it described as a possible second civil war, by dismissing the plan to create grazing reserves for Fulani Herdsmen across the country.

The warning was given by the Primate of the Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, while delivering a keynote address, with the theme: “The poverty of riches”, during the third session of the 9th synod of Anglican Bishops in Nigeria, Friday.

According to the church, the intended approach would mean an “unwarranted special preference”, which could only spell evil in time to come.

The church said the plan by the government may be misconceived as making Fulani Herdsmen indigenes of every part of the country.

He said that herdsmen have a notorious history of attacking their host communities, a development he said could escalate if they are allowed to graze in states across the federation.

“The synod hereby states unequivocally that the move to create grazing reserves for Fulani herdsmen around the country does not have our support. This is because the move threatens to accord a set of people with unwarranted special preference, making them indigenes of all regions of the country,” the church said.

“There have been countless isolated cases of herdsmen brutality to their host communities. These notorious activities of herdsmen are capable of dragging the country into another civil war. The Fulani herdsmen are private businessmen who take away all proceeds of the business, not sharing with either their host communities or the government.

“We wish to re-echo to the Federal Government, states and individuals involved, the recommendation already made earlier, that ranches should be built in their own localities for modern animal husbandry,” Mr. Okoh stated.

He therefore called on the government to prevent an attempt to further stretch most states already battling with over population.

“In some parts of Nigeria, people are already grappling with high population growth and land does not expand.

“The synod calls on the National Assembly to drop the bill on grazing reserves as it is only heating up the polity and will do no good to the herdsmen, their host communities or the government,” the church said.

He commended the efforts of government towards attracting foreign investors, but added that an investment-friendly environment remains a major prerequisite for achieving one of Nigeria’s greatest economic goals of today.

“Factors that investors will need to thrive, are mostly security and power among others,” the church stated.


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