Bishops of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) have flayed plans by the Federal Government to create colonies for herdsmen’s cattle, saying such move using “taxpayers’ money” would amount to “grave injustice and corruption of the highest order.”
This formed part of the welcome address on behalf of the bishops, by the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria, The Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, at the Standing Committee meeting of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), at the Cathedral Church of St. Barnabas, Sabo-Oke, Diocese of Kwara, Ilorin, Kwara State, with the theme: The Poverty of Riches.
Expressing their disapproval of the establishment of cattle colonies across the country, as earlier proposed by the government, they noted that “the move treats a set of people with unwarranted special preference, making them indigenes of all regions of the country. More so, they 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. In some parts of Nigeria, people are already grappling with high population growth and land does not expand. Nobody’s land should, therefore, be taken forcefully or be given to another person under any guise. It will be grave injustice and corruption of the highest order to spend tax payers’ money on the private business of a set of people.”
The address, which also focused on the 2019 elections, called on politicians to work harder to deliver on campaign promises, stating “Nigerians are still yearning for the dividends of democracy, not another round of empty promises. We wish to urge the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to work harder to make registration of voters as smooth as possible. It is not expected that the challenges faced in registration in 2015 should still be there since INEC has had a long space of time to improve on their work.
“Whatever will disenfranchise any Nigerian should not come from INEC and should be avoided by all. We also urge all eligible citizens to get registered ahead of the general election. Your vote is your power and your vote will count.”
Speaking on what they described as the seeming “indifference” of the Federal Government towards the killings by herdsmen in various parts of the country, they called for more proactive efforts to address the issue.
“The standing committee wishes to reiterate the call of our bishops at their last retreat and call on the president to take decisive, swift and pragmatic steps toward stopping the killing permanently. In addition, government must disarm these murderous herdsmen. It should, therefore, not be allowed to degenerate any further in the interest of all,” they stated.
They also called for urgent efforts to tackle fuel scarcity, as well as an upward review of the current minimum wage, which they said, was not realistic compared to current realities.
Encouraging Nigerians not to cease in fervent prayers for the country, they urged “security agencies to double their efforts in the fight against everything constituting a threat to the peace of the nation.
In his address, Provincial Archbishop and Bishop of Kwara, Most Reverend Dr Olusegun Adeyemi, highlighted the significance of the Standing Committee meeting.
He called on Christians, who had become distracted by worldly things, to retrace their steps and embrace God, stating that “when insight is lost, priorities become lopsided; when insight is lost, decisions become ungodly.”
Deputy Chief of Staff/Special Adviser, Administration and Finance to the Senate President, Honourable Gbenga Makanjuola, who represented Senate President Bukola Saraki, urged the church to refocus efforts on seeking divine intervention for Nigeria’s unity, and those in positions of authority.
The meeting was attended by all the archbishops, bishops of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), traditional rulers, mothers’ union/women’s guild/girls’ guild, among others.
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