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Clerics berate FG over ‘provocative’ initiative for herdsmen

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Hausa-Fulani pastoralists move while their cattle grazing near some farms in the outskirts of Sokoto, Sokoto State, Nigeria, on April 22, 2019. – Massive expansion of farming in Nigeria has cut access to grazing land for nomadic herders and fuelled persistent violence. (Photo by Luis TATO / AFP)

From Chris Irekamba (Lagos), Inemesit Akpan-Nsoh (Uyo), Joseph Wantu (Makurdi), Charles Ogugbuaja (Owerri) and Oludare Richards (Abuja)

Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Nicholas D. Okoh, has berated the Federal Government over the proposed initiative for herders.

He advised the government to gain the confidence of Nigerians rather than override their sentiments and impose a Ruga settlements policy on them, especially as the nation was experiencing high rate of insecurity.

He gave the advise yesterday at the Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, during the consecration of four Bishops-elect.

The Bishops-elect are, Olukayode Adenola Adebogun; Adedokun Adesoji Adewunmi; Martyn Chukwuma Anagbogu and Reverend Canon Augustine Aigbovbiose Unuigbe.

At the ceremony, two Archbishops, Most Reverend Daniel Yisa of the Lokoja Ecclesiastical Province and Most Reverend Emmanuel Chukwuma of the Enugu Ecclesiastical Province were also presented for a second term in office.

Besides, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Akwa Ibom State has urged Governor Udom Emmanuel to reject Federal Government’s proposed Ruga settlements for herders in the state.

State Chairman of CAN, Reverend Ndueso Ekwere, disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists yesterday in Uyo, the state capital.

Relatedly, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has said the suspension of Federal Government’s Ruga settlements policy is victory for Nigerians.

Ortom who made the declaration in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase stressing that the rejection of the policy by many states and organisations was not personal but a struggle against impunity and injustice.

While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for heeding Nigerians’ call to suspend of the policy, Ortom maintained that the decision shows that President Buhari has heard the voice of Nigerians on the matter.

Meanwhile, scores of Imo State residents yesterday rejoiced over the suspension of Ruga settlement policy by the presidency.

Responding earlier, Governor Emeka Ihedioha stressed that from the pulse of Imo people, the state government was never in support of Ruga settlement of Fulani cattle rearers.

This comes as the Incorporated Trustees of Malcolm Omirhobo Foundation yesterday sued the Federal Government over the Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) settlements schemes in 36 states of the country.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/761/2019 instituted by its board, the group urged the Federal High Court to void and annul the policy in the entire country.


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