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Coalition of Middle Belt churches, Kogi East reject cattle colonies


• Community leader warns Bello against accepting proposal
A coalition of 15 churches in the Middle Belt has rejected the proposed cattle colonies in the country.

The coalition, under the aegis of the Tarayyan Ekklisiyoyin Kristi A Nigeriya (TEKAN), disclosed this at the end of its 2018 General Assembly in Akwanga.

Its President, Rev. Caleb Solomon Ahima, and General Secretary, Rev. Moses Jatau Ebuga issued the communiqué in Jos, Plateau State.

They described cattle colonies as an attempt to re-introduce the grazing routes policy through the back door.

The group said their churches have over 30 million members across the different denominations in the country.

The statement added that TEKAN, which has been in existence for over 63 years, has a strong base in the Middle Belt region, with members cutting across the 19 northern states.

“The General Assembly of TEKAN rejects any attempt by the Federal Government, under President Muhammadu Buhari, to annex any land in the Middle Belt, and other parts of Nigeria for his kinsmen for their private businesses in the name of cattle colony,” the statement said.

The churches urged the National Assembly to regularly consult with their constituencies and ensure that they live up to their expectations.

“Besides the offensive name, which suggests surreptitious plans to colonise parts of Nigeria could not be conquered during the Uthman Dan Fodio Jihad, the thought of collecting by whatever name and means, our ancestral land for cattle rearing business, is the worst form of humiliation to the Christians and other communities,” the statement added.

It expressed dismay over the inability of the Federal Government to tackle the killings and destruction of property in the country.

The coalition urged the president to uphold the sanctity of human lives and keep to the terms of his oath of office, and the provisions of the constitution to defend and protect the lives of every citizen.

The assembly condemned the existing situation where the heads of all the security agencies are from the same region of the country.

TEKAN noted that the ethnically skewed appointments are responsible for the increasing level of Fulani herdsmen and the terrorism in the country.

It called for a deliberate balancing of those lopsided appointments, and demanded the immediate arrest and prosecution of some known prominent Islamic leaders and leaders of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore.

The group urged Buhari to immediately “remove the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Interior, General Abdulrahman Danbazzau, and the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, if any level of peace must be attained.”

Also, the Igala-speaking parts of Kogi State have petitioned Buhari, rejecting cattle colonies in Kogi East.

The Kogi East covers Ankpa, Bassa, Dekina, Ibaji, Idah, Igalamela/Odolu, Ofu, Olamaboro and Omala local government councils.

The Guardian yesterday obtained a copy of the petition; issued by the President of the Igala Project, Atayi Babs, and the Secretary General, Musa Haruna, in Lokoja.

“We reject attempts to turn Igala land into the next killing field of marauding Fulani herdsmen,” they said.

Meanwhile, a community leader in Kogi State, Alhassan Ejike, has cautioned Governor Yahaya Bello, against accepting the cattle colony proposal.

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