The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has risen against the clamour for the establishment of grazing reserves for herdsmen in all parts of the country, warning that its implementation portends “very grave danger to our national peace and security”.
The association also called on state governments and concerned authorities plotting to stop prayers and assembly devotion in public schools to rescind the decision because the “new trend is evil and must not prevail”.
“The idea of acquiring parcels of land in the 36 states of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory for the sole purpose of providing grazing area for the nomads and their herds of cattle should be dropped in the overall interest of national security”, CAN warned.
The General Secretary of CAN, Dr. Musa Asake, who read a communiqué issued after the body’s National Executive Council meeting in Abuja on Sunday, said the fear of bomb attacks or any such danger being given by some state authorities as the reason for school children not to gather to pray and learn was grossly misplaced and untenable.
Asake said, “CAN has received with great concern the news that some state governments have either banned assembly devotion in our primary and secondary schools or are contemplating doing so. This new trend is evil and must not prevail.
“While the society is working hard to inculcate good moral values in our children through assembly devotion in our schools so that they can grow up to be good citizens, government policies like this will certainly draw the society several years back in moral decadence.
“The fear of bomb attack or any such danger being given by some state authorities as the reason for school children not to gather in prayer and learning is grossly misplaced and untenable. It is our candid opinion that government should provide adequate security where there are concerns of this nature”.
The association, however, lauded the Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade, “for reversing a wrong directive of an ambitious permanent secretary on this matter and advised other state governments involved in this ungodly directive to take a cue”.
According to the umbrella organisation of Christians in the country, the implementation of the ongoing national discussion over the establishment of grazing reserves for Fulani herdsmen in all parts of the country would portend very grave danger to national peace and security if allowed to stand.
The communique argued that it had become a common knowledge that Fulani herdsmen, under the guise of cattle grazing, had caused fatal incidents in many parts of Nigeria.
He said, “They have been associated with violent deaths, lethal injuries, kidnap cases, rape cases and destruction of properties and food crops in their host communities. They have transformed from herdsmen to mercenaries and armed bandits. They have converted the farmlands of their host communities into slaughter farms. This is unacceptable and should be a cause of great concern to the Federal Government and well-meaning Nigerians.
“As a way forward, we suggest that the Federal Government should encourage the state governments where these herdsmen are predominant to establish modern ranches for them, rather than allowing them to cause problem in other parts of the country.
“Establishing modern ranches for nomads is a worldwide standard best practice and this will be of immense benefit to the herdsmen and their families. The ranches will have schools, hospitals and other social amenities. The meat and other products from these ranches will be exported to other parts of the country, thus creating lucrative business and employment for the citizenry”.