By Chioma Ndife
The auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Awka, His Lordship, Most Rev. Jonas Benson Okoye has said that the herdsmen-farmers clash across various parts of the nation, Amajiris and terrorism pose greatest threat to Nigeria unity.
Bishop Okoye made the statement at his office in Awka, on Friday, 12th June, while expressing his views on how Nigeria as a nation can sustain her hard earn democracy existent in the country for the past 21 years, during the Nigeria Democracy Day.
The Catholic prelate who expressed total distrust in Buhari Government said the Northerners who have held leadership position in the Nation for a reasonably number of years should be truthful to themselves and come up with modalities of handling the issues. He noted that the issues merging from the Amajiris, herdsmen and terrorism were all created by the northerners.
‘The northerners should be truthful to themselves. In the North-North, North-East, North-Central, the issue of the Amajiris in this areas, is becoming a thorn in the flesh. I listened to the governor of Plateau State recently, he was lamenting. So they had to take decision about the Amajiri and other associated issues. I must say that the Amajiris will not come to an end, unless the northerners become sincere to themselves.
‘The former Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi perhaps was removed because he started telling his people the truth. It is irresponsibility for one to give birth to children and leave them to carter for themselves without training. When children are left without training, such a person has succeeded in producing dynamites and they are beginning to deteriorate in our country Nigeria.
He regretted that the leadership of the country has not come up with law on anti-opening grazing despite the loss of life and property which has been recorded in the nation sequel to the activities of the herdsmen and resultant clash with the framers. He noted that the deaf ear which Nigeria leadership has paid to farmers’ plight and failure to enact laws on anti-open grazing, gave impetus to the herdsmen for a continuous perpetration of their evil deeds.
He wondered how the recent call and investment on subsistence farming and commercial agriculture would yield the needed result and boost food production in the nation when farmers are killed and women raped on daily basis in their farm lands.
He beckoned on legislative arm of government to come up with laws that will protect farmers and their source of livelihood. He said it was necessary for House of Assembly members in various states to come with laws for their state, noting that such step will hasten the move at the federal level.
‘I never believed in Buhari’s government unless he does something with the cattle ranching and it is also inhuman to allow the Fulanis to be moving about in the bush/farms. They are human beings, let them domesticate their cows and unless our government make laws, the various House of Assemblies should insist that there should be cattle ranching law.
‘You see women raped in the bush, Anambra State Government and the whole nation are talking about subsistence farming. People will labour and cattle will come and destroy it overnight. So what’s the point?’ he wondered.
He charged Nigerians to deepen their engagement and believe in Nigeria for preservation of Nations democracy while maintaining that democracy has come to stay in Nigeria.
Bishop Okoye admitted the weakness in Nigeria political system and stated that the democratic experiment in Nigeria has not been prefect but was a thing to thank God for, as there were aspects that should be celebrated.
‘Today is another opportunity for us as a nation to celebrate our democratic journey. It is greatly important that we take a moment and ponder on our recent past, evaluate the present and strategize on the future of our country,’ he noted.
He commended the Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, for the democratic dividend which the state has been enjoying and cordial relationship which exists among the three tier of government, saying such should not be abused.
The auxiliary bishop congratulated the Anambra State 7th Assembly on their first anniversary in the house, saying that their first anniversary was fruitful sequel to the laws which they enacted for the good of Ndi Anambria.
He however urged the house members to work in synergy with the executive arm of government; to be fugal in making demands of what should accrue to them; have concern for those who they represent and make themselves available in their various constituencies.