Bishops of the Catholic Church in Enugu State have expressed concern over the ominous cloud of fear and insecurity in the state as a result of the growing culture of impunity of Fulani Cattles herdsmen and the nonchalant attitude of Government and the nation’s security agents towards the security of the indigenes of the state. They therefore advocated the scrapping of the proposed “Grazing Bill”.
The concern of the bishops was expressed in a joint press statement tilted: That There May Be Peace; issued recently, after an Inter-Diocesan Prayer Procession for Greater Security in the State in the Wake of Repeated Attacks by Herdsmen in Various Parts of the State; and signed by Bishop Godfrey Onah of Nsukka diocese, on behalf of himself, Bishops Callistus Onaga of Enugu Diocese and John Okoye of Awgu Diocese.
According to the bishops, the relationship between the indigenes and the accommodated Fulani herdsmen has become problematic within the last few years, as the “herdsmen turned aggressive, disrespectful and destructive in their activities.”
The bishops declared: “More recently, this gathering storm has led to conflicts characterized by kidnappings and robberies, the loss of lives, limbs and property, the rape of women and girls, and the utter destruction of farms and farmlands.”
The bishops therefore called for more proactive actions on the part of government and security agencies on the protection of the lives and properties of the people of the state. Their words: “In view of the aforementioned developments, we demand on behalf of our long-suffering people and all citizens of Nigeria that the various levels of Government in Nigeria take more proactive steps to ensure that this already tense situation does not degenerate into an open clash of ethnic nationalities all over the country.”
The bishops added: “Nigerians are already suffering much on account of the economic hardships in the Country at the moment. To add to this by abdicating its responsibility in the provision of security for the people would amount to insensitivity on the part of the Government. We equally believe it would be wrong for the Government to think that the patience of the people in these difficult times is unlimited.” They however called on the people of the state to continue to pray, exercise patience and perseverance, and be law abiding.