Northern Catholic Bishops under the auspices of Kaduna Ecclesiastical Province said they are strongly against establishment of grazing reserves for pastoralists in Nigeria, saying that, government must arrest drift of herdsmen and their animals.
The Bishops of Kaduna Catholic Archdiocese, Sokoto, Mina, Kano, Kafanchan, Zaria and Kotongora Vicariate who gathered in Kaduna on Tuesday to address a press conference said, government should rather create ranches, instead of the proposed grazing reserves.
Speaking on behalf of the Catholic Bishops, the Archbishop of Kaduna and Metropolitan Kaduna Ecclesiastical Province, Most Reverend Matthew Man-oso Ndagoso said, Nigeria must abandon the old practice of herdsmen moving in droves across the country, especially given the violence it has unleashed on Nigerians.
“As Pastors, it is part of our duty to call public attention to the dangers of irresponsible exploitation of our common home, the planet. In this vein, we strongly propose, for example that, going forward, we must note that the debate about herdsmen and pastoralists is a debate about the future of our human survival, environment and our country.
“We must abandon the old practice of herdsmen moving in droves across the country, especially given the violence it has unleashed on our people.
“Today, the entire communities have been destroyed and the anger in the land is palpable. We are convinced that the only way forward is for the government to arrest this drift of herdsmen and their animals by exploring the option of creating ranches instead of grazing reserves,” he said.
The Bishops stressed further that creation of ranches instead of grazing reserves will make both economic and humane sense for both Nigeria and its people.
“We need to extend the values of the gospel of mercy to the earth itself. Here, it is necessary that we look back, reflect on the mistakes we have made and how inadvertently cruel we have been to the environment.
“Here, while confessing our sins against the environment, we need to show remorse for example, by planting trees and consciously take steps to embrace the environment as our mother”.