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Archbishop Onaiyekan

Archbishop of Abuja calls Fulani herdsmen’s grazing practices unsustainable

The Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, has said that the “culture of moving around animals is not sustainable”.

Onaiyekan was speaking at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral Garki, Abuja for the first thanksgiving mass by the Anambra State Towns (People) Association (ASTPA) today. The service was attended by Governors Willie Obiano of Anambra State, Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, Simon Lalong of Plateau state and others including David Mark, the former Senate President and Ogbonnaya Onu, the Minister for Science and Technology.

Governor Obiano, with Ogbonnaya Onu, David Mark and others in church today

Most of the VIPs present come from states that have been affected by serious violence in the past few months from Fulani herdsmen intent on continuing their ancient practices of wandering in search of grazing land for their cattle. This usually results in conflict with farmers in rural areas when the cattle destroy the farmers’ crops. Herdsmen-related violence has resulted in thousands of deaths in the past year.

Onaiyekan lamented the fact that many Nigerian rural-dwellers couldn’t return to their homelands due to the violence with herdsmen. His comments on herding cattle by foot across the country echoes the views of in response to the rights of those herdsmen to freedom of movement as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution. Our position remains that those ancient practices should be outlawed as they represent a public safety risk.

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