Saturday, July 2

Herdsmen attack: Catholic church holds protest rally in Enugu, Nsukka, Awgu

Herdsmen attack: Catholic church holds protest rally in Enugu, Nsukka, Awgu

The three Roman Catholic Church Dioceses in Enugu State, Saturday, held protest rallies across the State over the menace of herdsmen.

The protest, which held simultaneously in Nsukka, Awgu and Enugu, attracted ‎thousands of the church members, including priests.

The report States that while the protesters moved round the streets in Nsukka and Awgu Dioceses, the story was different in Enugu where they held a prayer procession at the Holy Ghost Cathedral.

The earlier schedule obtained by our correspondent showed that members of the Enugu Catholic Diocese would march round the streets before terminating at the Government House, where they would make their grievances known to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.

However, the Church later received Governor Ug‎wuanyi, other members of the State Executive Council and Service Chiefs.

It was gathered that they were in the Church to forestall any breakdown of law and order.

Addressing the Church, the Governor commended it for the leading role it had continued to play in the struggle against social injustice, human rights violations and other crimes against humanity in every part of the country.

‎He described the attack on Nimbo community, where scores of people were killed as “a day that will ever remain dark, sad and solemn in the memory of the people of Enugu State and indeed Nigerians at large.”

“On the issues you have raised in this rally, I wish to state that I address you today not only as a Catholic but as your Governor and the Chief Security Officer of Enugu State. While taking my oath of office, I swore to do everything within my powers to preserve the security of lives and property of the people of Enugu State.

“You can therefore be assured that I will not fail in this responsibility and be further assured that whatever message you convey through me to the appropriate authorities at Abuaj, will be promptly delivered. Regarding the proposed grazing bill, I assure you that I will duly convey your decisions on the matter to the State’s representatives at the National Assembly”, he pledged.

Earlier in a joint press statement read by the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Rt. Rev. Callistus Onaga, on behalf of the Bishop of Awgu and Nsukka Dioceses, he said, “the free grazing of cattle in our area has now become a threat not only to the growing of crops, which is the mainstay of our sedentary people, but also to our lives.

“That the nomadic lifestyle makes policing and the pursuit of criminals much more complex and hazardous, while providing terrorists like Boko Haram operatives with ready cover for penetrating every nook and. Cranny of our country.”

Onaga, while calling on the government not to turn a blind eye to life-threatening problems of any section of the citizens, said, “In the light of this, therefore, we call on the Federal Government to drop, without further delay, the so-called ‘Grazing Bill’, which is quite capable of tearing apart the fragile unity of our country.

“We urge all our local community leaders to refrain from entering into agreements with herdsmen or with any other group of persons that would create room for tension and crisis.

“We would advise that all such agreements already in existence be renegotiated in a way that would ensure justice for all the parties”, the Bishop further stated.

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