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Catholic Bishops mobilise against grazing bill

Catholic Bishops in Enugu have advised the Federal Government not to continue with the idea of passing the grazing bill so as to forestall ethnic clashes and crises in the country.

The Bishops gave the advice on Saturday after the 20-km peaceful procession of more than 7,000 catholic faithful in Enugu.

Speaking on the resolution, the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Most Rev. Callistus Onaga, said Nigerians were already suffering much on account of the present economic hardship and free grazing in communities in the South would further compound it.

Onaga, while speaking on behalf of the Bishops in Nsukka and Awgu Dioceses, said the grazing would amount to government abdicating its responsibility of providing security for the people.

“As responsible citizens, clergymen, spiritual leaders and opinion leaders, we have been praying about and deliberating on these mounting challenges.

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“At the end of a long prayer session with the members of our flock and after careful consultations with thoughtful men and women across the state, we have come to the following conclusions: “That 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,’’ he said.

The bishops also called on community leaders to refrain from entering into agreements with herdsmen or with any other groups of persons that would create room for tension and crisis..

“Finally, may we all intensify our prayers for peace, unity and harmony in Nigeria, while resolving to collaborate with God’s grace in making it a great country,’’ he added.

Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, commended the Church for the peaceful procession as well as organising its faithful in an orderly manner, assuring them that he would deliver their message to President Muhammadu Buhari.

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