Following fears of a total breakdown of law and order within the Niger Delta, and the renewed hostilities in the region, the Diocese of Abuja of the Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion), has said that the renewed pipeline vandalism threatens the peace Nigeria as a united country.
It therefore urged those behind the bombing of oil installations in the region to desist from the act.
Vanguard reports that the Church called on the Niger Delta Avengers to cease hostility against the government while embracing dialogue, noting that Nigeria, currently engaged in many battles cannot afford to start another one with militants in the Niger Delta.
The Primate Of The Church Of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, Most Rev Nicholas D Okoh, made this remark in his Presidential Address to the 3rd Session of the 9th Synod of Abuja Diocese, held at All Saints Church, Wuse.
While urging the Federal Government to also tread cautiously in its attempts to resolve the growing crises in the Niger Delta, the Church called on it to seek collaboration with the host communities in its efforts to secure all pipelines.
Okoh also urged the Federal Government to open the space for immediate revival of the dwindling Nigerian economy by creating investment friendly atmosphere for more foreign investors to henceforth, take Nigeria as a preferred destination.
He lauded the efforts by President Muhammadu Buhari towards diversifying the Nigerian economy, urging his government to initiate more cutting-edge approaches aimed towards a meaningful engagement of foreign investors for revival of the economy of the country.
The clergyman based his talk on the theme of the this year’s Synod, “The Poverty of Riches”, taken from the book of Revelation, 3 vs17, stating that notwithstanding the prosperity that a country enjoys, it may suffer spiritual poverty and then end up being poor (on the real in all ramifications) if the leaders and the led are careless and Godless.
He said: “Creating an investment friendly environment in the country will more pragmatically give us what we need. Factors that investors will need to thrive, especially security, power and other amenities should be made available, while investors would be naturally attracted.”
The Primate said the Federal Government and Nigerians in general should collectively find lasting solutions to the problem of insurgency, killings by herdsmen, fuel scarcity, pipeline vandalism and wide spread corruption, all he noted, are factors that often inhibit the growth of economy, and the nation in general.
On the menace of herdsmen across the federation, the Primate said: “The Federal Government should make a policy to deliberately disarm the herdsmen as a means of preventing the springing up of ethnic militias in all the regions of the federation in attempts to resist the rampage by herdsmen.”
He advised the government against the plan to set up grazing reserves for herdsmen across the country, stating that the Synod was of the view that such reserves should be built in regions where the Fulanis are more familiar.
“The herdsmen are private businessmen who take away all proceeds of the business, not sharing with either their host communities or the government. We wish to re-echo to the government, state and individuals involved, the recommendation made earlier, that ranches should be built in Fulani localities for modern animal husbandry,” he said.
“In some parts of Nigeria, people are already grappling with high population growth and land does not expand. Nobody’s land should, therefore, be given forcefully to anybody in any guise.
“The Synod calls on the National Assembly to drop the plan to propose a bill on grazing reserve as the issue has started heating up the polity whereas such will not do the herdsmen any good,” the cleric noted.
Primate Okoh also commended the anti-corruption war by the President and its efforts to block all leakages in the country’s revenue. He described the war against corruption as a noble cause, adding, “The Synod wishes to urge the government to ensure that its scope is widespread across all the tiers and arms of government at the Federal, State and Local Government areas in Nigeria”
He urged the government not to renege on its promise to give the youths of Nigeria a ray of hope by providing employment opportunities in order for them to start making meaningful contributions to the growth of the national economy.
Meanwhile, the coalition of northern groups under the auspices of Northern Consensus Movement has sent a strong message to the President Buhari-led federal government to give the same fierce treatment given to Boko Haram to separatist groups and militants.
The Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) has been at the forefront of the agitation for an independent Biafra state with some of their confrontation leading to violence.
The Niger Delta Avengers has claimed responsibility for the bombing of gas and oil pipelines in the Niger Delta region as a way to force the government to respond to their agitations.