‘’Turn Sambisa and Other Forests to Grazing Reserves,’’ Bishop tells FG

The Bishop, Nnewi Diocese, Province of the Niger, Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev. Dr. Ndubuisi Obi, has proffered solutions to the insecurity situation in the North. He stated that Sambisa forest and other forests which have been a dwelling place for bandits in the north should be used as grazing reserves. That is if the Nigerian government is interested in curbing the rate of insecurity in the country.

Obi made this call on Saturday ahead of the three-day 9th session of the Synod which begins on September 2 at St James Ichi, Ekwusigo Local Council of Anambra State. The theme for the event is ‘’Created for Dominion.’’ About 600 delegates from 137 churches are expected to participate in the event. 

While speaking with The Guardian, the cleric expressed surprise that the government is yet to make a decision on turning the forests into grazing reserves. Consequently, he said it will help to reduce the rate of kidnappings, banditry, and farmer-herder conflicts.

He also urged the government to be more considerate and deliberate in its efforts to put an end to insurgency in the country. Obi added that since the government can build rail line from Nigeria to Niger, it can equally take water from available rivers to irrigate and fertilize the vast lands in Sambisa and other forests.

The cleric noted that the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to restore contentious grazing routes was ill timed. This was considering the fact that most members of the House of Representatives stood against it.

Obi advised the Federal Government to make funds available to buy lands and cultivate grasses to feed the cattle. Besides, he condemned the murder of suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Eastern Security Network (ESN) in Imo State and other parts of the Southeast. Meanwhile, the government has not focused on the spate of killings and destruction of properties in some northern parts of the country.

Responses to the statement of the Bishop
Moses Ewa said, ‘’That is just the bitter truth. The Northern states have more than enough forest which are standing as hiding places for bandits and those areas can comfortably accommodate the cattle in Nigeria without issues. Unfortunately, the government of the day is not serious or not ready to end insecurity for reasons best known to them.’’

Rodiya Adewale commented, ‘’Those with religious mindset and tribal sentiment will misinterpret this good advice given to the government. Butthose with a patriotic mind and Democrat in reasoning will appreciate this wonderful advice. I wish the government will accept this and implement it. Thank you Bishop!’’

Ibrahim Ahmd Gangai noted, ‘’I agree with the idea. My hope and prayer is for our politicians to reason with him. This is because the amount of money to be used will definitely create division when it comes to implementation.’’

Adekunle Amyzel commented, ‘’It’s true if they can make a productive use of such vast land instead of being haven of criminals. Buy tractors and roll it to that bush and turn it into something great for the benefit of all. But good ideas is rubbish in Nigeria because of selfish political gain.’’

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