AFRICA/NIGERIA - Justice and Peace: "No to the law that permits open grazing"

Wednesday, 26 July 2017 armed groups   violence  

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "The recent activities of herdsmen in our country causing violence and destruction of farm lands and properties have become an issue that we must not neglect, especially in the Middle Belt", says a statement of the Episcopal Justice and Peace Commission of the Ecclesiastical Province of Benin, in southern Nigeria, sent to Agenzia Fides.
The Catholic Church (see Fides 9/9/2016 and 11/1/2017) has been denouncing the violence and damage caused by the Fulani herdsmen for a long time, who in their migrations from north to south invade farmlands. An ancient conflict but likely to assume a religious connotation, given that the Fulani (or Peuls as they are known in neighboring Countries) are Muslims and farmers, are generally Christians.
Justice and Peace are aware and concerned of the recent Law on “Open Grazing Reserve” by the Federal Government, but believe that "individual States should have the prerogative to prohibit open grazing most especially in the southern states of the federation where grazing is not the usual business of the day".
"We therefore recommend all the states in Southern Nigeria to enact an Open Grazing Prohibition Establishment Law ", continues the document. "We strongly condemn the violent killings and attacks of these herdsmen on people and farmlands and call on the Federal Government to address the issue accordingly and arrest perpetrators as deterrent measures".
Justice and Peace says it is worried about "the rising trend of human trafficking" and calls for exemplary sentences for those who carry out "this dehumanizing trade" so as to serve as a deterrent to other traffickers or would be traffickers. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 26/7/2017)