Methodist Church Nigeria Bishop, Diocese of Onitsha, Rt Rev Livinus Onuagha, has called on the States in the South East and South South to flush out all illegal occupants of the zones’ farmlands and forests with immediate effect as he described Nigeria as a failed State.
This was contained in Bishop Onuagha’s message to mark nineteenth annual diocesan synod of the church, 2021. In the synod which had its theme as Watch and Pray, the Bishop said a census of the locations of the herdsmen should be taken as soon as possible, adding that proactive measures had to be adopted “to control their spread.”
He told traditional rulers to remember their allegiance to the protection of lives and property of the people in their communities. The Bishop, however, regretted that many of the traditional rulers had sold their lands and people “for a morsel of bread.”
“As a matter of fact, cow markets should be located at the boundaries between States. All lands leased to the herdsmen should be properly documented and should not be more than ten years. This implies that it shall be renewable depending on the performance of the first lease, ” he said.
The Bishop commended the South East Governors on their move to have a regional security outfit code-named Ebube Agu “even though this is after a long period of dilly-dallying coupled with the quests for selfish and devilish political correctness being played at the expense of the sacred lives of people of the zone.”
He said his sadness was that the political rulers had not been “clinical” in their handling with many social problems especially “the murderous herdsmen.” He asked whether the Governors were truly sincere about the establishment of Ebube Agu. He noted that it was not yet over until the implementation of the security project.
The Bishop blamed the heat of agitations and killings ravaging Nigeria on bad leadership. He said the number of internally displaced persons was increasing on hourly basis who he said were being tacitly abandoned by the government “that had woefully failed to fulfil its primary responsibilities.”
On a president of Igbo extraction, the cleric said this should not have been a controversial issue, if there was any element of sincerity, equity, justice and fairness in Nigeria. He said he heard from many benefactors of political equity that political powers were not donated but contested.
He held the opinion that equity and justice demanded that the space or platforms should be opened for all and sundry. He added that Ndigbo should learn to put their house in order “because definitely there is somebody somewhere who will go for us.”
In his cursory look at individual States in the South East, the Bishop commended Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State for giving Anambra a cargo and passenger international airport describing it as the first of its kind in Africa and other landmark achievements of the Governor.
For Ebonyi State, he said Governor David Umahi was initially focused “but recently seemed to be behaving like King Uzziah in the Bible.” He noted that the Governor arrogated certain issues to himself when he saw that he was performing optimally.
“Imagine that in just one day, the Fulani herdsmen massacred over twenty two people including a Methodist priest. He has been the Chairman of Governors’ Forum in the South East; yet, Governor Umahi could not read in between the lines. Today, almost the whole of South East is occupied by Fulani herdsmen, ” the Bishop alleged.
He described the government in Imo State as the worst thing that could happen to any human society in a democratic dispensation. He said that what happened in Imo State could not happen in any core Northern State.
He expressed doubt whether the Governor of the State actually invited the military to kill his own people. The Bishop said it appeared to him that when the military invitation failed, that another powerful script in the alternative was acted.
The Bishop said: “Yes, when the Nigeria Correctional facility and the police headquarters in Owerri were destroyed, the former Inspector General of Police accused the IPOB, and the Governor countered him by saying that some politicians did it to bring down his administration.
“I want to believe that this was not acted out just to blacklist the Igbo nation as a race marked for annihilation. Hope they are not planning to exterminate a nation of more than fifty million people in a period. How do you think it can be possible when God did not sanction it? It cannot happen!”
For Abia State, he said the State was always rated last in everything. He noted that the people of Abia were so unlucky that many a times the Government of the State often turned them into objects of ridicule in the comity if other States.
He, however, expressed satisfaction at the politics in Enugu State which he described as a leading example of what a development-oriented government should be. He noted that the rotation of Governor from one senatorial zone to another had ensured inclusiveness, peace and had brought about landmark developments in the State. He described Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as a grassroots Governor.