By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – THE Presidency on Thursday said it welcomes the Reverend Philip Mounstephen, Bishop of Truro’s recent report to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the UK’s new focus on herder-farmer clashes.
Recall that on December 26, 2018, the U.K. Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, announced that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) had commissioned an independent review into the persecution of Christians around the world.
The review was a direct response to reports that Christian minorities around the world were among the most persecuted religious groups. It was alleged that the FCO’s response to the issue was inadequate. That it demonstrated “religious blindness.”
The review was headed by Reverend Mounstephen, the Bishop of Truro.
In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu in Abuja, President Buhari said engagement with various stakeholders was key to breeding the dialogue and trust to resolve the age-old conflict.
The statement noted that as the report sets out, there are many causes to this conflict, from competition over land to climate change. The National Livestock Transformation Plan sets out to deal with these by preventing open grazing of cattle and consequently the destruction of crops.
Enclosed ranching is a core component of the programme. For farmers, this guarantees their yield and livelihoods. For herders, all livestock produce more meat and milk in a ranch rather than being always on the move.
These plans do not come at one or another’s expense. Instead, they shall make both farmers and herders richer. We must learn to live together because there isn’t another way. Our diversity should never be a cause for conflict, but a source of strength from which the nation can draw.
The report also highlighted the threat from Boko Haram in their mission to establish an “Islamic state” in place of the secular state. Where the group once administered territory, they now hold on to none. In those fringe areas and spaces where they still pose a threat, they are being chased, their bases smashed. In this second term, we shall focus on extinguishing the final remnants of the group.
As President Buhari reasserted at Easter: “[I will] do all it takes to… confront these security challenges [and] not allow merchants of death and evil to overwhelm the nation.”