[ACNS, by Rachel Farmer] A group of Nigerian Anglican bishops, led by the Primate of Nigeria, the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh, discussed recent killings by herdsmen in the South East of the country and issues of security at a private meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, last week.
Following the meeting in Abuja, the Archbishop said, “We are here to offer our advice as church people from our own perspective to the president on the current national situation.” He said they were looking for solutions over the issue of clashes between farmers and herdsmen, vandalism and security.
In April the Anglican Archbishop of Enugu Province, the Most Revd Dr Emmanuel Chukwuma, called on the Nigerian Government to declare a state of emergency in the South-East over the growing number of deaths by alleged herdsmen, after 10 people in Uzo-Uwani were killed. He urged the government to stop further loss of lives and said he feared the region could be engulfed by another Boko Haram and possibly civil war.
Archbishop Okoh said the herdsmen attacks and security concerns were big issues for local churches.
“People are asking us and we wanted to have an explanation to the people we lead.” The Archbishop said he was hopeful that over the next year the situation in the country would improve.
The rescue and safe return of the remaining 218 Chibok schoolgirls, who were kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014, was also discussed at the meeting. President Muhammadu Buhari assured the bishops their rescue remained a top priority of his administration, but said he will not fall for fraudsters who have been asking for money to negotiate the release the girls without proof.