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Leave IPOB, ESN alone, save schoolchildren from bandits – Bishop tells FG

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Bishop of the Diocese of Nnewi Anglican Communion, Anambra State, Rt. Rev. Ndubisi Obi, has wondered why the Federal Government should continue to pursue the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its vigilante arm, Eastern Security Network (ESN) while bandits were kidnapping pupils and students at will for ransom.

Bishop Ndubisi spoke during a press briefing on the 9th synod  Diocese of Nnewi Anglican Communion which kicked off on September 2 at St. James’ Church, Ichi, Ekwusigo council.

Speaking on national issues, he said people at the corridors of power created more problems in the country than providing solutions to them. The bishop decried the way Federal Government deployed soldiers to Imo State to chase IPOB and ESN members while leaving bandits and armed herdsmen to ravage in the North and other parts of the country, killing, maiming and kidnapping for ransom.

“When you talk about agitation, what leads to that is when government of the day is not sensitive to what the people are passing through. Instead of doing the right thing, they do the wrong one.

“So, the Church cannot but give advice on what government should do to stop what brings about the agitation.

 “Just look at the way they are handling security issues in this country. I continue to ask myself why government should send the military to pursue the IPOB and ESN in Imo State when bandits in the northern Nigeria are kidnapping school children and students of higher institutions at will.

“Sometimes, they will be more than 100 and are herded into the forest for ransom. And the bandits do these things and go scot-free but every effort is channelled towards the pursuit of agitators,” the bishop said.

He ex-rayed the issue of open grazing which he said the Federal Government had begun to revisit. He said Federal Government had the option of setting up cattle ranches at the Sambisa and other forests in many northern states, including Niger, Yobe, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Zamfara, Kebbi, Jigawa and Katsina. He said those ranches, if established, could be irrigated from the Rivers Niger and Benue.

He said if government could initiate the policy and execute it religiously as he had enunciated, the problem of farmers and herders clash and other security challenges would be a thing of the past.

The bishop said if the Federal Government could build oil pipelines from Nigeria to North Africa and a railway line from Nigeria to Niger Republic, “why can’t it set up the ranches in those forests?”

He said the Church would continue to speak out against the government negative actions. The bishop added that it was the actions and inactions of the government that had continued to fuel agitation for self-determination.

Obi later told journalists that the synod would host about 600 delegates while 137 churches are expected to participate in the programme.

LEAD STORY SEPTEMBER 19

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