Nigeria's Anglican Church has expressed concern at renewed violence blamed on militants in the oil-rich Niger Delta area and militants from the Fulani ethnic group. The Diocese of Abuja of the Church of Nigeria urged groups behind recent attacks on oil pipelines in the south to cease violent activities, claiming Nigeria cannot afford another war.
Most Reverend Nicholas D. Okoh, primate of the Church of Nigeria and archbishop of Abuja Diocese, also urged the federal government to contribute to create a friendly atmosphere that can help resolve the conflict peacefully, the Vanguard newspaper reported.
Okoh's calls came as attacks blamed on the newly-formed Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) militant group partially halted oil production and forced Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell to close at least two sites following attacks linked to the group.
President Muhammadu Buhari has accused the NDA of vandalism and warned that the Nigerian government would deal with the group in the same way it is tackling Boko Haram in the country's northeast.
Okoh also said the government should not implement a bill proposing the creation of grazing reserves for Fulani herdsmen across the country, arguing the herdsmen "have a notorious history of attacking their host communities".
"The synod hereby states unequivocally that the move to create grazing reserves for Fulani herdsmen around the country does not have our support. This is because the move threatens to accord a set of people with unwarranted special preference, making them indigenes of all regions of the country," he said.
"There have been countless isolated cases of herdsmen brutality to their host communities. These notorious activities of herdsmen are capable of dragging the country into another civil war. The Fulani herdsmen are private businessmen who take away all proceeds of the business, not sharing with either their host communities or the government."