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Insecurity: Sultan of Sokoto bemoans killing in the north

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The Sultan of Sokoto and Co-chairman, Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) , Mohammed Sa’ad Abubakar II has bemoaned the incessant killing and kidnapping of citizens in the north west region of the country.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the fourth quarter 2021 meeting of NIREC in Abuja, the Sultan said no single day passes without people being killed in the north especially the north west.

He urged Nigerians not to attribute the killings and attack to religion fight as the evil act is carried out by enemies of the country.

The theme for the meeting is ‘NIREC, Security and Agencies and Peace in Nigeria’.

He said: “We have series of challenges facing us and if we don’t wake up and come together, understand the issues facing us, we will all be in hot soup.

“Let’s not deceive ourselves that everything is all right, everything is not alright. I have said it so many times at so many fora that everything is not alright in this country. And to know that you have a problem, you have half of the solutions and the earlier we rise up to the occasion, come together, the better for us.

“If I continue talking about the insecurity in the North, we will not leave this room. A few days ago, we are witnesses to the media report on how people were killed in a bus in Sokoto, even though the figure is not correct, but even one life is important.

“There is no single say that passes without people being killed in the north especially in the north west now. And who are those doing that? we believe they are muslims because they come from many other places and who are they killing? Muslims not Christians.

“When I saw a note that the bandits are threatening Christians in Zamfara, I asked what is the work of our security agencies, why will they come out and make such comment when you have not verified it because you are making people to be more frightened.

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“I will not stop going to the mosque to pray because I saw in a paper that if I go to the mosque I will be killed, let me be killed, I must die, so Christians should not be afraid of going to church to worship because an anonymous person is threatening them”.

The Sultan of Sokoto also said the elites in the country contributes to the many challenges facing the country.

The Co-chairman of NIREC who said dialogue as the way forward to addressing these issue called on religious leaders to be mindful of how they dish out information to their followers.

“We do not have to be uniform to be united, these are some of the issues we should put on the table and discuss. God doesn’t make mistake when he created all of us and he gave us religion.

“There are differences between political leaders and spiritual or religious leaders. The spiritual leaders are guided by the holy books, we interpret the holy books the way the books should be interpreted not for personal reasons.

“We have to be careful in the way we handle things and do things as religious leaders. We are not political leaders. We have to be wary of what we say, when and how we say such things because our followers will definitely believe in what we say. We can not go on saying things we don’t have full knowledge of. We can disagree to agree but we must respect the feelings of one another.

“I believe in dialogue, sit down and talk to ourselves and come up with possible solutions to the problem of the majority” he added.

He further urged the Federal government to do all it takes to tackle poverty which is the major contributory factor of insecurity in the country.

Also Speaking, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) President and Co-chairman of NIREC, Reverend Samson Ayokunle urged security agencies in the country to up their game in the fight against insecurity.

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He questioned why killings and abduction occur frequently especially in Kaduna state and the terrorists are not challenged.

According to him “Our nation is bleeding seriously because traveling from one point to the other by road in particular have become a very great risk. kidnappers are everywhere and they don’t only come out to kidnap but also to kill. So we don’t know who the next victim is going to be.

“Killings and abductions occur at Abuja – Kaduna highway recently in quick succession.

“For me also, I have been at the receiving end of this insecurity between our last meeting and now, I have lost so many members of my own church, the Baptist church in Nigeria.

“Why should these people be killing and hiding people in our territory without being challenged? Why should it be easy for them to hide people somewhere within the State and the security agencies in the states within few days or weeks will not be able to fish them out?

“If you are talking of collateral damage and you are happy doing some collateral damage but not pursuing criminals, then you are giving the criminals a free day to continue to operate with impunity.

“This situation is very real in Kaduna State especially.

“Since the law in Nigeria has not permitted us to hold guns, we have no other person to appeal to, than the people that have been given license to hold guns to defend us. So when we are commending you for what you are doing, we are also challenging you to do more. It’s not over until it is over.

“The way the security agency in the Federal Capital responded to people kidnapped in the University of Abuja, if they react like that to all the kidnappings in Kaduna state, I think things will be better. It is a challenge to whoever is in charge of command to the security agencies in Kaduna State to up their game”.

He also charged Security agencies to emulate developed nations like America who came into Nigeria to rescue two people from the North who were kidnapped without any collateral damage.

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Reverend Ayokunle also recommended that security forces should increase intelligence gathering, purge themselves of the criminals among them who out of greed, aid and abet criminality.

He also called for increase in funding of security agencies with modern equipment that will enhance their performance adding that there should be deliberate effort by the government to create enabling environment for the employment of youths making it difficult for criminality to be appealing to them to join.

He stressed the need for more robust policy of the country’s borders by the immigration and customs department to curb the infiltration of criminals into the nation.

He called for the blockage of sources of internal and external financing of these criminals.

The CAN President also recommended that apprehended criminals be allowed to face the full wrath of the law.

He however stressed the need to intensify prayers in churches and mosques stating that this will help overcome the challenges quickly.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha called for a non kinetic approach to curtail the act of insecurity in Nigeria.

He said: “I will want to say this without any fear of contradiction. That procuring platforms, increasing the number of personnel, training and equipping and resourcing our armed forces and security agencies would not achieve the desired result if it is not followed up with winning the hearts of our people in this nation.

“In spite of all the efforts of government, if we do not get community backing that will provide the local intelligence of some of the things that are happening in our communities, it will be hard for the armed forces and security agencies to operate efficiently and effectively on the prosecution of the war against insecurity”.

The Executive Secretary Of NIREC, Father Cornelius Omonokhua urged Christian and Muslims to come together and fight insecurity and terrorism in Nigeria.

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