The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, and the CAN President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, on Thursday, lampooned the Federal Government for the poor management of the nation’s security.
Following the recent escalation of attacks in the Shinkafi axis of Sokoto, they called for a collective and coordinated approach to solve the nation’s security problems.
Speaking in Abuja at the 4th Quarter 2021 Meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council, NIREC, on Thursday, the Sultan said everything was not right with the country, citing the increased level of crime and criminality across the federation.
The Sultan said: “If I continue talking about the insecurity in the North, we will not leave this room, some 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 day that passes without people being killed in the North especially in the North West now, but we don’t hear it.
“Let’s not deceive ourselves, everything is not alright, I have said this so many times, and to know that you have a problem, you have part of the solution. The earlier we rise up to the occasion, come together, the better for us.”
Citing the recent threat letter by bandits to Christians in Zamfara state, the Sultan also came down hard on the security agencies for not doing enough to investigate and authenticate the source of the violent message.
He lamented that the lack of due diligence by the police before informing Christians of the planned attack on Churches in Zamfara could have frightened worshippers and dampened their faith.
Sultan said: “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 comments when they have not verified it? You are making people to be more frightened.
“I will not stop going to mosque to pray because I saw in a paper that if I go to 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.”
While advocating for a new approach and strategy to address some of the challenges in the country, Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar said some religious leaders have been part of the major problems the nation is facing.
“We have to be careful in the way we handle, say and do things as religious leaders. We are not political leaders. Therefore, we have to be wary of what we say, where and how we say such things, because our followers will definitely believe in what we say. They will believe and feel that it is from the Holy Koran or the Holy Bible.
“We cannot go on telling things to people without thinking that they will believe. We cannot go on saying things that we know we don’t have full knowledge of,” the monarch cautioned.
On his part, Ayokunle who co-Chairs NIREC with the Sultan, described the nation’s highways as “den of kidnappers and a no-go-area for travellers.”
He wondered why the security forces could not trace the kidnappers to their hideout and rescue the victims.
He said: “Travelling from one point to another by road in particular have become a very great risk, kidnapper are everywhere and they don’t only come out to kidnap but also to kill, so you don’t know who the next victim is going to be.
“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 state within few days or weeks will not be able to fish them out?”
Above all, the CAN president called for increase in intelligence gathering; urging the public to also volunteer information to the security agencies to help the tracing and apprehension of the criminals.
He also advocated for increased investment in the military to enhance their performance, and warned the security forces to purge themselves of elements who aid and abet criminality in the country.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of NIREC, Prof. Cornelius Omonokhua, called on Christians and Muslims to join hands to fight terrorism and insecurity.
“No terrorist can be a religious person and no religious person can be a terrorist. We must come together now to pray and fight those who have waged war against humanity in Nigeria,” Omonokhua noted.