***calls for dialogue, Peace, Security
Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, has condemned the bloodshed being meted on the North, stating that zamfara state Nigeria is fast turning to killing field by armed bandits and other terrorists operating in the region.
He said that bandits are holding the region hostage, especially the northwest, expressing concern particularly that most of the killings are not reported.
The Sultan in a speech at the 4th quarterly meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), with the theme ‘NIREC, Security Agencies and Peace in Nigeria’ accused elites of being responsible for the unending security challenges in Nigeria.
“We need to sit down and talk about ourselves. We need to come up with possible solutions to the problems of Nigeria, particularly as regards rising insecurity. In this room, we are the minority, we are the elites and the elites are the problems of this country because we always want things to go our way”, he said.
The Sultan lamented that terrorists unleash terror on communities and kill people on a daily basis in north “freely”, and should be stopped forthwith.
He said: “Evidently, Nigeria is faced with series of challenges, and if leaders don’t wake up, come together to understand the issues facing the country, the challenges might escalate and possibly consume all.
“Let’s not deceive ourselves, everything is not alright in our country, and I have spoken about it repeatedly in different fora. To know that you have a problem means you have part of the solution. The earlier we rise to the occasion, come together, the better for us.”
The Sultan reminded some religious leaders of the enormous respect, loyalty and followership they command, hence they should guide their utterances and actions particularly towards their followers to avoid unnecessary bitterness and incitement.
“We have to be careful in the way we handle, say and do things as religious leaders. We are not political leaders, and therefore, we have to be weary of what we say, where and how we say such things, because our followers will definitely believe in what we say and feel that it is from the Holy Koran or the Holy Bible.”
The President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr. Samson Ayokunle Olasupo, in his remarks, complained about the activities of kidnappers and other criminals on Nigerian roads.
“Travelling on Nigerian roads has become a very great risk now. 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?”, he queried.
The CAN President who is the Co-Chairman of NIREC, thus, advocated intelligence gathering to tackle the challenge.
He advised Nigerians to volunteer information to the security agencies so that the movement of criminals could be traced and apprehended ahead of time.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of NIREC, Rev. Fr. Cornelius Omonokhua, in his opening remarks, stressed the importance of synergy between Christians and Muslims in the fight against 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”, he said.