The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, has raised the alarm over the brazen attack by bandits in the North, claiming they have overrun the region in their activities.
According to the Sultan, the North is the worst place to be in this country, because bandits go around in the villages, households and markets with their AK 47 openly and unchecked.
The religious leader, who raised the alarm in Abuja yesterday at the fourth quarterly meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), expressed regrets that the security situation in the North is not given enough media coverage.
He said: “Security situation in northern Nigeria has assumed a worrisome situation. It is regrettable that no strong media platform could report this story to the world.
“Few weeks ago, over 76 persons were killed in a community in Sokoto in a day. I was there alongside the governor to commiserate with the affected community.
“Unfortunately, you didn’t hear these stories in the media because it’s in the north. We have accepted the fact that north doesn’t have strong media to report the atrocities of these bandits.
“People think north is safe, but that assumption is not true. In fact, it’s the worst place to be in this country. Because bandits go around in the villages, households and markets with their AK 47 and nobody is changing them. They stop at the market, buy things, pay and collect change, with their weapons openly displayed. These are facts I know because I am at the centre of it.
“I am not only a traditional ruler, I am also a religious leader. So, I am in a better place to tell the story. I can speak for the north in this regard because I am fully aware of the security challenges there. We have to sincerely and seriously find solutions to the problem, otherwise, we will find ourselves soon, in a situation where we would lose sleep because of insecurity.
“As religious leaders, we must promote peace, love, unity and tolerance among our followers. We will discuss all these issues at the close door session of the meeting and possibly come out with strong suggestions for government.”
On his part, the President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr. Samson Ayokunle Olasupo, faulted government’s defence of the recent hike in the price of electricity and fuel.
“That’s not what we send them to do for us. The decision, evidently, has added to our pains and they should reverse it as quickly as possible,” he said.
On the recent #EndSARS protest, Ayokunle cautioned Nigerians against interpreting the recent demonstration with either ethnic or religious bias.
“As a man of God, I never saw the EndSARS protest coming. May be I am far from God. It came to us all unaware. Initially, I thought that the protest was organized by bad boys in the society, but when I began to see and read stories of Police brutality, I was surprised and supported their actions.
“But attributing the actions of the angry youths to a particular religion or ethnic group is insincere and unsafe. No religious group was exempted from the effect of the protest. The action was a spontaneous action that cannot be attributed to any religion or ethnic group.”
In his remarks, the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, cited insecurity as the major factor militating against progress and prosperity of the nation.
He said security was not the sole responsibility of government.
“Today, despite all efforts, including the deployment of enormous resources, our country still faces a measure of insecurity which is impacting negatively on our economy, social life, education of children and young persons, investment, and remains a threat to lives and livelihood,” he said.
Mustapha maintained that, though, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria places the responsibility for security and safety on the government, all citizens must be actively involved in security related matters particularly in their local areas.
Against that backdrop, he urged NIREC to use its traditional and religious capacities to further escalate it outreach to all Nigerians especially the youths at the grassroots.
“This, thus calls for better understanding and appreciation of the environment and perception of the significance of our collective efforts. The message to Nigerians at the grassroots should include the need for vigilance, national consciousness, patriotism, and personal commitment to the indivisibility of Nigeria,” he said.