The Sultan of Sokoto Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar has lamented that terrorists kill people on a daily basis in the northern part of the country especially in the North West and the killings are mostly not reported.
Speaking Thursday in Abuja, during the 4th Quarter 2021 Meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) with the theme ‘NIREC, Security Agencies and Peace in Nigeria’, the Sultan, who is also the Co-Chair of NIREC, said there is no single day that passes without people being killed in the North.
The Sultan called on Christians to disregard the recent threat by some unknown persons of being killed if found attending churches in Zamfara State, adding that Nigeria has series of challenges facing it and if leaders don’t wake up and come together to understand the issues facing the country, the challenges will escalate.
He, however, charged religious leaders to be weary of the kind of things they say to their followers, noting that their followers always believe that they speak things from the Holy Bible and Holy Koran.
While advocating for dialogue to address some of the challenges in the country, Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar said the elites in the country have been the major problems the nation is facing.
He 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, even one life is important. There is no single day that passes without people being killed in the North, especially in the North West, but we don’t hear it.
“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.
“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.”
He added: “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.
“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 weary 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.
“I believe in dialogue, and l believe dialogue is the best option, we sit down and talk ourselves and come up with possible solutions to the problems of the majority, we are the minority here, we are the elites and the elites are the problems of this country because we always want things to go our way.”
Also, the Executive Secretary of NIREC, Father Cornelius Omonokhua, called on Christians and Muslims to come together 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,” he said.
On his part, the CAN President, Reverend Dr Samson Ayokunle, lamented that Nigerian roads have become a den of kidnappers and a no-go-area for travellers, wondering why persons would be kidnapped and the security forces cannot trace the kidnappers to their hideout and rescue the victims.
The CAN President, therefore, called for increase in intelligence gathering, and the public to also volunteer information to the security agencies so that the movement of criminals could be traced and apprehended ahead of time, urging security agents to purge themselves of the criminals among them who aid and abate criminality.
Reverend Ayokunle also called for more funding of the security forces to acquire modern equipment that will enhance their performance, he said there should also be deliberate efforts by the government to create enabling environment for the employment of youth, making it difficult for criminality to be appealing to them to join.
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?”