The Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, has tasked the federal government to identify unknown gunmen and force them out of forests and urban hideouts across the country for prosecution.
According to the Sultan, the term ‘unknown gunmen’ used to describe killers of innocent Nigerians was no longer tenable, as the gunmen are known but only ignored.
His Eminence thus called for the constitution of a joint task force to specially attend to the rising tide of killings in South-Eastern Nigeria, while urging governments at all levels to go beyond verbal condemnations on security related atrocities.
Speaking on Thursday in a statement signed by JNI Secretary-General, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, the Sultan condemned what he described as senseless, barbaric and unprovoked killing of a pregnant woman with four of her children in Anambra state, saying that, killings in South-East are now transforming to being more religious and ethno/tribal conflicts, the escalation of which may not bode well for the country.
The Sultan called for intensified efforts in identifying and prosecuting “the so called unknown gunmen”, adding that governments at all levels should collaborate with security agencies in tackling insecurities in whatever guises.
He called for proactive measures in nipping the situations in the buds, before it becomes uncontrollable, while urging governments to strategize and bring an end to orgies of killings happening across in Nigeria.
“At the instance of its President-General, His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji (Dr.) Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) condemns the senseless, barbaric and unprovoked killing of one Harira Jibrin; a pregnant woman with four of her children at Isulo in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State. The incident is but an addition to the series of many other killings meted, particularly to Muslims in the South-Eastern states of Nigeria.
“The recurring heartless, calamitous and unprovoked killings and maiming in South-East, as well as across other parts of the country are, to say the least condemnable. JNI has painfully, with dismay been observing the orchestrated unchecked atrocities dished out to many innocent Muslim menial traders’ wares including animals.
“The attitude, in effect, depicts the most unfortunate high level of hatred and impunity. The JNI feels that it was high time the governments acted lest things get out of hand. While we commiserate with all families affected with the serial killings and abductions in Nigeria, we implore the Federal Government to synergise with all state governments enmeshed in all forms of security challenges, for the restoration of law and order.
“The killings are now transforming to being more religious and ethnic/tribal conflicts. Their escalation may not be easily halted. Nigerians should learn from different historical accounts that, religious or ethnic conflicts and wars are undoubtedly extremely preposterous. So, they should be avoided. We call on governments at all levels to, as a matter of urgency, do everything possible to curtail the situation and arrest all those who are behind the ongoing killings in the South-Eastern Nigeria, before it is too late.
“Governments should be seen as swiftly acting on security related issues, as it is its primary constitutional responsibility to protect, secure and provide welfare to citizens, as enunciated in the second schedule of the 1999 amended Constitution. Government must spare no efforts to take control of all forests and swampy areas that have become hideouts for criminals. Examples should be set by speedily arresting and prosecuting all criminals, devoid of legal encumbrances.
“Constituting commissions of inquiry should NOT be the only way to go. Nigerians desperately yearn for more concrete actions against all forms of criminalities. The unfortunate spate of the alarming horrendous butchering of human lives in the Nigerian states should be halted. South-Eastern states’ governments and governors, as well as community leaders should be seen and heard condemning and assuaging fears and tension within their respective states and communities (as the case may be).
“Silence would not be golden, in so unfortunate a situation. Perhaps they should emulate the Northern Governors in reacting quickly and appropriately, on similar happenings within their jurisdictions; security surveillance should, maximally be accorded Muslim communities in the South-Eastern Nigeria,” the Sultan added.