“Take security as a top priority for every Nigerian,” Religious Leaders Tell Government

Members of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC).

Disturbed by the state of insecurity in Africa’s most populous country, members of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) have called on the government to prioritize the security of its citizens.

In a Tuesday, August 4 statement obtained by ACI Africa, the religious leaders “call on the Government at all levels to take security as a top priority for every Nigerian.”

“The Government at all levels must double up their efforts of securing the lives and property of the citizens,” they say in the statement signed by NIREC’s Executive Secretary, Fr. Cornelius Afebu Omonokhua who doubles as the Director of Mission and Dialogue in the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN)

The members of the Council that is co-chaired by the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammadu Sa'ad Abubakar and the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Rev. Dr. Sampson Olasupo Adeniyi Ayokunle highlight different incidences of violence, some that have led to the loss of human life. 

“We condemn the carnage on human life especially the recent killings of 76 people in Sabon Birni Local Government of Sokoto State; RuwanTofa Dansadua district in Zamfara State; Zangon Kataf Local Government Area in Kaduna State; Bethel Baptist Church Aguda-Dauruwan Kogi State and the attack on the convoy of the Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum at Baga,” the religious leaders say in their one-page collective statement.

They also “condemn absolutely, the political thuggery that threatens human life and peaceful coexistence.”

“Maiduguri, in particular should not be allowed to be run over by the insurgents who have been throwing mortals there, killing people,” the religious leaders say referencing the violence in the largest city of Borno State in north-eastern Nigeria.

They recall the Shehu of Borno’s traditional Sallah homage to the Governor of Borno State where he (Shehu) lamented, “My people in Borno are no longer safe.” 

“The security Agents must fish out the criminals to face justice. The security Agents must mop up the arms and ammunition in the hands of criminals,” the members of NIREC further say and add, “The government must ensure a complete stop to the proliferation of all forms of weapons that criminals use to destroy life and property.”

Religious leaders and members of the civil society in the country have expressed concerns about the increasing terrorist attacks in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria and the various criminal activities in various parts of the West African nation.

On July 30, members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) condemned in totality the recent gruesome and barbaric slaughtering of unarmed Christians in the area during a curfew imposed by the state government Southern Kaduna.

“As a matter of urgency,” the Catholic Prelates called on the government to “rise up to its responsibility and put a stop to the mindless killings of innocent citizens in our country.”

They added, “If it fails to do this, it is silently encouraging the total breakdown of law and order in the country.”

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ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.

Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa
[email protected]