Felix Ikem, Nsukka
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Kaduna State Chapter, has appealed to governments at all levels to develop a new strategy to end kidnappings on the Kaduna-Abuja highway.
Its Chairman, Rev. John Hayab, made the appeal on a statement issued in Kaduna, yesterday.
Hayab said increasing insecurity on the Kaduna-Abuja highway had reached a frightening level, requiring urgent and pragmatic action by governments at all levels.
“Without a doubt, citizens are no longer safe to travel on Nigerians roads, especially on the Kaduna-Abuja highway because of the terror incessantly unleashed on commuters by bandits and kidnappers.
“While we have heard from the government the efforts made to stop these evil men and women from terrifying travellers, it appears the steps are not yielding the desired outcomes,’’ he stated.
Rev. Hayah stated also that based on current realities CAN was compelled to make an appeal for a new and community-inclusive strategy to defeat the mindless assailants who had turned a once-busy highway to a dreaded route.
The CAN chairman also appealed to government to seek collaboration from every known retired security personnel for synergy in the fight against banditry.
According to him, it is a known fact that Kaduna and its environs have many gallant, but retired security personnel.
“They understand guerrilla war strategy and can help if they are called upon to collaborate to combat bandits and kidnappers.’’
He explained that if such strategy was adopted, governments could pay the volunteers and verified retired military and other security personnel some remuneration for accepting to put their lives, once again, on the line for their country.
“The government and the current serving personnel could work out a modality providing and equipping the volunteers with the needed kits to fight against the enemies of Nigerians.
“The huge amount of resources the government says she spends on security while the serving personnel are overstretched, could be remedied by engaging another strategy that could give substantial results.
“CAN also appeals to all citizens with useful information that could help the personnel combating the menace of kidnappings not to hesitate to assist government and security agencies so that we defeat these bandits and kidnappers once and for all.
“Our nation cannot be productive if her citizens live in fear. One of the dire consequences of the kidnapping is that many farmers can no longer go to the farm and some may not harvest their crops because farmlands and roads are not safe,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the Catholic pontiff, Pope Francis, has urged Nigerians to love one another and be religious tolerant irrespective of tribe and religious affiliation.
The Pope who was represented by the Apostolic Nunciature to Nigeria, Antonio Guido Fillipazzi said this in Nsukka on Thursday during a church service to dedicate the newly built St. Theresa’s Catholic cathedral Nsukka, in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State.
“Religious tolerance is one of the factors that enhance peace, economic growth and development in a developing country like Nigeria. Nigeria should not allow religious differences to bring crisis and disunity among the people as development can only happen in a place where there is unity among all religions group and ethnicity,” he said.
St. Theresa’s Catholic cathedral overseas Catholic parishes and deaneries in Nsukka Social Cultural zone comprising of seven local governments; Nsukka, Igbo-Eze North, Igbo-Eze South, Udenu, Uzo-Uwani, Isi-Uzo and Igbo-Etiti local governments.