By Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace (IDFP) has frowned at the steps being taken by the Federal Government to contain the rising insecurity across the country, accusing the political leaders and the Federal Government of focusing their attention on the 2023 general election when the country is on “fire”.
IDFP position was, perhaps, due to rising insecurity across the country particularly the unending killings and kidnapping in northern and Southern Nigeria with specific reference to the death of 43 rice farmers that were killed by Boko Haram insurgents in Borno state last weekend.
IDFP Co-Chairmen, Bishop Sunday Onuoha and Alhaji Ishaq Kunle Sanni, respectively, in their different opening remarks at the Forum’s high level dialogue on insecurity and COVID-19 with religious leaders, policy markers and Civil Society Organizations in Nigeria, raised the consciousness of the political leaders to the statement of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ ad Abubakar, few days that bandits and kidnappers are fast overrunning the north.
Bishop Onuoha in his remarks said: “As bleak as the picture appears, it’s sad that the 2023 elections are currently taking attention and focus of political leaders. In my native language, there’s a saying that ‘you don’t chase rodents when your house is on fire’. So, we need to refocus our priorities at this time to secure the lives of our people.
“The wanton and mindless killing of Nigerians, the kidnappings, ravaging of our homes and farmlands, terrorism threatening unity and traditional institutions, as well as selfish tendencies make us appear heartless and inhumane, as we chase not what will bring immediate succour, but what will advance long-term personal gains.
“This is the time for political party chiefs and high level stakeholders in government to come together at a bi-partisan roundtable, regardless of religious leanings, to frankly discuss how to get the country out of this doldrums that have become our bane.
“We need to stop playing the ostrich and show of indifference because, whether we accept it or not, the chickens have come home to roost. What the country is faced with today, affects all of us. It may be someone else today, but ask yourself, “How safe am I? ”
On his side, Alhaji Ishaq Kunle Sanni, in his remarks, suggested that no other contemporary issue should be in the front burner and a source of concern to the government and discerning Nigerians than the issue of security in Nigeria.
“Is anywhere safe in Nigeria today? Are people not leaving money at home for family members to pay ransom in case they are kidnapped? Is it not a wise decision to leave your Will anytime you are travelling per chance that may be the last trip? Our present security architecture, unless we are playing the ostrich, cannot in any way solve our problem,” he said.
He alleged that there’s the conspiracy theory that those paid to protect Nigerians are being paid by the criminals to look the other way while people are being kidnapped, women are raped and ritualists slicing people into pieces.
“There’s no better time for IDFP and government to critically engage with the society because of rising threats of insecurity, underdevelopment, violent conflicts, separatist agitation and violation of freedom from fear, want and human dignity.
“It’s therefore imperative for our collective objectives of gaining enhanced knowledge and response options in addressing conflicts in our communities, building a consensus towards strategic response to the security and health challenges in Nigeria,” they said.