From Fred Ezeh and Vikky Uba, Abuja
The President of the Christan Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev Samson Olasupo, has stated that the breakup of Nigeria is not the answer to the ongoing security challenges in the country.
Rev Olasupo made this statement on Thursday in Abuja during the 2021 second quarter meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC).
In his address, Olasupo, who is the co-chairman of NIREC, admitted that insecurity was the greatest challenge facing the country, but that the solution is not to divide the country.
‘Many things are not right with the nation today. The greatest challenge today is insecurity. To travel some distance today calls for serious prayers and traveling with perhaps heavy security personnel because of kidnapping for ransom, ritual killing, armed robbery, insurgents attacks, banditry and other forms of violent attacks,’ he said.
‘Breaking the nation into fragments will not be the answer, rather proactiveness of those in power to point the persons [agitating] for secession in the right step; to treat the nation as one nation. To do otherwise is to gamble dangerously.’
Rev Olasupo also stated that the government was not taking calls for the use of intelligence gathering to certify the location of criminals seriously, further questioning its sincerity in putting an end to the security crisis.
‘Similarly, setting up of the body of security experts that will investigate the sources of ammunitions that are in the hands of criminals spread all over the nation in other to block such avenues, has not been seen to be done by the government.
‘It makes this a cause of concern about the sincerity of the government in nipping these evils in the bud. We want to see the criminals prosecuted. Otherwise, the government will be seen as aiding and abetting criminality.
‘This is the time for us to unite and speak in unison against all these evils before being wiped away by the criminals. The daily bloodshed is worrisome and must stop,’ he said.
Rev Olasupo also stressed the need for government to tackle the issue of mass unemployment, insisting that mass unemployment is one of the major reason that criminality thrives in the country.
‘The time is now for those in authority to address the problem of mass unemployment in our nation. It’s the breeding ground for criminality, and equally give the bandits and terrorists opportunity to recruit the youths into criminality with ease,’ he noted.
In his remarks, Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, the co-chairman of NIREC, emphasised that dialogue is the most effective and peaceful way for the country to reach a resolution to its problems.
‘Let’s continue to work together and dialogue. I’m a total believer in dialogue and nothing will change my mind because my religion teaches me to always dialogue. If we can solve our problems without going to war, then why do we need to take up arms to solve the problem,’ he said.
The Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, represented by the Permanent Secretary, General Services, Maurice Mbaeri, assured Nigerians of the unwavering support of the federal government to religious and political leaders to promote peace and unity in the country.
He urged religious leaders to publicly renounce the ideology of those claiming to be killing for the sake of religion, by giving a counter narrative. He stated that this will deter more individuals from partaking in insurgency in the name of religion.
He also called on Nigerians to reject the narrative of those predicting civil war, stating that Nigeria is more than capable of overcoming its challenges.