2023: ISWAP plots to derail elections
File: Terrorists

From PETER OKORE, Umuahia

In the wake of the inability of security agencies in Nigeria to halt the high-level insurgency and the ever-increasing cases of banditry reported in different parts of the country, there is a growing call for citizens to be allowed to defend themselves whenever attacked.

Not quite long, the Zamfara state government enjoined her residents to arm themselves against bandits, even though the police and military have come up with a claim that the situation is still under control.

Zamfara has been one of the worst-affected states by banditry in Nigeria. For that, the state government said it is “ready to facilitate people, especially farmers, to secure basic weapons for defending themselves”.

It also directed the police command to issue gun licenses to all who qualify and are willing to obtain firearms to defend themselves

Moreover, the recent invasions of St. Francis Catholic church , Owo in Ondo State as well as parts of Abia state by bandits, kidnappers and terrorists in quick succession, under a fortnight, and the killing of Catholic priests, the burning of churches in Kaduna state and other areas, have compelled catholic communicators in Nigeria to call on the National Assembly to enact an enabling law that would enable Nigerians to own arms to defend themselves, their families and properties against arbitrary attacks by gunmen.

In a release signed by the President of the Association, Very Rev. Fr. Patrick Alumuku, and the General Secretary, Mr. Tony Agbugba, made available to members of Catholic Media practitionewrs all over Nigeria, the group noted that the time has come for all Nigerians, irrespective of their religious inclinations, to be more security conscious.

They particularly implored all Churches and Mosques to put in place stringent security measures that would enable them to defend the clergy, the worshippers, and the facilities henceforth.

Catholic Communicators in Nigeria, under the auspices of SIGNIS, therefore, condemned in very strong terms the incessant attacks on Christian churches, killings of Priests and other innocent Nigerians by bandits, kidnappers, and terrorists.

In the minds of this concerned group of Christian faithful, the increased attacks on Catholic Churches in recent- times, which have led to the loss of several lives, including men of God and defenseless civilians could spiral into an orgy of violence that may have grave consequences on the peace and unity of the country.

The Catholic Communicators expressed even more concern over the seeming silence of the Buhari administration and the Federal Government in the face of these on-going attacks on the innocents . According to them, this seeming silence by both government and military in Nigeria do not, in any way, reassure Nigerians that the government is on top of the situation. Or that the government is , in all sincerity, fulfilling one of her primary obligation of protecting the lives and properties of her citizens.

Making special reference to the recent killings of two Catholic priests, Rev Frs. Christopher Odia of Auchi Dioceses and Bitrus Borigo of Kaduna Archdiocese, including the mauling of over 40 worshippers at Owo, Ondo State, respectively, the group wondered why the bandits have suddenly picked interest in harassing, and killing harmless clergy and innocent worshippers who pose no dangers or obstacles to anyone, rather than their desire to draw nearer their Creator.

They implored the security agencies at the federal and state levels and across all formations to intensify efforts to bring the killers to book, while also intensifying efforts to safeguard the lives of the citizens.

Indeed, these acts of terrorism, banditry and the likes have been a source of worry and concern to the people and government of affected states of the country. Therefore, to deal decisively with the situation in affected areas, respective communities, the government, etc, have no option but to take-on them decisively by adopting traditional methods to nib the endemic in the bud by combing their forests.

In doing these, people should be strictly warned and advised to make sure that any information or intelligence about an informant must be true and nothing but the truth. Such information must carry correct data on the suspects, including their pictures, correct names, addresses, occupation and witness to testify the genuineness of the information given; while the government is taking punitive measures against anyone found as an informant. Any person who gives wrong information against anybody should equally serve the same punishment as an informant and will be treated as such.

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