Northern Nigeria has been described as the worst place to live in the country due to worsening insecurity situation in the region.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, stated this on Thursday at the fourth quarterly meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council in Abuja.
At the meeting with the theme ‘Questioning for peace in the challenges of insecurity and COVID-19’, the monarch lamented how bandits and other criminals go from house to house, village to village, market to market, with AK-47 rifles openly and unhindered.
Recalling how 76 persons were killed in a day in a Sokoto community recently, the Sultan regretted that the media often failed to report such incidents.
“Security situation in Northern Nigeria has assumed a worrisome situation. Few weeks ago, over 76 persons were killed in a community in Sokoto in a day. I was there with the governor to commiserate with the affected community.
“Unfortunately, you don’t hear these stories in the media because it’s in the North. We have accepted the fact that the North does not have strong media to report the atrocities of these bandits.
“People think North is safe but that assumption is not true. In fact, it’s the worst place to be in this country because bandits go around in the villages, households and markets with their AK 47 and nobody is challenging them.
“They stop at the market, buy things, pay and collect change, with their weapons openly displayed. These are facts I know because I am at the centre of it.
“I am not only a traditional ruler, I am also a religious leader. So, I am in a better place to tell the story. I can speak for the North in this regard because I am fully aware of the security challenges there. We have to sincerely and seriously find solutions to the problem, otherwise, we will find ourselves soon, in a situation where we would lose sleep because of insecurity,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, Ignatius Kaigama said:
“We Christians and Muslims must avoid imposing our religious views on others or denying them public amenities, jobs or influential positions because they don’t belong to our faith.
“Merit, not the vigour of our religious piety or affiliation should determine all we do or get in this country. We should not unjustly or corruptly deprive others of their rights, not to talk of wounding or killing anyone for economic or partisan political interests or because of blind religious zeal.”
The president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Samson Ayokunle, speaking, expressed gratitude to God for delivering Nigeria from the COVID-19 pandemic compared to other countries.
He called on the government to learn to tackle problems before it degenerated, adding that the government should reverse the hike in the price of electricity and fuel.
“That’s not what we send them to do for us. The decision, evidently, has added to our pains and they should reverse it as quickly as possible.
“The development that led to #EndSARS protest was quite unfortunate, and one of that development is police brutality which ought to be addressed before now.
“We have never witnessed such a mass action in Nigeria before. People were frustrated and because those in power didn’t respond appropriately until it degenerated to that level.
“But attributing the actions of the angry youths to a particular religion or ethnic group is insincere and unsafe. No religious group was exempted from the effect of the protest. The action was a spontaneous action that cannot be attributed to any religion or ethnic group,” Ayokunle said.