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Bandits overrunning the North, says Sultan

The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Saad Abubakar, has raised an alarm that bandits were fast overrunning the north. He said that the criminals currently carry out their activities openly, unchecked and without any form of resistance from security operatives.

The Sultan raised the alarm at the fourth quarterly meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) with the theme; ‘Questioning for peace in the challenges of insecurity,’ yesterday in Abuja. He lamented that the North has become the worst place to live in the country, as bandits now have the freewill of moving from house to house, village to village, market to market, with AK 47 guns openly as they engage in purchase of foodstuffs and other items.

The Sultan warned that given the completely collapsed security system in the North, sincere and serious solutions must immediately be sought or else, the country would lose itself in the grip of insecurity.

In his words: “Security situation in northern Nigeria has assumed a worrisome situation, that no strong media platform could report the story to the world. Few weeks ago, over 76 persons were killed in a community in Sokoto in a day.

“I was there alongside 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 doesn’t 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.

“As religious leaders, we must promote peace, love, unity and tolerance among our followers. We will discuss all these issues at the closed door session of the meeting and possibly come out with strong suggestions for government.” President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr. Samson Ayokunle, who urged the Federal Government to, without delay, reverse its recent decision to hike the price of electricity and fuel said, “That’s not what we sent them to do for us.

The decision, evidently, has added to our pains and they should reverse it as quickly as possible.” While noting that the #EndSARS protest was a wake-up call to everyone in the country, he, however, cautioned Nigerians against interpreting the recent EndSARS protest as having an ethnic or religious undertone, which, he said, could be misleading and insincere. “As a man of God, I never saw the EndSARS protest coming.

Maybe I am far from God. It came to us all unawares. Initially, I thought that the protest was organized by bad boys in the society, but when I began to see and read stories of Police brutality, I was surprised and supported their actions. “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.” On his part, Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, who commended NIREC for regularly assembling religious and traditional leaders to discuss issues of peace, love and tolerance among Nigerians, urged NIREC to use its capacities to further escalate its outreach to Nigerians, especially the youths at the grassroots.

Mustapha, who maintained that peace and security were critical ingredients for socio-economic growth and development, said all citizens must be actively involved in security related matters, particularly at their local areas, even though the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria places the responsibility for security and safety on government.”

“Today, despite all efforts, including the deployment of enormous resources, our country still faces a measure of insecurity which is impacting negatively on our economy, social life, education of children and young persons, investment, and remains a threat to lives and livelihood.

“This thus calls for better understanding and appreciation of the environment and perception of the significance of our collective efforts. The message to Nigerians at the grassroots should include the need for vigilance, national consciousness, patriotism, and personal commitment to the indivisibility of Nigeria.”

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