By John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Catholic Archbishop of Kaduna, Most Rev. Matthew Man-Oso Ndagoso, has condemned the increasing activities of criminal elements in the country, especially in the northern states, declaring that Nigeria is at war with fanatics, kidnappers and terrorists.
He also warned political leaders in Kaduna State against unguided and disrespectful statements which portray them as sectional and bias.
In a homily at the funeral mass of the late traditional ruler, the Agom Adara, Mr. Galadima Raphael Maiwada, at St. John’s Catholic Church, Kachia, Headquarter of Kachia Local Government Area of Kaduna State Saturday, the clergy man said criminals were killing and maiming innocent Nigerians and making everywhere unsafe for citizens.
The traditional ruler, who was abducted on October 19 by gunmen on his way from Kaduna to his palace in Kachia, was later killed by the kidnappers on October 26, after a N10 million ransom was said to have been paid to them.
Ndagoso said the challenges facing the country, particularly the north, is the increasing activities of fanatics, kidnappers and terrorists who have made everywhere unsafe.
“Let me reiterate once again that the challenge we have at hand in the country, especially in the northern part, is not a war between Christians and Muslims.
“No. Christians and Muslims are not at war with each other. Our country is at war with fanatics, kidnappers, terrorists
and opportunists who are criminals in every sense of the word, killing and maiming innocent Nigerians regardless of religion, ethnicity and political
leanings,” he said.
He called on the federal government to tackle the security problems across the country by investing more in security in the security sector.
He noted that without security that will enable the citizenry to move around freely to conduct their daily businesses, the roads, railways, hospitals, schools etc that are built will become useless.
“Therefore those charged with the constitutional duty of protecting and securing our lives and property should and must go after them,” he said.
Recalling the bloody violence that erupted in Kaduna, Ndagoso commended security agents in the state for their quick and prompt intervention on Sunday afternoon of October 21 and
Friday morning of October 26 when Kaduna became tense following the abduction and the killing of the traditional ruler.
“If not for that quick intervention, the consequences for all of us would have been better imagined.
“We are not oblivious of the enormous challenges facing them in these very difficult and trying moments.
“We know that very often they put their lives on the line to make us safe.
“This said, I believe that like everything else in life there is always room for improvement,” he said.
According to him, security agents need to work harder, especially in the area of intelligence gathering, sharing and surveillance, stressing that there is much left to be desired in this regard.
Ndagoso emphasised that the primary responsibility of those in leadership positions at various levels, is the security of the citizenry.
He said: “I wish to remind them that the primary duty of every government anywhere in the world is the security of the lives and property of the citizenry.
“Given the current pervasive situation of insecurity in the country, from Adamawa to Zamfara, Borno through Plateau, Kaduna, Benue, Taraba etc; those with the constitutional duty of securing the lives and property of Nigerians must wake up and do more than they are doing now to make us more secure.
“What Nigerians need now is security not excuses. The past three years had been excuses and excuses.
“Given where we are in terms of insecurity, it is my view that
governments at all levels need to do more than they are doing now and pay more attention to this sector more than any.
“Without adequate security that enables the citizenry to move around freely to conduct their daily businesses, the roads, railways, hospitals, schools etc that we build will become useless.
“These infrastructures can only be gainfully used when there is peace and security enabling free and secure movements.”
The clergy man also warned political leaders in Kaduna State to show maturity in their utterances and avoid making irresponsible statements that create the impression that they are partial.
“It is said and rightly so that true leaders are known in difficult and trying moments.
“At moments such as the one we are faced with in Kaduna today, political leaders should show maturity and wisdom in dealing with difficult and challenging situations by being careful with their words and actions so that they do not, by any stretch of imagination create the impression that they are partial” the Catholic Archbishop warned.
He said: “Once a leader by whatever means, all in your constituency regardless of their ethnic, political, social or religious leanings come under your protective care.
“Unguarded statements that bear the semblance of insensitivity and disrespect for perceived wrong doers should and must be avoided by any leader worthy of the name.”
He described the late traditional ruler as a gentleman to the core and who served his people, the state and the Catholic Church diligently.
He appealed to members of the Archdiocese and beyond to continue to remain calm and peaceful in order to allow the security agents fish out the criminals involved in the dastardly act and deal with them.
The occasion was attended by important dignitaries, including politicians and some traditional rulers in the state.