Kaduna Archbishop: Nigeria at War with Fanatics, Kidnappers, Terrorists

Most Rev. Matthew Man-Oso Ndagoso
  • Says Christians, Muslims not at war
  • Warns political leaders against unguided statements

John Shiklam in Kaduna

The Catholic Archbishop of Kaduna State, Most Rev. Matthew Ndagoso saturday condemned the rising activities of criminal elements in the country, especially in the Northern, noting that Nigeria “is at war with fanatics, kidnappers, and terrorists.”

Ndagoso, also, warned all political leaders in Kaduna State against unguided and disrespectful statements, which according to him, portrayed them as sectional and biased leaders.

He gave the warning at the funeral service of the Agom Adara, Mr. Raphael Maiwada held at St. John’s Catholic Church, Kachia, Kaduna saturday, lamenting that criminals “are 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 ransoms was said to have been paid to them.

At funeral service saturday, Ndagoso observed that the challenges facing Nigeria, particularly the North, was due to the increasing activities of fanatics, kidnappers and terrorists, who had practically made everywhere insecure and unsafe.

He said, “Let me reiterate once again that the challenge we have at hand in Nigeria, 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, however, 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 called on the federal government “to tackle the security problems across the country by investing more in security in the security sector. 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.

On this note, the cleric explained that those charged with the constitutional duty of protecting and securing lives and property should go after the criminal elements.

Recalling the bloody violence that erupted in Kaduna, Ndagoso commended security agents in the state for their quick and prompt

intervention on October 21 and Friday morning of October 26 when Kaduna became tense following the abduction and the killing of the traditional ruler.

He noted, “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.

The cleric urged security agents “to work harder, especially in the area of intelligence gathering, sharing and surveillance. There is much left to be desired in this regards.”

He said the primary responsibility of those in leadership positions at various levels “is the security of the citizenry. 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, among others, 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.”

He, also, warned political leaders in Kaduna to show maturity in their utterances and avoid making irresponsible statements that create the impression that they are partial.

He said 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.

“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 them.

The occasion was attended by important dignitaries, including politicians and some traditional rulers in the state.