Onaiyekan: Regressive Forces Have No Business in Politics

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Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, arrives for a consistory in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican in this June 28, 2017, file photo. In a speech in Rome Jan. 8, Cardinal Onaiyekan said he doesn't want to find a moderate Muslim to dialogue with, but one who is convinced of his faith. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See VATICAN-LETTER-DIALOGUE Jan. 11, 2018.

Segun James

Former Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan saturday noted any elected public official, who cannot develop Nigeria, had no business becoming a politician.

Onaiyekan made the remarks at a migration conference tagged “Action against Irregular Migration of Nigerians” in Abuja, decrying the spate of attacks in various parts of the country, saying citizens are now at the mercy of criminals.

At the conference, the cleric condemned the recurrent cases of attacks and banditry in various parts of the country particularly in Zamfara and Kaduna states. Major roads in the two states, especially the Abuja-Kaduna highway, have been abandoned by many as a result of high cases of abduction.

Onaiyekan said there “is great need for government to step up measures to address the insecurity in the country.” He decried cases where citizens are forced to pay ransoms to secure their release or that of their loved ones.

He said: “If you have no idea of how to develop Nigeria through education, security, amongst others then, do not go into politics. This same kidnapping issue happened along Lokoja /Kabba road some years back; I could not travel then.

“I could not understand that 30 kilometres of road cannot be policed. It just gives you a very sad impression that we are really at the mercy of the criminals. So you get ready to pay them, this is not the way to live.”

He, therefore, has urged the Federal Government to urgently address the insecurity along the Abuja-Kaduna expressway, which he said had led to the kidnapping and killing of many Nigerians.

The cleric said citizens were at the mercy of kidnappers and bandits who according to him, were waging a war against ordinary citizens and extorting huge ransoms from them.

On irregular migration, the cleric noted that migration was a fundamental right of every human being, but added that it must be done in ways that would not violate the laws of the host nation.

Meanwhile, the Attahiru Bafarawa Foundation has concluded plans for a security summit to address “involvement of individuals in crime, instill a culture of law and restore public trust in security services.”

The Chairman of the foundation and former governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, attributed the rising violence and criminality in the North to impunity and the failure of the government to punish the perpetrators.

He pointed out that the economy was gradually crumbling due to weak security governance, citing the high level of banditry and kidnapping in Zamfara, Kaduna, Sokoto, Katsina and other parts of the country.

He noted that the insurgency in the North-East and the associated violence in North-West and North-Central had destroyed the socio-economic infrastructure in the regions and also made them unappealing to investors.He said the security situation, ineffective security governance, and social development arrangements undermine Nigeria’s ability to establish and maintain a viable economy that can sustain acceptable levels of wellbeing for the majority of its citizens particularly the young and vulnerable.

Weakened governance structures further undermine the rule of law and the potential for human development.”