•Army takes delivery of arms, ammunition from Slovakia
Iyobosa Uwugiaren and Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson Ayokunle, yesterday advised President Muhammadu Buhari to be more committed to the protection of lives and property, saying that for stability to reign in the country, both Christians and Muslims must embrace peace as a way of life.
This came as the Nigerian Army in its renewed bid to contain the twin problems of terrorism and armed banditry in Northern Nigeria, yesterday disclosed that it had taken delivery of arms and ammunition from Slovak Republic.
Ayokunle spoke in Abuja at the seventh Ufuk Dialogue, Peace and Award Ceremony in Abuja.
The CAN president, who was represented by the Acting General Secretary of CAN, Joseph Daramola said Nigeria has people who are sincere to turn things around for the better, adding that government has all the equipment to secure lives and property.
Also speaking at the event, former Deputy Governor of Plateau State, Pauline Tallen, expressed serious concern about the deteriorating security situation in the country and advised security agencies to be fair and sincere in tackling the menace.
Tallen called on Muslims and Christians to always live in peace with one another.
“God should give us the heart of love to love one another. Be you a Christian or Muslim, we are all children of God and we must live in peace with one another. I pray and my heart goes out to all those who have lost their loved ones through the various crises in some states,’’ she added.
“I believe with this type of coexistence God will answer our prayers. And we should love one another. May God bless our leaders, Nigeria and President Muhammadu Buhari with good health, long life and wisdom to move Nigeria forward and to the next level we are looking up to.
“My advice to the security agencies is for them to be fair and sincere in tackling the security situation in Nigeria because it is most unfortunate that innocent lives are taken. I wonder why anybody should fight for God.
“For us to take life in the name of religion is unacceptable. We need peace because without peace there will be no development.”
Earlier while speaking, the president of Ufuk Dialogue, Kamil Kemanci, said that the platform was created as a tool for promoting societal peace, love, respect and compassion in support of human dignity and the greater good by striving to preserve the common values of humanity: values such as respect, tolerance, peace and mutual understanding.
According to him, “Today, we need dialogue and peace more than we need food and shelter. Dialogue and peaceful coexistence have always been and still remain a need, a must for us to have a healthy and more productive society.”
Dignitaries including, Aisha Buhari, wife of the President; Rev. Ayokunle, Sheikh Shariff Ibrahim Saleh Al-Hussaini, Chairman, Fatwa Committee Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and Chairman, Assembly of Muslims in Nigeria, were conferred with awards.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army yesterday said it had taken delivery of arms and ammunition from Slovak Republic in bid to contain the twin problems of terrorism and armed banditry in Northern Nigeria.
This is the second time the army is taking delivery of weapons and ammunition in seven months.
A large consignment of ammunition was delivered at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, in October, 2018.
A Boeing 747-400 Cargo Plane landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, yesterday morning, bearing light and heavy arms.
THISDAY checks showed that the weapons would to be deployed to Operation Lafiya Dole in the North-east and the ongoing war against armed banditry in the North-west.
More weapons from the same country are also believed to be on the way.
A military source said the “weapons were ordered by the federal government to boost the ongoing war against insurgency and armed banditry and other criminal activities in Nigeria. More cargoes are expected to arrive soonest”.
The arms procurement is believed to be a move towards the Eastern and Central European countries in the face of difficulties encountered by government in purchasing arms from other Western powers.
For instance, government and military sources have expressed frustration following difficulties encountered in the delivery of the 12 Super Tucano planes ordered by Federal Government in early 2018 from the United States.
With the urgency required in the delivery of the fighter planes in the face of the ongoing war against insurgency in the North-east, military sources could not come to terms with the delay in the delivery of the aircraft.
US government had promised to deliver the planes in 2020 and later moved the delivery date to 2022 in spite of the uproar generated by the $1 billion payment to the US government at the National Assembly who contended that the purchase was unconstitutional, President Muhammadu Buhari, having not sought approval from the parliament before making payment.
Recently, Nigeria sought the assistance of the Russian Federation in modernising Nigeria’s military arsenal.
Speaking at a recent international security conference in Moscow, Minister of Defence, Brigadier-General Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd), said Nigeria would leverage on Russia’s experience in counterterrorism to eliminate Boko Haram and the Islamic State for West African Province (ISWAP) operating in Nigeria.
“Nigeria also seek your assistance with critical infrastructural development, especially the modernisation of its military arsenal”, he said.
In the past months, violence, especially armed banditry, has remained a common feature in the country, notably in the North-west, leading to loss of many lives and destruction of property.
The bandits appear to have defied security arrangements, putting the country under siege and depicting a government in a fix as regards finding a solution to the spiraling crime situation.
The situation also prompted former President Olusegun Obasanjo to raise the alarm that soldiers at the war front were poorly equipped.