• Says infrastructure without security is useless
• EFCC: NGOs in North-east to seek clearance before moving cash
John Shiklam in Kaduna and Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
With Nigeria’s 59thIndependence Anniversary less than two days from today, the Catholic Bishop of Kaduna Archdiocese, Most Rev. Mathew Man’oso Ndagoso has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to seize the opportunity of the current mood of the nation to unite Nigerians, the division being a direct consequence of his election.
Ndagoso, who was perturbed about the state of security in the country, also said it would amount to a waste of resources building infrastructure in an atmosphere that does not enjoy peace.
But the President of the CLCN, Thomas Adekoya, who also lamented the security situation in the country, said the seeming hopelessness as far as security is concerned was an indication that government had reached its wits end.
Meanwhile as part of measures to contain terror-financing, the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, yesterday called on the Nigerian Army to ensure that Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) moving cash in the North-east seek clearance from the Commission before doing so.
The anti-graft agency had recently raised the alarm that some NGOs maintain over 50 bank accounts and warned bankers against collusion with sponsors of terrorism. Military sources have also raised concerns over NGOs who made advance payment for hotel accommodation for upwards of 10 years, making it difficult for travelers to secure hotel accommodation in Maiduguri.
In his homily before the commencement of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria (CLCN), on Saturday in Kaduna, at Our Lady of Apostles Catholic Church, Ndagoso since the elections were over, the President should make conscious efforts to unite Nigerians now.
The Clergyman noted that it was public knowledge that Nigerians were sharply divided following the election of Buhari and that since the exercise was over, the president must make efforts to unite the people, urging thefederal government to must wake up to its responsibility and address the declining security situation across the country.
Ndagoso, who also spoke with journalists shortly before the NEC meeting said the responsibility of government, whether democratic or military dictatorship, was to safeguard the lives and property of her citizens.
“Anybody who cares for this country must be concerned about what is happening today regarding the insecurity.What is happening in the Northeast, which has crept into the Northwest, Southeast and Southwest is becoming alarming!
“I have made this call before and I will still make it that the responsibility of any government either through the ballot or barrels of the gun or through whatever means is to safeguard the life and property of the citizenry.
“I keep saying if you build roads, build hospitals and other infrastructure, if there is no peace, all these things are useless.Any responsible government must endure that there is peace in the country. Now that elections were over, the President must ensure integration of Nigerians,” he said.
Adekoya, on his part, noted that the security situation has affected the image of the country negatively in the international community and therefore called for the restructuring of the country since the present structure seemed to be unmanageable.
“If the managers of the nation’s security have reached a cud de sac or simply put, have reached their wits end in terms of securing our lives and property, then, it means the present structure has become unmanageable.
“The federal government should therefore, as a matter of urgency, initiate moves for the restructuring of the country and saddle the federating units, which we suggest should be the six geopolitical zones, to secure themselves.
“It is saddening that our country, Nigeria, has continued to be in the eyes of local and international communities for the wrong reasons,” he said.
Further lamenting the security situation, Adekoya said, “For the past three months, or since we gave the last state of the nation address, no single day has passed without news of one gruesome killing or the other; one case of kidnapping or the other, raping of minors by matured men, including those who descend as low as raping their own innocent daughters.
“From the foregoing, it is clear that insecurity has continued to dominate our national discuss. However, our greatest worry is why the Catholic Church should be at the receiving end of some of the most bizarre of these killings.
“Late August, 2019, Rev. Fr. David Tanko was on his way to Takum in Taraba State to attend a meeting that would seek ways to end the renewed age-long Tiv/Jukun crises, when he was killed by gunmen. What made Fr. Tanko’s murder more gruesome was the fact that his assailants not only killed him, they set his body ablaze in his car.
“Earlier that same month, Rev. Fr. Paul Offu of Enugu Diocese was also murdered. And if you recall, Rev. Fr. Clement Ugwu was kidnapped and later killed about five months before Fr. Offu, also in Enugu.
“Combining the killings of these anointed men of God with others happening daily in our country reminds us of Thomas Hobbes ‘Life in the state of nature’ in which human existence is described as ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
He said nothing lends credence to the seeming state of hopelessness than the recent moves by some governors to negotiate with bandits.
“Perhaps nothing demonstrates the fact that our government has lost grip of the security situation in the country than what happened in Katsina State recently, when the State governor, with the whole gamut of his security apparatus, went into a forest to negotiate with kidnappers and other forms of criminals terrorising the state.
“While we can condone the federal government negotiating with Boko Haram for the release of Chibok girls and other similar hostages, the Katsina example only shows how deep the nation has sunk in terms of securing its citizens.
“If we hold dear that the protection of lives and property; and the welfare of citizens is the greatest responsibility of any government towards its citizens, then our present day government has fallen far short of the expectation of Nigerians, no matter any other achievements it may credit itself with.
“Nigerians are tired of losing their dear ones to these killings; Catholics are tired of mourning and burying their priests, who are daily murdered for no just cause.
“We therefore renew our call on the governments at the federal and state levels to wake up to their responsibility of protecting the lives and property of citizens.”
EFCC: NGOs in North-east to seek clearance before moving cash
Speaking during courtesy visit to the Theatre Command, Operation Lafiya Dole at Maimalari Barracks, Maiduguri, Borno State capital, Magu, urged the command to as a matter of urgency ensure that humanitarian organisations obtain clearance from EFCC before doing so.
Magu, who spoke though Head of the Maiduguri Zonal office, Lawrence Iwodi, said the commission was keeping an eye on the activities of persons and groups serving as humanitarian or aid workers within this region.
“We have successfully compiled the list of all the Non-governmental organisations operating in Borno and Yobe States also their financial activities are monitored by the EFCC, especially on the movement of cash”, he said.
According to him, the EFCC had monitored undeclared cash above N1million by individuals and organisations in Borno and Yobe states, adding that the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) had also ensured that such cash movements were reported.
Magu tasked the Nigerian Army to as a matter of urgency ensure that any humanitarian aid organisations moving or distributing cash to beneficiaries obtained clearance from the EFCC, before doing so.
“We made it mandatory for any person or group moving cash especially in areas seriously affected by the insurgency to notify the EFCC”, he stated.
Responding, the Theatre Commander, Major General Olusegun Adeniyi, said the command under his watch would not allow humanitarian aid workers to move undeclared funds in and out of the North-east.