ONA

Onaiyekan, CAN Criticise Buhari Over Killing of Priests, Insecurity

President Muhammadu Buhari has again come under fire over recent killings of some Catholic priests and other Nigerians.

The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, His Eminence John Cardinal Onaiyekan and the Director of Legal and Public Affairs of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kwamkur Vondip, expressed concerns over increasing insecurity in the country.

They especially condemned the high rate of kidnapping in the country.

The duo, who were reacting to the recent killings of Catholic priests in Enugu and Taraba states, spoke on phone with our correspondent.

The clerics expressed sadness about the development and faulted government’s method of security operations.

Onaiyekan urged President Buhari to be strict and use all legal means without fear or favour to end the killings, kidnapping and other criminal activities.

He said: “The insecurity is getting out of hand and it is affecting everybody. In a way, we can say that we are not surprised that even the priests are not exempted from the general insecurity in the land. It is not as if those hoodlums or the bandits will take their time to make sure that they do not kill a priest. They don’t seem to have any sense of horror about anything.

“The only thing I can say about this is that my priests are also being killed. It only shows how terrible the situation is. And I must say that I am also sad when we saw President Buhari himself speaking on the issue and insisting that the people responsible for killing the reverend father should be fished out.

“On one hand, I commended his efforts, and on the other hand, we should ask too that not only the reverend fathers but all those who are killed; those who killed them should be fished out. Everybody’s life is precious and it is given by God. We are praying on this issue and doing our part.

“Everybody knows what President Buhari should do to stop this menace and I am sure Buhari also knows what to do. There is no excuse because the rate of insecurity we have in our land, no matter under what name, weather it is insurgency of Boko Haram or banditry in the Northwest or herdsmen killings in the Middle Belt or kidnapping, we have never had it so bad.

“The government should have known that their efforts so far have not yielded adequate results. It is the duty of government to make sure that people are safe in the country. You do not have to be in the opposition to know that. When they themselves are travelling on the road, don’t you see how they protect themselves? They always have armed policemen with them. That is a clear sign that the road is not safe. If the road is safe, would they need so many soldiers and policemen to protect them? If they are using so many soldiers and policemen to protect themselves, what about the rest of us?

“The matter is serious and we are not at war. Other nations are tackling their security challenges.”

Vondip said some highly placed Nigerians were benefitting from the insecurity in the country hence.

The lawyer said the situation could have been addressed with the budgetary provisions by the government.

He said if need be, the Service Chiefs, who are not performing, should be sacked by the President.

Vondip said: “For a nation as big as Nigeria, something is wrong with our security setup. With the kind of leadership we have and what they say on daily basis about their willingness to fight insecurity and crime, you can see that all is not well.

“My belief is that there is something underneath. There are a lot of compromises, and many of our national leaders know this. Some people are compromising in the same circle. The same people that are meant to protect the people are the ones arranging these killings, just like you saw in Taraba State between the police and the military. That incident should not be taken lightly.

“My suggestion is that the investigation should go beyond that, beyond what is happening, because a lot of our military men are being killed in the North. Each time the military is embarking on any operation, they will be ambushed. It is not a normal situation.

“There people that are leaking vital information to cause confusion and their purpose is either they have a project they are fighting for or they are having some financial gains.

“We have a nation with highly educated people, but you have not found anybody taking time to investigate that there should be an independent opinion on what is happening from security experts. But we seem to be quiet.

“So, anybody who speaks against it will seem to be speaking against the government, as if we are not living in this country.”

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