The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, on Thursday stated that the North is the worst place to live in Nigeria.
He lamented the high rate of insecurity in the region, saying that bandits had become daring.
The Sultan stated this at the fourth quarterly meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council in Abuja. He noted that bandits were overrunning the North as residents slept with their eyes open.
He added that the bandits move openly with AK-47 rifles from house to house, village to village, market to market, purchasing foodstuffs and other items and even collecting change without any challenge from security agencies.
The Sultan stated that the security system in the North had completely collapsed.
“The insecurity in the north is so high that people are even afraid of travelling from Funtua to Zaria, a journey of about 48 or 50 miles. Not to talk of Sokoto to Abuja or to Kano.
“We know what we are going through. We are so insecure in the north that people are losing hope. People keep things in the house so that when the bandits come, they would let them be free.
“Security situation in Northern Nigeria has assumed a worrisome situation. Few weeks ago, over 76 persons were killed in a community in Sokoto in a day. I was there with the governor to commiserate with the affected community.
“Unfortunately, you don’t hear these stories in the media because it’s in the North. We have accepted the fact that the North does not have strong media to report the atrocities of these bandits.
“People think North is safe but that assumption is not true. In fact, it’s the worst place to be in this country because bandits go around in the villages, households and markets with their AK 47 and nobody is challenging them.
“They stop at the market, buy things, pay and collect change, with their weapons openly displayed. These are facts, I know because I am at the centre of it.
“I am not only a traditional ruler, I am also a religious leader. So, I am in a better place to tell the story. I can speak for the North in this regard because I am fully aware of the security challenges there. We have to sincerely and seriously find solutions to the problem, otherwise, we will find ourselves soon, in a situation where we would lose sleep because of insecurity,” he noted.
The Sultan spoke on the rising cost of living. He lamented the high cost of food and other things in the country.
“Food prizes are on the increase and we need to do something about it. The cost of onion is too high and beyond the reach of many people. A hungry man is an angry man. The rising cost of foodstuff in the markets is an issue. The amount an onion costs in Nigeria today is an insight into the current economic hardship in the country.
“I think we really need to sit down and look at these issues because a hungry man is an angry man. We do not lack recommendations and solutions to our problems. What we lack is implementation and that sense of purpose to do the right thing, but we don’t like doing the right thing, we always want to cut corners.”
In his statement, The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, Ignatius Kaigama, outlined a code of conduct for both Christians and Muslims in Nigeria.
“We Christians and Muslims must avoid imposing our religious views on others or denying them public amenities, jobs or influential positions because they don’t belong to our faith.
“Merit, not the vigour of our religious piety or affiliation should determine all we do or get in this country. We should not unjustly or corruptly deprive others of their rights, not to talk of wounding or killing anyone for economic or partisan political interests or because of blind religious zeal.
“It is preposterous that Nigerians clamouring for their rights and privileges from government would turn their anger on religious institutions by attacking Churches and Mosques, instigating Christians and Muslims to turn against one another or to destroy public amenities and infrastructure.
“We understand that the budget for national and state security is huge. Let us not deceive ourselves that the bigger the budget the more peace will flow. Weapons don’t bring peace.
“What we need is a change of attitude, a conversion of heart; an objective appraisal of the religious or ethnic indoctrination we perhaps were subjected to in schools or at home. If we are only propelled by religious interests that exclude others we shall always remain in chaos and darkness,” Archbishop Kaigama said.
Speaking also, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria and co-Chairman of NIREC, Dr. Samson Ayokunle, thanked God for saving Nigeria from the COVID-19 pandemic.
He urged government to tackle problems before it degenerated. Rev. Ayokunle asked the government to reverse the recent decision to hike the price of electricity and fuel.
“That’s not what we send them to do for us. The decision, evidently, has added to our pains and they should reverse it as quickly as possible.
“The development that led to #EndSARS protest was quite unfortunate, and one of that development is police brutality which ought to be addressed before now.
“We have never witnessed such a mass action in Nigeria before. People were frustrated and because those in power didn’t respond appropriately until it degenerated to that level.
“But attributing the actions of the angry youths to a particular religion or ethnic group is insincere and unsafe. No religious group was exempted from the effect of the protest. The action was a spontaneous action that cannot be attributed to any religion or ethnic group.”
Speaking also, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said that despite the efforts of the government, Nigeria still faces a measure of insecurity.
“Today, despite all efforts including the deployment of enormous resources, our country still faces a measure of insecurity which is impacting negatively on our economy, social life, education of children and young persons, investment and remains a threat to lives and livelihood,” the SGF said.
Ogbodo ThankGod is currently the Managing Director/CEO/Group Chief Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He was the Chief Editor at NaijaBuzz.News before his new top leadership role. Ogbodo has years of experience in the Nigeria Media Industry and has co-founded some media companies. He is the founder of Ogbodo Solution Nigeria and 1Push.Ng. He loves playing football and is a strong supporter of Lionel Messi who he describes as the greatest footballer of all time.