FG frustrating governors’ efforts on security —Catholic Bishops

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Catholic bishops have decried the actions and pronouncements of agents of the Federal Government with regards to the fight against insecurity in the country, saying they were rendering the actions of state governors ineffective.

The bishops said: “It is frustrating to see governors, constitutionally empowered as the first security officers of their states being impeded and rendered ineffective by mitigating actions and pronouncements allegedly made on behalf of the Federal Government when they take lawful steps to respond to security needs in their states.”

The Catholic Bishops of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province, who stated this in a communiqué at the end of their meeting in Ibadan, on Tuesday, held that “such manner of governance that exerts itself to protect the interest of a segment of the population at the expense of the security of lives and properties of the majority makes the emergence of militias and self-appointed messiahs inevitable.”

In the communiqué entitled: ‘Building Nigeria Under the Rule of Law’, signed by the president, Most Reverend Gabriel Abegunrin and secretary, Most Reverend John Oyejola, they called on the government to allow lawful alternative security initiatives to thrive, such as the Amotekun established in the South-West region.

They said: “We join all well-meaning Nigerians who have called on the authorities to allow alternative and lawful initiatives which are established for protecting lives and properties like the South-Western Security Network (SWSN) codenamed Amotekun, to thrive. Such initiatives deserve to be supported and optimised as a complimentary security organisation for the benefit of the people in different parts of Nigeria.”

The clerics said the current security realities in the country had made it “more necessary than ever to demand the review of Nigeria’s security architecture,” noting that “given the campaign promises of the present government and the cauldrons of insecurity erupting all over the country, it is unfortunate that the Federal Government has remained impervious to this call.”

They lamented that “as a consequence, we parade a Nigerian Army that has not been able to effectively check the atrocities of Boko Haram for over a decade. How does one deny the allegation that kidnapping and banditry are abated by government when even state governments pay bandits and herdsmen as a means of placating them? How can we claim to have Nigeria Police when the body is no longer trusted to protect the same people it was set up to serve in many parts of the country?”

The bishops said they are in support of the efforts by governors to curb insecurity in their various states, saying “we identify with the ongoing effort of the governors of some South-West states to regulate the activities of Fulani herdsmen within the zone and for the communiqué issued after their recent meeting with stakeholders.

“We note that insincerity, selfish interests and lack of political will had in the past caused needless destruction of lives and properties, and inflicted untold pain and hardship on innocent citizens.

“However, our governors must shun deceptive adulations and empty promises on issues that impact the security of lives and properties.

“They must work with the security agencies to courageously implement the law in all cases and sanction those who blatantly and murderously flout it in their territories. No Nigerian or foreigner should be above the law in any part of the country.”

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