The Sultan of Sokoto and President of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, says these days, security operatives only appear at scenes of attacks to mock victims long after bandits have struck.
He spoke in Abuja on Thursday at the second quarterly meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), with the theme ‘Media and Effective Nation Building’.
The sultan described the resurgence of insecurity after the general elections as very alarming.
He said, “Throughout the campaigns and the elections, we never had these cases of insecurity. Suddenly, after the elections, the killings continued across Niger, Plateau, Kaduna and other places.
“These killings are definitely not related to religion, but the activities of some set of uninformed people.
“Imagine a situation where bandits would invade a community, kill people and destroy their properties, with little or no resistance from the security officials, only for the security officials to appear long after the attacks and perhaps, to mock the people or look at the ashes of destroyed items.
“Few days ago, it was reported that some United States Embassy staff were killed and burnt in Anambra State. That’s barbaric and shouldn’t have happened because there is no justification for that.
“Why this resurgence? Definitely, these resurgences are not religious. Since a new government is coming in, we’re sure we can engage the government to hit the ground running in bringing solutions to these problems.
“But we cannot continue that way because when bandits just go into people’s communities, kill them and burn their houses and nothing is done, then when the deed is done, the security agencies will go there to do what? To look at the ashes that are being burnt?”
The sultan noted that the media is a critical stakeholder in nation building and should be involved in government activities and programmes.
He said, “Take a look at what’s happening across the countries of the world where the media compromised in quality, facts and truth. It’s unfortunate that Sudan is going through war and the role of the media is crucial in ending or prolonging the war.
“The media played a different role in the 2023 elections. The media will also play a crucial role in the coming administration. So, we expect to hear from the media professionals on their challenges and expectations and pass the message to the incoming government,” he said.
Also speaking President, Christian Association of Nigeria and co-chairman of NIREC, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, said the media has the power to prevent religious and ethnic crises in Nigeria “if they see their job as a calling and not a profession”.
According to him, media professionals have the power and platform to cause and end crises, just as they have enough information “to set different religions and ethnic nationalities on collusion, hence the need for the professionals to understand the situation in Nigeria.”
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, noted that NIREC is saddled with the responsibility of providing leadership for the religious institutions in the country towards a harmonious and peaceful coexistence of the citizenry.
He said the blueprint and terms of reference of NIREC provided the space and capacity that could give Nigeria a national renaissance and peaceful coexistence.
NIREC Executive Secretary, Prof. Cornelius Afebu Omonokhua, said to grow a healthy society, there is need for justice and good governance, hence each level and societal class need some coordination for peaceful co-existence.