A former President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie, has said criminals anywhere in the country must face similar punishment for their attocities, regardless of their ethnic origins.
Okogie maintained Nigeria urgently needs a leadership that is competent, accountable and responsible, especially as the country now faces serious and multiple security crises.
The former Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, in a statement made available to journalists Thursday, titled: ‘We need to know who owns the land’, explained Nigerians must come together to discuss the unity of the country.
Okogie was worried why the Federal Government and Nigeria's armed forces had not used the same force employed on #EndSARS protesters on criminals across the country.
Okogie spoke: “We must tell ourselves the truth: Nigerians have fallen victims of dirty and wicked politics whose actors engage and arm their militias during the season of electioneering campaign, fail to disarm them, and fail to settle debt owed to them after the campaign
“Could it be the case, as some have been suggesting that the arms they used to terrify political opponents are what they now use to traumatise Nigerians?
“Innocent lives are lost every day. There is bloodshed in our land. The psyche of the average Nigerian is subjected to torture. Our children are being abducted at school. Their abduction represents abduction of the future of Nigeria.
“Nigeria is in dire need of responsible, accountable and competent leadership. We need leaders who unite, not those who divide in order to get into power and consolidate power. Nigeria does not need leaders who divide and exploit the division.
“We are in urgent need of a leader who will preside over our ethnic and religious diversity to unite and not to divide. I ask again: who owns the land?”
According to the vocal cleric, so many questions beg for answers.
He recalled that in a not-too-distant past when news came that arms were being smuggled into Nigeria, “we asked: who has been bringing arms to Nigeria? Was anyone put on trial for this crime? If so, what was the outcome of the trial?”
The retired archbishop asked more questions, “Why is it that our government has not been able to secure this land and its inhabitants? Why is it that Nigerians are no longer safe in a country they call their own?
“Why is it that our security agents eagerly and forcefully dispersed young and defenseless Nigerians, peacefully protesting the iniquities of the same agents, only to fail or refuse to apprehend those who are terrorising us day and night?
“To these and related questions, Nigerians are yet to receive credible answers from our security agencies.
“The matter is not about ‘Fulani herdsmen’ neither is it about ‘northern bandits,’ it is about criminals who, irrespective of their ethnic or religious or regional affiliation, must be identified, apprehended, prosecuted and, if found guilty, treated according to the laws of the land.
“It is about searching out their sponsors and bringing them to justice,” Okogie said.