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Anglican Bishop berates Nigerian leaders for prioritizing election over national crisis

Anglican Bishop berates Nigerian leaders for prioritizing election over national crisis - crisis, Bishop, Anglican

By Praise Necherem

The Anglican of Awka Diocese, Dr. Alex Ibezim has expressed worry over the emphasis being placed on the next year’s general elections by political parties against the prevalent cas­es of insecurity in the country. He frowned at the way the President Muhammadu Buhari–led Federal Government is handling the men­ace of herdsmen across the nation.

Delivering his Presidential Charge at the 2ndSession of the 11th Synod of the Diocese theme, ‘Mission, the heart of God,” at St. Peters Amawbia, the urged politicians not to pur­sue it “with senseless desperado and indiscretion.”

He also urged Buhari to stop treating the killers with levity, not­ing that a group that had killed thousands of should not be treated as kinsmen.

The bishop who wondered what Buhari’s silence on the issue could mean, stressed that “ are tired of speeches and condo­lence messages to victims. “If this country will continue to remain as , then those who perpetrate crime must be dealt with accord­ingly without minding whose ox is gored,” he noted.

He noted that the return of de­mocracy in 1999 that ought to be a kind of political liberation had been allowed to divide Nigerians into re­ligious and ethnic cleavages.

His words, “Nigeria, a major oil producer and Africa’s most pop­ulous nation and second-largest economy, is facing challenges. Most political parties are much more concerned about upcoming elections rather than the burning issues of the country.

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“Political liberalisation ushered in by the return to civilian rule in 1999 has allowed militants from religious and ethnic groups to pur­sue their demands through vio­lence. Separatist aspirations have also been growing, prompting re­minders of the bitter civil war over the breakaway Biafran republic in the late 1960s.

The cleric regretted that while the nation was still reeling from the Boko Haram insurgency and its numerous atrocities, another terrorist group, which he referred to as Fulani herdsmen, sprouted.

According to him, between 2014 and 2018, herdsmen had killed over 1,229 people across the country with Benue, Taraba, Nassarawa, Plateau, Kaduna and Katsina as the worst hit states. “The group has done enough havoc to be acknowl­edged by the global community as the fourth deadliest terror group in the world. They are armed with sophisticated weapons and usual­ly attack their target communities at a time they are most vulnerable such as at midnight or on Sundays when they are in , killing people indiscriminately and burn­ing houses and looting properties.

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“Most worrisome is the brutality and impunity with which the as­sailants operate without regard for the law and the sanctity of human life. The Nigerian police and even the military seem powerless to de­fend the victims from being merci­lessly slaughtered in their homes.

“It is unfortunate that this level of impunity is happening in a sovereign nation with a con­stitution which declares that the security and welfare of the citizens shall be a major responsibility of the state. Perhaps we need to ask why the police and the military are incapable of protecting the farm­ers from violent attacks by Fulani herdsmen. Is it true that the Fu­lani militias are better armed and sometimes outnumber the police?

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“Why is it difficult for the Fed­eral Government to contain the terror of the Fulani militia? Who are those arming the Fulani herds­men to unleash mayhem on inno­cent and defenceless Nigerians?” Ibezim queried.

On the anti corruption fight, the bishop alleged that the govern­ment was harbouring the actors in corruption field instead of fighting it to a halt He said, “It does seem the fight against corruption for which this administration was vot­ed into power has slowed down, if not jettisoned. People had ex­pected prompt prosecution and incarceration of offenders, to deter others, but what we witnessed was a situation where some key officials of this administration were involved in unwholesome acts, ca­pable of tarnishing the image of government.

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