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Pastor Bakare on bandits as C-in-C: Islamic scholars speak

By Haroon-Ishola Balogun

Last Sunday, the general overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly Pastor Tunde Bakare lamented that bandits and kidnappers are now in charge of Nigeria during his church sermon.

He submitted that bandits, kidnappers, cattle rustlers, killer herdsmen and looters had become the commander-in-chief of Nigeria. The cleric said his stance was due to their overwhelming presence across the country and the inability of the relevant authorities to stop their activities. However, Islamic scholars have reacted to this outburst.

Pastor Bakare

Dr. Luqman AbdurRaheem, Amir, The Muslim Congress, TMC

The Muslim Congress (TMC) is seriously perturbed and disturbed by the rising wave of kidnapping,  banditry and insecurity in the country. Nigeria as a developing nation that is struggling to get it bearing right, economically, socially and politically, needs sustainable security to move to the next level.  Insecurity is the opposite of security, hence the outcomes of both are obviously not the same. Insecurity is any act that constitutes breach of peace, progress, development and tranquility, arising from wars, socio-political crises and ethno-religious conflicts. Whenever, insecurity manifests, it results in destruction of human lives and property with monumental implications and woes.“Some of the recently reported acts of insecurity are kidnapping, robbery, cattle rustling, murder, insurgency, tribal feud and endemic conflicts between ‘indigenes’ (farmers) and ‘settlers’ (herders) leading to killings in Zamfara, Benue, Plateau and other parts of Northern Nigeria. Had the security system in the country been fortified and strengthened, some of these avoidable crises would have been nipped in the bud. “It is shameful that in spite of the huge budgetary allocations to states on security in Nigeria, the issue of threat to lives and properties continues to reoccur unabated in Zamfara, Benue, Kaduna, Plateau, Adamawa (Mubi), Yobe, Bornu and pockets of other places in Nigeria. In retrospect, insecurity in Nigeria manifests in four different ways, namely, ethno-religious con?ict, politically-motivated violence, organised violent groups and economic-based violence.“The country has just concluded the general elections with tales of woes and injuries.  The Nigerian people have very tall expectations from the three levels of government (Federal, State and Local Governments). The Muslim Congress feels that the three levels of government MUST focus insecurity in their various economic blueprints. “A secured nation in practical terms MUST have seven elements of security, namely: economic security, food security, health security, environmental security, personal security, community security and political security. This is the metrics of international community. Any country that is able to meet these seven elements is viewed as a secured country.  Absence of any of these seven elements creates a state of insecurity charcterised by fear, threat and phobia. From the foregoing, security is an indispensable ingredient for the sustainable socioeconomic and political development of the nation. In meeting the commitment to engender peace and security for lives and properties, including preservation of oil, which is the main stay of the nation’s economy. “In Islam, peace is required in the family, the community, the society and the world at large. Allah says: “Indeed, there has come to you from God a Light and a clear Book wherewith God guides all those who seek His Good Pleasure to ways of peace, and He brings them out of darkness by His Will unto light and guides them to a Straight Way” (Qur’ an 5:15-16).  “Allah calls to the home of peace (Paradise) and guides whom He wills to a Straight Path” (Qur’an 10:25)

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In view of the fact that insecurity in all its forms is undesirable, The Congress gives the following policy prescriptions:“We recommend the need for the country to urgently embrace ICT-enhanced policing in all parts of Nigeria. This prescription becomes imperative because insecurity, robbery, kidnapping, terrorism and insurgency have taken a new dimension and have gone sophisticated as criminal elements have deployed high-tech approach such as mobile technology, internet technology for exploiting and unleashing criminal activities on the society. To reduce this incessant and unpleasant proliferation of modern crime, calls for the fortification of existing policing approach in Nigeria using information communication technologies.“Secondly, we recommend that the National Security Agency, which comprises the National Intelligence Agency, State Security Service, Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Customs Service, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) should be sincere and redouble their effort to keep the country safe. The constitution empowered these agencies to provide security for lives and property of Nigerians irrespective of location and ethnic divides. They are well funded and supported, what then is the problem? To whom much is given, much is expected.

“Finally, we recommend that, to curb insecurity, crime and terrorism in Nigeria, the governments and interest groups should develop sincere political will to implement the recommendations of several panels set-up to investigate the immediate and remote causes of violent con?icts in Nigeria. Overtime, these reports are left unimplemented for hidden motives – this must stop. May Allah preserve Nigeria and keep us as one indivisible entity, Amin.

Sheikh Sulaiman Adangba

It is worrisome when the men of God submits to cheap sentiments of this nature. It is right that we have these criminals amongst us but still, the government each passing day is working tirelessly to nip their activities in the bud and sanitised the Nigerian nation from the menace of these criminals. “It is therefore, the responsibility of the men of God in the house of God to sensitze their members to join hands with the government to work together to expose these elements rather than condemning the nation and its governance to shameful comments.

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