The Prelate and Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, His Eminence Nzie Nsi Eke
Rising Insecurity: Better to re-adjust than to divide, PCN Urges immediate action
The Prelate and Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, His Eminence Nzie Nsi Eke and the entire leadership of Church have expressed deep concern over the current security challenges facing the nation, stating that it is better for Nigeria to embrace restructuring than allow the political entity to disintegrate.
The Church called on the Federal Government to urgent put machinery in place to restore peace and order in parts of the country where are characterized by the expanding terror activities of Boko Haram, seemingly intractable menace of bandits, unrelenting violence of herdsmen against farmers and communities and lately, the disturbing destruction of public buildings and murder of security personnel by ‘unknown gunmen.’
In a statement on Tuesday, the Church said “it now seems like hardly a day will pass without Nigerians being inundated by fresh news of the blood of innocent individuals being spilled by hoodlums for no just reason other than some people believing that their causes can get national attention only through taking other people’s lives and causing as much destruction and mayhem as possible”.
The statement by its Head of Information and Public Affairs Department, Rev. Nnoke Ibe noted that the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria is also extremely worried that the criminal acts of kidnapping for ransom has become a major business in the nation and innocent citizens are the major victims.
THE FULL STATEMENT
STATEMENT ON THE STATE OF THE NATION: NIGERIA MUST ADDRESS THE CURRENT SECURITY CHALLENGES
The Prelate and Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, His Eminence Nzie Nsi Eke and the entire leadership of Church express deep concern over the current security challenges facing the nation today characterized by the expanding terror activities of Boko Haram, seemingly intractable menace of bandits, unrelenting violence of herdsmen against farmers and communities and lately, the disturbing destruction of public buildings and murder of security personnel by ‘unknown gunmen.’ It now seem like hardly a day will pass without Nigerians being inundated by fresh news of the blood of innocent individuals being spilled by hoodlums for no just reason other than some people believing that their causes can get national attention only through taking other people’s lives and causing as much destruction and mayhem as possible.
The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria is also extremely worried that the criminal acts of kidnapping for ransom has become a major business in the nation and innocent citizens are the major victims. It is unnerving that the kidnappers have spread their evil tentacles to almost every part of Nigeria. The sacred learning environments of schools have become the viable operating zones for these miscreants and students are being kidnapped at will while parents are forced to pay ransoms which run into millions of naira in order to get their children released. Unfortunately, many of these kidnapped victims do not survive to tell their stories.
We are forced to admit that Nigeria is gradually approaching a precipice which might plunge us into an uncontrollable state of anarchy. It has reached a stage that every well-meaning Nigerian should be worried. Those of the older generation cannot but reminiscence over similar scenario that led to the civil war of 1967 to 1970 in which countless innocent souls were lost in the bitter battles and consequences of war. It is even more frightening with the report that Boko Haram has occupied and raised their flags over communities in Niger State, few kilometers from the Federal Capital Territory. To cap all these worrisome reports, the activities of separatists who are making stringent calls for the division of the country is getting louder by the day and are also beginning to take violent dimensions.
The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria like every other responsible institution is expressing her deep concern over this unfortunate situation in Nigeria today and we hereby make these observations:
1. Before the Almighty God, human blood remains sacrosanct and no agitation or cause is worth the spilling of blood. A nation that does not regard the sacredness of human life and allows blood to be shed at will suffer severe negative consequences. Therefore, it has become necessary to call on all Nigerians to collectively condemn the current trend of bloodletting in the nation.
2. We want to establish and reinforce the fact that the responsibility of finding solution to the problem of insecurity in Nigeria falls primarily on the federal government. Though we acknowledge that many measures have been put in place to restore calm and security in the country, the current situation clearly shows that those measures are either not effective or are not enough. At some points it seems as if the leaders are out of ideas or even confused about the situation. Excuses have been made and factors have been blamed. These have not helped the situation. We therefore encourage the governments to think of proactive and innovative ideas to bring lasting solution to the problem. We suggest that criminals should be treated as criminals without fear or favour and the full weight of the law should be applied to those who run afoul of it. The government should not be seen to favour one group over another and treat any set of criminals with kids’ gloves while others are handled with the sledge hammer.
3. The present situation has given rise to many groups now advocating ethnic independence and division of the country. These groups are rising probably because they have reasons to think that the Nigerian project does not treat them with fairness and equity. The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria believes that there is need for these agitations to be looked into objectively in order to address them. The nation can no longer continue to play the ostrich, pretending that all is well. We fear that Nigeria might be plunged into uncontrollable crisis situation if these agitations are waved aside as being irrelevant or if they are not treated with care and tact. Our government should acknowledge the seriousness of the situation and act promptly.
Based on the above, we hereby state the following:
1. It is important that an atmosphere for dialogue be created by the federal government where Nigerians should vent their emotions and discuss and reaffirm the basis of our existence as a nation in order to make it stronger and more united. The agitations of the various activists should not be ignored. It is always better to talk in other to discover a common ground despite our religious, political and ethnic differences.
2. The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria makes a passionate appeal to all agitating groups to reconsider their stand on violence. Nothing good is ever achieved through anarchy. Vandalism and shedding of blood are marks of terrorism and no genuine agitation should ever be associated with such. We still believe that every concern and disagreement can be adequately addressed through cordial engagement and dialogue rather than confrontation.
3. We appeal to our political leaders not to plunge the nation into a state of anarchy through their utterances, behaviours and political maneuvering. We condemn every inflammatory pronouncement that have been emanating from some political quarters lately. Every political officer must act responsibly at this time to forestall aggravating an already bad situation. Our position is that every political leader and other individuals should be held responsible for the consequences of their behavior.
4. It is becoming more certain that Nigeria can no longer work under the prevailing political structure and frame. The cry of discontent from almost all the constituting ethnic groups has reached a level that it can no longer be ignored. We believe that it is better to re-adjust than to divide. We therefore want to strongly identify with those who are calling for the restructuring of the country to accommodate all political and religious views and also to meet the yearnings and aspirations of all ethnic nationalities. This basis of a continuing union must be decided by Nigerian without compulsion and pressure.
In conclusion, we submit that since everything that happens on earth come by divine arrangement, we believe that Nigeria is a divine project. Our difficulties today can be overcome through God’s sovereign intervention. The Church therefore calls for fervent prayers and seeking the face of God for divine intervention. We therefore enjoin all peoples of faith to seriously pray for our dear nation for peace and safety to return. We all have a stake in this country and we should not regard one part more guilty than the other. Let us put an end to the blame game and join hands together with the governments to tackle the situation. We therefore call on all Nigerians to join the Day of Fast and Prayer slated for Friday,28th May by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to address the state of the nation.
May God continue to bless Nigeria.
RELEASED ON BEHALF OF THE PRINCIPAL CLERK, THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF NIGERIA BY REV. NNOKE IBE PhD
HEAD, DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Kings UBA is a Nigerian journalist and writer. I have reported for major local and international news organisations. I write satire. In 2017, I started contributing stories primarily to Discover Africa News Network. I can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org. I currently manage Discover Africa News social media handles