The Christian Association of Nigeria and the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs have reacted to the latest alert by the Department of State Services warning of impending ethic and religious crisis in the country.
Both bodies, which spoke through their spokesmen on Wednesday, said it was not enough for the Secret Police to raise the alarm, but to go after perpetrators of crimes, as not all those who committed atrocities in the past have been brought to justice.
The spokesman of the DSS, Dr. Peter Afunanya, had on Wednesday in a statement said: “The Department of State Services (DSS) hereby reminds the public of its earlier warnings about plans by persons and groups to exploit some fault lines to cause ethno-religious violence in parts of the country.
“Latest developments indicate desperate efforts by these groups to subvert public order. In this regard, they have continued to resort to inciting, unguarded and divisive statements and acts. The objective is to pit citizens against one another in order to apparently inflame the embers of tribal and religious discords.
“For the umpteenth time, the Service strongly warns these elements to desist forthwith from their (planned) nefarious acts or face the full wraths of the law. However, the DSS will, in collaboration with other security and law enforcement agencies, take necessary steps to ensure the safety of lives and property of the citizenry.”
Reacting to the statement, Rev. Bayo Oladeji, the spokesman of the CAN President, Rev. Sam Ayokunle, said: “Whenever the DSS raises any alarm over the security of the country, ordinarily, one should take them seriously because of the fact that their primary responsibility includes but not limited to intelligence gathering.
“We recall that the agency raised a similar alarm recently.
“But how many suspects have been arrested, detained and arraigned in connection with the last ones?
“Are they not aware that people are being kidnapped on the highways and in their residences without any arrest?
“We wonder whether those shedding innocent blood and those who are kidnapping for ransom are spirit?
“CAN, therefore, calls on those who are responsible for the security of lives and properties of the people to wake up to their constitutional responsibilities.
“The primary responsibility of every responsible government is the protection of lives and property of its citizens.
“Our governments have not been able to do that.
“Sometimes, some suspects are paraded before the cameras but their prosecution remains unknown.
“This doesn’t speak well of us as a nation.
“Terrorists, bandits, kidnappers and other criminals are not invincible and until they are apprehended and successfully prosecuted, people will no longer have respect for those who are in charge of the security.”
Oladeji equally accused the Federal Government of politicising security issues and appointments, citing the controversy trailing the tenure of the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, as an example.
He said: “Is that good for the country when we all know the aftermath of prolonging the tenure of the immediate past Service Chiefs?
“Our government should stop politicising our security.
“Things are becoming increasingly complicated daily.
“Criminals are operating as if our security agencies are on holiday.
“We have been calling for a complete overhaul of the security architecture in vain.
“May we be delivered from criminals who are now operating with impunity.”
Speaking on behalf of the NSCIA, which is headed by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, its Head of Media and Communication, Aselemi Ibrahim, said: “We call on the security apparatus, especially the DSS, to fish out these enemies of the state and deal with them according to the law.
“This is because it is only when criminal elements are punished that we can effectively give potency to deterrence.
Ibrahim said the NSCIA will continue to advocate respect for the religious beliefs of all and peaceful coexistence in Nigeria.
He said: “We sincerely believe that we are greater together.
“The Council will like to use this medium to applaud the majority of Nigerians for their tenacity in the defence of the unity and diversity of the country.
“We cannot leave security matters to security agencies alone.
“If you see something, say something.”