John Cardinal Onaiyekan, the Archbishop, Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, has urged government at all levels to do more in addressing worsening insecurity in the country.
Onaiyekan said this on Tuesday at the 5th Anniversary of Lumen Christi Television Network and Presentation of Annual Maiden Lecture at Catholic House, Lekki, Lagos.
He said: “We cannot pretend that everything is fine as people go around with fear in their hearts.
“Apart from Boko Haram senseless insurgency which has been around for the past 10 years, initially we did not see the herdsmen as terrorists, now we know.”
He urged government not allow those involved in criminal activities in the country to have free reign, saying that those caught should be prosecuted.
He said: “Nigerians are practically at the mercy of these criminals; in time past, we have our traditional culture where every able-body man went around with his cutlass, bows and arrows to defend themselves.
“Now we have disarmed ourselves so that the security agencies can protect us but they cannot protect us, the only people that carry weapons around are criminals.
“It is only the rich people and those in government that surround themselves with security men, leaving the poor helpless.”
The cleric said that he believed that the insurgents are out to Islamize the country at gun point.
He said: “My own understanding and experience is that Muslims do not agree with what the insurgents are doing.
“But they should do more and make their disagreement loud and clear that this group is giving them bad name.
“Everything boils down to good governance, if we have good governance, criminals will not have a free route, religious fanatics will not promote their religion by force.
“Those using other means like political influence and power to promote their religion at the expense of others in a way that is unjust will also have a rethink.”
The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Adewale Martins, said that all hands must be on deck to address the nation’s security challenges.
He added: If the present situation is not addressed, the sense of unity and togetherness of the Nigerian people from a psychological standpoint could be under threat.”