Onaiyekan advocates for dialogue as way to tackle insurgency

Onaiyekan advocates for dialogue as way to tackle insurgency

Monday, March 6, 2017 5:42 pm

File copy: Cardinal John Onaiyekan with Buhari

The Archbishop of Abuja, His Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, has urged the Federal Government to invest more efforts in political dialogue, deradicalisation and reconciliation strategies in the ongoing counter insurgency operations.
Onaiyekan said this at the ongoing Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) with the theme: “Nigeria: citizenship rights and responsibilities”, in Abuja on Monday.
He said that in spite of the commendable efforts of the security forces, there were still incidences of terrorist attack, which made it impossible for many people to return to their abandoned homes.
He said that complete restoration of security could not only rely on arm responses, hence the need for government to adopt other approaches to tackle insecurity in the country.
The Archbishop called on Nigerians to readjust to keeping their animals within justly acquired ranches as exploits of armed herdsmen continue to cause major concern all over the nation.
According to him, the southern Kaduna tragedy shows that we need to get to the roots of the problem in its various ramifications such as history, economics and religious.
“Some pertinent questions needed to be asked and answered with sincerity. Who arms the murderers? Who owns the cattle?
“This may lead us to find out in whose interest all these atrocities are being committed because it is not helping the religious aspect of this country.’’
He said that the constitution guarantees freedom of religion and the right to propagate a belief.
He also said that people’s beliefs should be for free acceptance not to impose it by force or any undue influence.
“All these can and must be done without engaging in making fun of others or inciting hatred against them.
“What preachers say in their Churches or Mosques determines very much how much peace and harmony we enjoy in our communities,” Onaiyekan said.
In his remarks, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos, blamed the nation for not getting into the root causes of crucial matters.
According to Kaigama, our approach is often lackadaisical, parochial or indifferent tinged with sentiments of ethnicity, regional interests and religious bias, instead of patriotism and thus crippling efforts at practical solutions.
“We have long expected measures on how to stop the menace of herdsmen from the Federal Government. The herdsmen become so fierce and assertive.
“Can the same zeal used in tackling Boko Haram not be applied? Sambisa forest has fallen, but when will the empires of kidnappers and the marauding herdsmen fall?
Kaigama, who is also the President of CBCN, commended the positive achievements by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in fighting insurgency and the renewed consciousness brought to Nigerians about the evil of corruption.


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