By Chris Ochayi
ABUJA – Worried by the spate of bloodbath in the country, the Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace, IDFP, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to review the current security measures in order to effectively secure the lives and property of Nigerians.
President Muhammadu Buhari speaks with Military men in Operation base via NigComSat. With are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Minister of Defence, Bgrig General Mansur Dan Ali, President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki and other Service Chiefs during the Wreath Laying ceremony of 2017 Armed Forces Remembrance Day at the Arcade in Abuja. File Photo
The IDFP is a peace dialogue platform that comprises Nigerian Christian and Muslim leaders and works towards interfaith dialogue among members of the two religions.
The group also called on the President to ensure that all Nigerians, irrespective of ethnic and religious persuasions, are guaranteed the rights to life and ownership of property in wherever they choose.
The IDFP, in a statement issued, Tuesday in Abuja by its Co-Chairmen, Bishop Sunday Onuoha and Alhaji Ishaq Kunle Sanni, respectively, expressed grave concern over what it said ceaseless culture of bloodbath ripping apart Nigeria and the resultant horrifying death toll.
According to it “Hardly a day passes without news report of some killings by gunmen and destruction of communities in the country.
“From Benue to Zamfara, Nasarawa to Kogi, Plateau to Kaduna, Borno to Yobe, Taraba to Adamawa, among other theaters of unprovoked killings, agents of violence have unleashed violence that is most appalling.
“Kidnappings, cattle rustling, reduction of once peaceful and thriving communities into rubbles and wanton attacks on innocent Nigerians by these blood-thirsty murderers have become the lots of our citizens.
“As religious leaders, we categorically condemn all forms of violence and killings in the name of religion. We are outraged at the recent attack on a Catholic Church in Benue state that resulted in the death of 20 worshippers, including two priests.
“We are equally agonized over the reprisal attack in Benue that led to the killing of no fewer than 25 Muslims and destruction of two mosques.
“As President Muhammadu Buhari rightly pointed out, we should never allow the enemies of this country to ignite a religious war.
“These killings on both sides have not only revealed the impudence and lack of respect for worship centres, but also clearly reveals the urgent need on the Federal Government to review security measures in order to effectively secure the lives and property of Nigerians.
“Against the backdrop of mass killings in various parts of our nation, we call on all Nigerians to unite and not allow agents of destruction open the gates for chaos and destruction in the country.”
The IIDFP noted that “In a bid to stave off further killings and perpetuation of criminal acts in various parts of the country, we call on President Buhari to ensure that all Nigerians, irrespective of ethnic and religious persuasions, are guaranteed the rights to life and ownership of property in wherever they choose.
“If we must avoid the Rwanda experience, our political leaders must rise up to the occasion and halt the nation’s descent into an abyss of barbarity. Our leaders must put aside every difference and confront the monsters of violence that have bled the heart of our Nation.
“All those found to have been behind past violence and criminal acts should be dealt with, no matter their status in the society.
“Considering the imperatives of both the Legislative and Executive arm of Government in ensuring good governance, we hereby appeal to both President Buhari and Senate President Bukola Saraki to work in harmony and strengthen the security machinery of the nation to confront these merchants of destruction.
“As religious leaders, we are calling on our members to embark on advocacy exercise and appeal for calm among our citizens towards building mutual trust among various faiths.
“We call on the Federal Government to punish all those involved in past violence in order to serve as deterrent to others. There should never be sacred cows in dealing with the enemies of our country who have found solace in creating chaos to realise their aspirations.
“When criminal acts are not punished, potentials criminals are encouraged to violate the laws. IDFP recommends the full weight of the law on anyone found wanting.
“Finally, we wish to console all relatives of those killed in these carnages in various parts of Nigeria and calling on all our members to leave no stone unturned in preaching peace and unity across our faith. “