Kidnapping: Declare state of emergency, priests urge Buhari


Priests under the Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria and Justice Development and Peace Commission, have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency on kidnapping, adding that it is the best way to tackle the problem.

The clergymen, who made the call in Abuja during a stakeholders’ meeting, said the rising cases of kidnapping had not only robbed the country of peace, but also development.

The group also said that as a result of the sad situation, religious leaders had become targets for kidnappers and other criminals.

The priests also condemned cases of sexual harassment of victims of violence in internally displaced persons’ camps, asking the government to quickly check the trend and punish perpetrators.

A communiqué issued at the end of the annual meeting was signed by the International Director of CCFN and Executive Secretary of JDPC, Revd. Fr. Evaristus Bassey.

The priests said, “The JDPC/CARITAS representatives note with great sadness the re-emergence of kidnappings across the country. An unfortunate twist is the kidnapping of priests and religious sisters, who are gradually turning into endangered species.

“Unfortunately, even the poor among us are no longer safe. We, therefore, call on the government, whose primary responsibility it is to secure lives and property, to declare a state of emergency on this very critical security issue.

“We have observed with utmost dismay the reports on the incessant sexual harassments and other unholy practices at IDPs’ camps. These have led to loss of confidence among victims.

“Consequently, many people affected by this have once again become displaced and moved to new spaces seeking refuge; thereby, causing internal conflicts in places like Nassarawa State. We call on the government to ensure that this problem is handled properly.”

The priests also decried the deplorable state of prisons in the country, the inhuman and unjust treatment of inmates, especially those awaiting trial.

The statement said, “The incessant and unlawful detention of people and the brutality meted out to them by the police is hereby strongly condemned. We join our voices in advocating for the probe of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad and its review or eventual ban.

“The Nigerian judiciary is hereby encouraged to redeem the image of this democracy by ensuring the speedy dispensation of justice in accordance with the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

“We cannot blame the youths who seek a better life away from a country that offers no future to them. The wave of illegal migration is an indictment on government at all levels.

“The government should make its programmes accessible to youths who want to make a good living. However, there can be no cure for youths whose only desire is to make quick profit and become rich overnight.”
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