Sultan of Sokoto and President of the Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III has declared Northern Nigeria as the worst place to live in the country.
The Sultan made the declaration on Thursday in Abuja at the 4th Quarter Meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) which he co-chairs.
He also complained about the high cost of living in the country, especially the prizes of foodstuff which he said have skyrocketed to high heavens and beyond the reach of majority.
Said he, “We must obey all laws. We have heard people calling for the scrapping of SARS; the President has done that and we later said, bring police back. We cannot do without the Police; we cannot do without our security agencies. No matter (how) bad the security agencies are, there are still excellent officers.
“What we need to do is to fish out the bad elements from the security agencies and to reform the agencies. Abusing the Police, abusing soldiers, abusing security agencies would not augur well for us because, by the time we drag into anarchy, everybody would be on it, and then there would be serious problem in the country.
“We have security problems in the country, bandits now go into people’s houses to kidnap, not on the highway anymore. Of recent in the last couple of days, they are going into institutions, in Zaria; ABU, the Polytechnic and took away people,” the sultan said.
The Sultan said, “The insecurity in the north is so high that people are even afraid of travelling from Funtua to Zaria, a journey of about 48 or 50 miles. Not to talk of Sokoto to Abuja or to Kano.
“We know what we are going through. We are so insecure in the north that people are losing hope. People keep things in the house so that when the bandits come, they would let them be free.
“Couple of weeks ago, 76 people were killed in Sokoto by bandits in a day, it is not a story because I went there with the governor in Eastern part of Sokoto but you don’t hear these stories because it happened in the North and we don’t have media that is strong enough to bring out these atrocities about the bandits so people think that the North is secure.
“No north is not secure at all. In fact, it is the worst place to be in this country because bandits go about in the villages with their AK47 and nobody talks to them. They stop at the markets and buy things and even collect change with their weapons.
Lamenting the high cost of food and cost of living in the country, the Sultan said, “Food prizes are on the increase and we need to do something about it. The cost of onion is too high and beyond the reach of many people.
“A hungry man is an angry man. The rising cost of foodstuff in the markets is an issue. The amount an onion costs in Nigeria today is an insight into the current economic hardship in the country.
“I think we really need to sit down and look at these issues because a hungry man is an angry man. We do not lack recommendations and solutions to our problems. What we lack is implementation and that sense of purpose to do the right thing, but we don’t like doing the right thing, we always want to cut corners.”
In his own speech, the President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Co-Chairman of NIREC, Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, while thanking God for saving nation from the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to other country, urged government to always tackle problem before it degenerates.
Ayokunle appealed for concerted effort from of both Christians and Muslims to promote action against rape as it is becoming rampant and alarming in the society.
He also complained against the increasing price of foodstuff and its effect on the people.
According to him, the #EndSARS protest was accumulation of anger against brutality and advised that government should always tackle issues before it gets out of hand.
“The development that led to #EndSARS protest was quite unfortunate, and one of that development is police brutality which ought to be addressed before now. We have never witnessed such mass action in Nigeria before. People were frustrated and because those in power didn’t respond appropriately until it degenerated to that level,” he said.
The CAN President however called on the government to address the concerns of the #EndSARS protesters instead of clamping down on them.
“I will still call on the government to address the problems that led to the situation than to be clamping down on the people that participated in the #EndSARS protest.”
On his own part, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, regretted that the nation is still faced with insecurity despite the government’s efforts.
“Today, despite all efforts including the deployment of enormous resources, our country still faces a measure of insecurity which is impacting negatively on our economy, social life, education of children and young persons, investment and remains a threat to lives and livelihood,” he said.
“Questing for peace in the challenges of insecurity and COVID-19” is very apt considering the fact that peace and security are very critical ingredients for growth and development.
Mustapha however urged the NIREC to use its traditional and religious capacities to further escalate its outreach to all Nigerians especially, our youth at the grassroots.
On COVlD-19, Mustapha said, “Since the beginning of 2020, humanity has been under the siege of the COVID-19 pandemic which has warranted the deployment of drastic measures including lockdowns, closure of schools, international airspace, places of worship, businesses, government offices.”