As it is the tradition for political leaders and other prominent Nigerians to send out goodwill messages to the people during festive periods, this year’s Eid el Kabir celebration was not different as the messages dropped from all corners.
However, one thing that was very distinctive with most messages from the leaders this years was that they had concerns bordering on security in the country.
To get more insight on why the Sallah messages from most Nigerian leaders resonated around security, Prime Business Africa had exclusive chats with two regional leaders, Chief Ayo Adebanjo of Afenifere and Dr Isuwa Dogo, National Publicity Secretary of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF).
Both regional leaders believe that security issues in the country are worse than in the past, and that explains why most of this year’s Sallah messages were centered on security.
Chief Adebanjo said, “Currently, insecurity in the country is worse than before, worse than anytime we have ever had in the country. There is no part of the country where we can say they don’t feel the pain of kidnapping, rape and killing any day, East, West, North and South.
“And the chief security officer of the country has refused to give powers to the governors who are supposed to be the chief security officers of their states without the equipment needed for operation. They cannot control the police, they cannot control the security officers in their respective states. Give state policing a chance he refuses, they have powers they cannot execute. It is only in this country that such a man can be in office for more than one term.
The Afenifere leader said that people are very uncomfortable in the country because of insecurity.
“Didn’t you listen to the people that are buying rams? The cost of rams went up because of transportation, the people bringing the livestock are not sure of their own personal safety and the farmers too cannot buy, because they have been driven out of their farms by the Miyetti Allah,” Adebanjo said.
On his part, Dogo said that the Eid messages by the leaders shows the level of insecurity and the negative impact it has on the society.
“It is because of this that the message is more on insecurity instead of the religious aspect. What I mean is this, because the insecurity is so enormous, because it is so devastating, so destructive, that is why everybody even the deaf are talking about insecurity. They are talking about insecurity because of the problem it is causing,” Dogo said.
Continuing, the MBF Publicity Secretary said, “The issue of insecurity is too much, it is not just an issue to be discussed, it is an issue where a state of emergency should have been declared in the country. We are at war with ourselves; that is to say there is no peace anywhere.
“People find it difficult to step out of their houses because of the level of insecurity that exists. The only difference is that it is more serious in some places than the others. For instance it is more serious in the Northwest than it is in the Northeast where we talk of Boko Haram.
“The number of killing that exists in the North West now far exceeds what we have in the North East. Almost on daily basis we have killings in Southern Kaduna, we have killings and kidnap in Zamfara, we have killings and kidnap in Katsina and all those other places.”
He cried out that people can no longer because what is happening is calamity. “Apart from people not being able to go to their farms, in places like southern Kaduna, we have excess problems of insecurity; miscreants go to deliberately destroy the farms. They deliberately go to the farms to cut down the produce. It is a similar thing in Plateau, so you are not only dealing with kidnaps and killings; you are not only dealing with one form of devastation and destruction but deliberate criminal act of people,” Dogo lamented.
From President Muhammadu Buhari to most of the governors and National Assembly members, security was one constant subject captured in most of their Sallah messages.
For President Buhari, he urged Nigerians to team up with his administration in battling the security crisis facing the country by exposing sponsors of insecurity.
Buhari, in the Sallah message by his spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, said: “Let us expose undesirable elements among us who are creating security problems for the country.
Also in his own Eid message, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar called for an end to the killing of innocent people and hateful messages in Nigeria.
“We would not be able to fully appreciate the love from God if we allow the killing of the innocent souls and propagation of hateful rhetoric become a norm amongst us,” Atiku had said.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan said though it was painful the country is facing security and economic challenges, this is a passing phase in Nigeria’s historical process of nation-building.
He, however, said the federal government was “Determined that we get the challenges behind us and steady our nation’s march to its manifest destiny of greatness.
Former Deputy Senate President and current Senator representing Enugu West, Ike Ekweremadu, also urged the Nigerian Muslim Ummah to pray for the peace, unity, and security of the nation. He called on the Federal Government to take immediate steps to end the killings in the country, warning that Nigeria was fast becoming a killing field.
“I equally call on the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, to take every necessary and urgent step to arrest this parlous situation where Boko Haram and allied insurgents, bandits, criminal aliens, kidnappers, and all manners of predatory elements have field days killing civilians and even men of the armed forces alike without corresponding or greater consequences”, he said.
Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ahmed Idris Wase, urged Muslims to use the occasion to pray for the success of the ongoing war against kidnapping, banditry, terrorism in some part of the country.
Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State noted that this year’s celebration is coming at a period the country is grappling with security and other socio-economic challenges.
Also, Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku of Taraba State called for vigilance and greater support by all Nigerians for the nation’s security agencies as they struggle to contain the dangerous elements that are out to kill and maim innocent people.
In similar vein, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State called for prayers and support for the security agencies fighting criminals across the country.
He said the evil acts of killings, banditry and kidnapping could only be surmounted if security agencies were given adequate support and prayed for.
On bringing the problem of insecurity to an end, President Buhari had in his his Sallah message, reiterated the determination of his administration to create a just, harmonious and prosperous country in which the safety of lives and property is assured.
“We have started taking delivery of fighter aircraft and other necessary military equipment and hardware to improve the capacity of our security forces to confront terrorism and banditry,” he stated.