By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria –
Participants at the monthly Interfaith Mediation Centre, (IMC), Forum with Media on Peace Journalism in Kaduna state on Saturday decried the increased in crimes rate in the state and the country despite the Covid-19 pandemic ravaging the Nation.
The Forum, after three hours of exhaustive meeting noted that there were news reports on attacks, killings and kidnappings by bandits and gunmen, as well as herders/farmers clashes in Kaduna and other states despite the lockdown.
In a statement signed by the Co-Executive Directors, IMC, Pastor Dr. James Wuye and Imam Dr. Muhammad Ashafa, respectively, stated that concerted efforts must be made to ensure that security agencies are mobilized with community vigilantes to clear communities of such notorious groups taking Covid-19 lockdown as an opportunity for the security agencies to wipe out these groups.
The Forum recommended capital punishment for any security officer or agent caught sabotaging government’s efforts under the lockdown directives.
“We urged Government to adopt the Plateau state model to stop inter-state transit through installation of surveillance cameras in all entry points of the state in order to arrest and punish drivers and others who violated luckdown orders to serve as a deterrent to others,” it said.
The Forum also commended the idea of neighbourhood markets in Kaduna state but observed that there was no adequate sensitization about social distancing in the markets.
On distribution of relief materials to vulnerables in the state; the Forum said there is need at this period to be our brothers keeper, by helping the masses with palliatives.
“Wealthy individuals and corporate organizations should compliments Government efforts on palliatives as government alone cannot shoulder the responsibility.”
Government was also adviced to check the activities of banditry. “With the present luckdown, Government should checkmate the spates of banditry by enforcing security in the state and also bring about better negotiation and dialogue to ensure peace across the boards.
“As the farming season is fast approaching, there is need to support farmers by boosting security during cultivation in order to address hunger pandemic occasioned by Covid-19 pandemic,” while appealing to security agencies to endeavor to respond to early warning signs of those in such difficult situations; and urged that contacts of the responsive agencies be communicated to the citizens.
The Forum enjoined Nigerians to adhere to measures put in place by health authorities for protection against the Coronavirus pandemic.
Also, a Co-Executive Director of IMC, Imam Ashafa, supported the ban on Almajiranci system in the region, saying it was unfortunate for parents to bring forth children that they cannot catered for their wellbeing and education.
He equally supported Government’s directive of shutting down places of worship. Recalling that during a pandemic in Syria, and Baghdad in Iraq, all worship places were shut down by the authorities then, adding that every place is a praying ground excepts cemeteries and toilets.