ENUGU – Most Rev. Callistus Onaga, Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Enugu, has harped on the need for government to step up security apparatus in the country, especially in the area of intelligence gathering.
Bishop Onaga made the appeal in Enugu on Wednesday while delivering his Easter message to Nigerians.
He frowned at the growing spate of insecurity in the country and appealed to the government to act urgently before it becomes too late for the country.
He said the country was almost at the brink of extinction and unless the government steps up security, the whole country would be in trouble soon.
“We have a very big security challenge in the country. A challenge that started growing gradually, until it is becoming hydra-headed in the sense that every part of this country is feeling it.
“It started with simply talking about kidnappers, armed robbers and graduated into insurgency. From insurgency to uncontrollable herdsmen attacks, and now to all forms of crime geared towards making money.
“The insecurity is such now that one can just sleep with two eyes open. This time, I don’t know if you can even sleep with one eye closed. Formally, we say let us close our two eyes and sleep but now, it may be even dangerous for you to sleep with one of your eyes open. You eyes have to be open for you to be secure,” the Bishop said.
He also queried, “What does that mean? I don’t know how it came to be but without equivocation, our country is turning into a nation of survival of the fittest, not in terms of economic wellbeing but in terms of protection, as if to say, you are telling everybody, pick up your arms. Pick up your guns in order to protect yourself.”
Bishop Onaga then appealed to all Nigerians, not just politicians, whether they are Igbo or Hausa or Yoruba, to realise that life does not belong to anybody and that nobody has monopoly to life.
“You are travelling outside now, you are not sure that you are coming back safely. The most antagonizing one is that those villagers that used to live peacefully can no more.
“Last time, it was the issue of a Fulani herdsman, who went into the bush and then saw some two boys collecting mere cashew nuts, and he wanted to forcefully collect the cashew nuts from them and one of them got the hand cut. What does that tell us in this country?
“Are there people taking laws into their hands? Are there people living like they are in charge of every other person? The issue of people going to take things by force is no longer a thing that happens in the dark, it now happens in the daylight. And people can say that and still tell you to go and do what you want,” Onaga said.
He warned that if a poor village woman could go to the farm and collect yam and cassava, but fail to come home peacefully, then the country was in for trouble.
The cleric said the church must always appeal to government as the constitutional custodians of security, having the very means to do that.
He warned that if the country allows jungle justice to come into this place, then we are finished.
Onaga, however, urged Christians to live like Christ and abstain from any form of criminal activity and to be their brother’s keeper.
— Independent Nigeria