The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately declare bandits as terrorists to resolve the spate of kidnapping ravaging parts of Nigeria.
Late Fr. Alphonsus Yashim Bello was kidnapped and murdered by bandits on May 21, 2021 in Katsina.
He was kidnapped alongside Rev Fr Joseph Keke.
Bishop Kukah lamented that government’s failure to declare the killer bandits as terrorists has given them belief that they have government’s backing to do whatever they like with impunity, noting that once they have been properly classified, they would realise government’s position towards them and be responsible for their crimes.
Speaking in his homily at the burial of late Rev Fr. Alphonsus Yasshim Bello at Our Lady of Apostles Catholic Church Independence Way, Kaduna on Wednesday, Kukah said the leaders of Nigeria have no blood in their hearts, hence their nonchalance to the spate of kidnappings and killings.
According to Kukah: “How did Nigeria come to this tragic situation. We know who they are, who they believed in and where their inspiration comes from. The government has never declared the kidnappers to be a terrorists group.
“There is no ambiguity about those who are killing our people and why they are doing so. We hear and live with stories of complicity at the highest level. We as Christians can only rely on the faithful word of God.
“Those who govern us are allowing these killings of citizens in their innocency because they have no blood in their hearts. There is nowhere in the whole world where barbarity and killings of human lives are being manifested as it is in Nigeria of today.
“There is nowhere citizens can be slaughtered in the whole world without the government showing empathy and concern. The continuous barbaric slaughter and murder of our people in their innocency suggest that our beautiful Presidential Villa, National Assembly, government houses are not evidence of civilization.”
He queried, “is it possible that you have a country where people have sworn with Qur’an and Bible to uphold the principle of governance, that they will do everything within their power to protect and defend the integrity of Nigerians and suddenly we are where we are today.
“I think the President and governors of Nigeria should address Nigerians and say, fellow Nigerians I have sworn that I will not protect you from foreign invaders, kidnappers and being killed.
“You are on your own. Your security is in your own hands. Keeping you safe is not our immediate priority. Foreign bandits or anyone can come at will, kill, loot, rape, kidnap and murder you. They can wipe out your communities, destroy your homes, your farmlands, property.
“They can kidnap or murder your children at will. They can rustle your cattle. If they kidnap your children, wives or husbands, we will consider you criminals for negotiating for their release. We are preparing a law that could see you go to jail for 15 years for this heinous crime against your fatherland.”
He therefore urged Nigerians to remain steadfast in prayer, saying that God will lead the nation out of the tragic situation.