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Kukah Urges FG To Set Deadline On War Against Terror


The Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Mathew Hassan Kukah, on Sunday, expressed concern about what he described as the “ubiquity of the military in our national life.”

He said with the presence of soldiers everywhere “it is impossible to explain how we can say we are in a civilian democracy with the military literally looking like an army of occupation with an octopussean spread across all the 36 states and Abuja.”

Kukah raised the concern in his Easter message made available to journalists in Sokoto.

The cleric said a situation where soldiers had become a common, everyday item in society would breed the ‘see finish’ syndrome, alluding to a point made last week by the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, while commenting on the killing of 17 military men in Delta State.

Kukah said, “This has very serious consequences both for its professionalism, its integrity and perceived role in protecting society. No other person than the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, rightly observed recently that the military is facing the dilemma of what he called, ‘see finish’. It is now difficult to say whether the persistence of insecurity is a cause or a consequence of military ubiquity.”

Kukah, while hailing the recent pronouncement by Tinubu that kidnappers would now be treated as terrorists, urged the President to go a step further by giving a specific date to rid the nation of the insurgency.

He knocked Nigeria’s political leadership, likening them to a drunken man  “staggering, stumbling and fumbling, slurring in speech, with blurred visions searching for the way home.”

He said, “Our leaders chose the feast rather than the fast. We are today reaping what we sowed yesterday. For over 60 years, our leaders have looked like men in a drunken stupor, staggering, stumbling and fumbling, slurring in speech, with blurred visions searching for the way home.

“The corruption of the years of a life of immoral and sordid debauchery have spread like cancer destroying all our vital organs. The result is a state of a hangover that has left our nation comatose. Notwithstanding, Easter is a time to further reflect on the road not taken. It is a time to see if this Golgotha of pain can lead us to the new dawn of the resurrection. Nigeria can and Nigeria will be great again. Let us ride this tide together in hope.”

Kukah said in spite of the gloomy outlook of the situation of things in the country, better days were around the corner.

He said,  “Even though it is not daybreak yet, all of us must agree that the night is far gone. The only reason why I am confident that daybreak may not be too far away is because of my faith in God and the power of the risen Christ.

“There could not be a better metaphor for addressing the situation we are in now than to turn our attention to the meaning of Easter and the promises that are contained in the meaning of Christianity. St. Paul said: The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness and let us put on the armour of light (Rom.13:12). With the risen Christ, we can dispel encircling clouds of doom.”

Calling on Tinubu to foster unity in the country, Kukah urged the President to “come up with a robust template for how it wishes to reverse and put us on a path of national healing. This must include a deliberate policy of inclusion that will drastically end the immoral culture of nepotism.”

He said, “The government must design a more comprehensive and wide-ranging method of recruitment that is transparent as a means of generating patriotism and reversing the ugly face of feudalism and prebendalism.

“There is a need for a clear communications strategy that will serve to inspire and create timelines of expectations of results from policies. There is a need for clarity over questions of the who, what, when, and how national set goals are to be attained and who can be held accountable.”

On the need to bring insecurity to an end, the cleric said, “It is cheering to hear that the President has announced that kidnapping and banditry are now to be treated as acts of terrorism. If so, we need to see a relentless and implacable plan to end this menace with a definite dateline for bringing these terrorists to their knees, no matter what it will take. Without a timeline for eliminating these evils – the despicable, malevolent and execrable demons from among us.”

He also called on Tinubu to “continue on the path of probity, to take further steps to cut down the overbearing costs of governance and to put in place more comprehensive plans towards achieving both food and physical security across our nation.”

“Merely distributing money through already corruption-riddled structures is not enough and diminishes the dignity of our citizens. No one needs to line up to receive aid when we are not in a war. Give our people back their farms and develop a comprehensive agricultural plan to put our country back on the path of honour and human dignity,” Kukah said.

He also called for the rejigging of the nation’s security architecture.

“Trillions of naira continue to go into bottomless pits with little measurable benefits. Our military’s professionalism cannot be diluted by the recruitment of hunters, vigilante groups and other unprofessional and untrained groups.

“This is not sustainable because it leaves the military open to ridicule and perceptions of surrender. Fighting insecurity is now an enterprise. I believe our security men and women can defeat these criminals in a matter of months. All we hear and see are fingers pointing to the top. No, this must end.”

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