BY ANKELI EMMANUEL, Sokoto
United States of America’s (USA) Ambassasor to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard has decried the security situation in Nigeria as very disturbing.
The US Envoy who spoke when she visited the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah however admitted that Nigeria has a very young energetic and hard-working people that are determined to make things work.
According to Mary Beth, everybody in Nigeria should be concerned about the security situation no matter where they stay.
Mary Beth while saying Nigerians should begin to ask themselves the very petinent question about were are they heading from this point, also advocated for transparency and accountability in governance.
She also expressed worry that Nigerians should be concerned about the massive turn out of youths in the recent EndSars protest, hence seeing same as a manifestation of dissatisfaction with so many things not working right.
Mary Beth however added that, “Nigeria has young energetic and busy people trying to make things work”.
The US Envoy further admonishes Nigerian youths to take advantage of the American Corner in Sokoto State to normalize the idea of people coming together.
Speaking on his part, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah said the time has come for Nigerians with rational mindset to begin to ask questions about how we as a country have gotten to this point where there is lost of love, trust and confidence on each other.
While insisting that insecurity in Nigeria is not about the economy, despite bandits are said to be taking advantage of the economy to draw recruits from the less privileged, Bishop Kukah averred that what is actually driving the insurgency is the mentality that has been on ground.
Bishop Kukah while decrying that most Nigerians do not have that sense of common citizenship, added that there must be a deliberate and concerted effort towards ensuring genuine unity.
“What I see from the young people is that 80 percent of the those involed in these atrocities doesn’t even travel out of their comfort zones”
The Bishop who insisted that bandits and insurgents in Nigeria have a mission, narrated how one of the Catholic Priest that was kidnapped was asked to denounce his Christian faith and become a Muslim to avoid been killed.
“One of our Priest that was kidnapped recently told me that his abductors demanded that he must become a Muslim to avoid been killed. So why must we continue to pretent not to know who are these bandits and what their mission is?
“The fact that Muslims are also being killed doesn’t justify the fact that these criminals don’t have a mission.
“Very recently, Sheikh Abubakar Mahmud Gumi of Kaduna State was in the news for going to meet these bandits in their respective enclaves. And ofcourse, you do not expect him to go with any Pastor because he knows that these bandits aren’t Christians.
“I do not see how Nigeria will move forward without addressing some of these concrete facts.
“It’s impossible to pull ourselves out of these mess. We need a constant touch with the leadership to ensure that they are reminded of their views. We still have time but not much time”. Kukah observed
Talking on the role of the civil society organizations towards ensuring good governance, Bishop Kukah said the civil society now assumed that they didn’t need to have a role in the governance of their country after ensuring that the military regimes goes and civilian government restored.
Towards finding a lasting solution to the nation’s challenges, Bishop Kukah suggested that, “we must get our youths out of this pigeon hole of north and south, Christian versus Muslims divide mentality that has griped many.
He further noted that any sane Nigerian will read meaning to the recent EndSars protest as a manifestation of bottled anger and frustration about so many ills in the society.
“For me, and many others, the recent EndSars protest wasn’t really about the security but a manifestation of griviances about so many things.
“For me, if we are not very careful, EndSars will finally become a culture few years from now. I see it as a means for changing so many things, must the inability of the protesters to have known leaders was really the issue of concern.
“I see a situation where Nigerians will begin to demonstrate their disatisfaction about things they are not genuinely satisfied with and may needed to be changed”.
Bishop Kukah who stressed that rather than becoming avenue for unity, the social media has further compunded the issue by helping to erode the social and moral fabric of the society, hence creating more rooms for disunity than unity of purpose.