By Sam Eyoboka
CATHOLIC Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins has passionately appealed to the Federal Government to urgently address the lingering crisis in Southern Kaduna which have led to the loss of several lives and halt any further killing of Shiite Muslims in the country.
Archbishop Martins said the two recent incidents have once again shown clearly, the need for those constitutionally empowered with the task of safe guarding lives and property of Nigerians to seriously re-evaluate the various security challenges facing the country and nip them in the bud before they escalate beyond manageable proportions.
According to him, the Boko haram saga is a case in point in which an early careful handling may have had a different outcome.
Reacting to the out-break of violence in Southern Kaduna in which over 50 people lost their lives and many more suffering several degrees of injuries, Martins, while expressing his deep condolences to affected families, challenged the state governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai to put an end to the incessant out-break of chaos in the state.
The Prelate also called on the police, the military and other law enforcement agencies in the state to work together and use all the resources at their disposal to get to the root cause of the fracas and bring the culprits to book.
“I was very saddened to read the news of the recent crisis in Kaduna State which led to the loss of several lives. I feel very pained that in this age and time when all Nigerians should be living together as brothers and sisters, some still fan the embers of religion and ethnicity just to cause disaffection and score cheap political points.
“This is unacceptable and should be condemned in the strongest terms. We must find a lasting solution to this lingering crisis or else some day it may consume the entire nation,” he warned.
On the confrontation between the military and the Shiite Muslims in Abuja which also led to the killing of several of the protesters, the Archbishop called for caution on both sides.
He appealed to the military high command to also, as a matter of urgency re-evaluate its mode of addressing similar incidences to curtail human fatality.
“Human life is invaluable. I believe that there should be other milder ways of dispersing such religious procession without resorting to the use of the gun. Once a life is loss, it cannot be brought back.
“Remember this is not the first time such an incident will be happening between the military and the Shiites.
“In view of the need for lasting peace, I think the government should engage the leaders of the Shiite group in meaningful dialogue so as to resolve all issues bordering on the continuous detention of Ibrahim el-Zakzaky; taking into cognisance all subsisting court judgements on the matter.
“We must not allow this to linger longer than necessary to avoid a repeat of the mistakes that led to the proliferation of Boko Haram sect in the first instance,” Archbishop Martins stated.