Nigeria: We Must Avoid Ethno-Religious Sentiments to End Banditry, Kidnapping - PGF DG

21 January 2021

The Director-General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Mohammed Lukman, has said ethno-religious sentiments are threats to national security, adding that they are thwarting the efforts at ending banditry, kidnapping and other forms of criminal tendencies in the country.

Reacting to the order given to herdsmen by governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Ameredolu, to vacate the state's forest reserves, Lukman in a statement on Thursday said there was need for caution in the scheme of things.

He however, said the issue would be resolved amicably in view of the fact that Ondo state and the presidency are both under the control of the APC.

"Nigerians need to wake up to the reality that preventing or arresting criminal activities such as kidnapping and banditry cannot be achieved by massaging our ethnic and religious sentiments.

"As a believer and campaigner for restructuring based on the need to make our governments functionally responsive, the challenge that reduced reform initiatives of governments to problems of activating our fault lines is simply a reflection of the inability of government officials (elected and appointed) to discharge their responsibilities without fear or favour as provided in the provisions of our constitutions and other statutes.

"While it is possible that initiatives are already taking place to resolve the issue between Ondo state government and federal government, to the extent that rather than announcements of resolutions of how initiatives to prevent and arrest crimes are hardly the case, confirms high degree of weakness in addressing national challenges.

"Instead, most of the public debate is about which group we want to support. Is there any Nigerian today who is not disturbed by the high rate of kidnapping, banditry and similar crimes? Such a Nigerian is either directly or remotely involved in kidnapping, banditry and all the crimes taking place," he said.

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