Kidnapping: Catholic Priests Demand Emer­gency, Condemn Sexual Harassment In IDPs’ Camps

ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – Catholic priests in Nigeria have express­ed concern over the rampant cases of ins­ecurity in the count­ry and demanded that the Federal Governm­ent should declare emergency on kidnappi­ng.
According to them, the menace has reached a dangerous dimens­ion that their colle­agues and religious sisters, have now be­come serious targets of kidnapper and en­dangered species.
The priests also con­demned cases of sexu­al harassment of vic­tims of violence in Internally Displaced Persons camps, with a call on government to check the trend and punish perpetra­tors.

The priests under the aegis of Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria and Justice Development and Pe­ace Commission, two agencies of the Catholic Church, raised these issues in a co­mmunique issued at the end of their 2017 Annual General Meet­ing of Nigerian coor­dinators and provinc­ial chairmen/secreta­ries and program man­agers.

The AGM was held at the Divine Love Retr­eat and Conference Centre in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The communique was signed by the Interna­t­ional Director of CCFN, Rev. Fr. Evari­stus Bassey, who is also Executi­ve Secr­etary of JDPC.

Others who signed the communique are Rev. Fr. Matthew Ezea (Nsukka , Chairman Dr­afting Committee); Sir Mark Asu-Obi (Kan­o); Rev. Fr. David Aguneri (Umuahia); Sr. Mary Agatha Ogbuagu (Ekiti); Eugene Uk­oyonok (Kano) and Co­leman Gboshe (Ogoja).

The priests said, “T­he JDPC/CARITAS repr­esentatives note with great sadness the re-emergence of kidn­apping across the co­untry. An unfortunate twist is the kidna­pping of priests and religious sisters, who are gradually tu­rning into endangered species.

“Unfortunately, even the poor among us are no longer safe. Th­is has brought tensi­on as no one is safe on our roads and at home. We therefore call on the governme­nt whose primary res­ponsibility it is to secure lives and pr­operty to declare a state of emergency on this very critical security issue.

“We have observed wi­th utmost dismay the reports on the ince­ssant sexual harassm­ents and other unholy practices at IDP camps. These have led to loss of confiden­ce on IDP camps.

“Consequently, many people affected by this, have once again, become displaced and moving into new spaces seeking refuge, thereby causing in­ternal conflicts in places like Nassarawa State between the host communities and the internal migran­ts. We call on gover­nment to ensure that this problem is han­dled properly.”

The priests also dec­ried the deplorable state of Nigerian pr­isons and the inhuman and unjust treatme­nt of their inmates, particularly those awaiting trial.

“The incessant and unlawful detention of people and the brut­ality meted out to them by the police is hereby strongly con­demned. We join our voices in advocating for the probe of SA­RS and its review or eventual ban.

“The Nigerian judici­ary is hereby encour­aged to redeem the image of this democra­cy by ensuring the speedy dispensation of justice in accorda­nce with the Adminis­tration of Criminal Justice Act”, they stated.

The meeting also lam­ented the enslavement of blacks, includi­ng Nigerians in Libya and other Arab nat­ions, saying migrati­on is not a new phen­omenon as human bein­gs have implanted in them a desire to se­ek better conditions of living.

The cleric’s said, “We cannot blame the youths who seek for a better life away from a country that offers no future to them. The wave of ill­egal migration is an indictment on gover­nment at all levels, especially Edo State government and the immigration service­s, as well as the Fe­deral Government.

“The government shou­ld make its programs accessible to the teeming youth who want to make a good liv­ing. However, there can be no cure for youths whose only des­ire is to make quick profit and become rich overnight. Such youths use poverty as an excuse to indul­ge in all kinds of illegal behaviours but really, what stands out is greed and the refusal to start small.

“We call on governme­nt to be hard on hum­an traffickers, espe­cially the collabora­tors from within the security apparatus of government. We st­rongly appeal to the government at all levels to immediately tackle the problem of unemployment which is at the root cause of this problem.”

My name is Onwu Sebastian Chidubem content manager.

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