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.”




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