Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and a prominent religious leader in the North, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, have recommended special courts, security whistle blowers and education as ways out to stop increased cases of kidnap and banditry in the country.
Obasanjo and Gumi made this known in a jointly signed communique issued after they held a closed-door meeting at the Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, on Sunday.
In the 21-point communique issued after the meeting, they also urged the Federal Government to take the issue of insecurity up with the Economic Community of West African States based on the fact that the menace of banditry, kidnapping, other crimes and atrocities leading to general insecurity is a nationwide phenomenon.
“We acknowledge that people from different parts of the country and outside the country are involved although some people are more predominantly involved than others.
“We must not advertently or inadvertently, in words, action or inaction encourage or support criminality. We identified the crisis as micro ethnic conflict between the Fulani and many host communities mainly in the North West.
“We identified the remote causes as educational and economic disparities, and the negative use of religion and ethnicity by unscrupulous politicians.
“Solutions must be seen and provided on short, medium, and long-term bases and must be composed of stick and carrot for the offender and the vulnerable.
“Nigerians should desist from blame game; desist from ethnicizing crimes; desist from religionizing crimes; desisting from regionalising crimes; respect one another individually, community-wise, locally, ethnically, religiously and socially;
“Show tolerance and accommodation where necessary; condemn criminal acts no matter where it is committed and by whom it is committed in Nigeria; encourage more of carrot solution as may be found necessary; share information at all levels; reject criminality as a way of life for any individual or group in our nation.
They also recommended that whistle blowers against insecurity must be protected and rewarded.
“Every community must be encouraged and empowered to stand firm and strong against criminals.
“There should be protection and reward covertly for whistleblowers against criminals living in the community.
“Special courts should be created to deal promptly with cases of banditry, kidnapping, ransom demanding and unlawful carrying of weapons.
“Let the slogan be: Security is the responsibility of all Nigerians.
We agree to continue to work together for solutions for the security of Nigeria and to seek others to join us as we widely circulate our joint statement.”
Gumi, who was accompanied by Professor Usman Yusuf, Malam Tukur Mamu, Dr Umar Ardo, Dr Ibrahim Abdullahi, Honourable Suleiman Gumi, Alhaji Suleiman Yakubu and Malam Buba Mohammed were received by the former president in the presence of Oba Babajide Bakre, Agura of Gbagura, Abeokuta; Bishop Tunde Akin-Akinsanya, Chairman of Ogun State Christian Association of Nigeria; Sheikh Sa’addallah Alade Bamigbola, Chief Imam of Egbaland; Chief Kenny Martins, Chief Ola Babajide Jaiyeoba; Rev. Tony Ojeshina, Chief Imams of Oke-Ona, Gbagura, Owu and Mr. Vitalis Ortese around 11am and left at 4: pm.