…As Forum laments crime rates amidst COVID-19 lockdown in Kaduna.
by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
A Kaduna-based Islamic leader, Dr Imam Muhammad Nurayn Ashafa, has expressed a hundred percent support for the ban on Almajiris system, saying the system is “out of fashion, and could no longer work in the north.”
“It is unfortunate that people could born child that they cannot cater for their wellbeing and education.” Ashafa said this during a forum with journalists in Kaduna on Saturday.
Imam Ashafa, who is a Co-Executive Director of Interfaith Mediation Centre, IMC, Kaduna State, said, “I support the ban of Almajiris systems; it is unfortunate to born a child that they cannot cater for his wellbeing and education.
“I support the government’s directives for shutting down of worship places,” he said, while recalling that “During a pandemic in Syria and Baghdad in Iraq, all worship places were shut down by their authorities then. Every place is a praying ground except cemeteries and toilets.”
Similarly, participants at the Interfaith Mediation Center’s Monthly Forum with media on Peace Journalism have expressed dismay over the increase in crime rates in Kaduna and the country at large, despite COVID-19 pandemic that is ravaging the nation.
The forum, at the end of its three hours’ exhaustive meeting on Saturday expressed surprise over series of news reports about attacks, killings and kidnapping by bandits and gunmen, as well as herders/farmers clashes in Kaduna and other states despite COVID-19 lockdown.
In a statement signed by Co-Executive Directors of IMC, Pastor Dr. James Movel Wuye and Imam Dr. Muhammad Nurayn Ashafa, respectively, it stated that, concerted efforts should be made to ensure that security agencies are mobilized with community vigilantes to clear communities of such notorious groups.
The forum lamented that “Despite the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, the rate of crime in some parts of the country is in the increase; hence there must be concerted efforts to ensure that security agencies are mobilized with community vigilantes to clear communities of such notorious groups, seeing that the Covid-19 is an opportunity for the security agencies to wipe out the groups.”
They recommended capital punishment for any security officer or agents caught sabotaging government’s efforts under the lockdown directives.
The Forum urged Government to adopt Plateau state model by stopping inter-state transit and put in surveillance cameras so as to arrest and punish drivers and others that violated the luckdown order to serve as a deterrent to others.
They commended the idea of neighbourhood markets in Kaduna but observed that there was no adequate sensitization about social distancing or spacing in the markets.
“There is need at this period to be brothers keeper, by helping especially the masses with palliatives.
“With the present luckdown, government should think of how to checkmate the space of banditry by enforcing securities in the state and to bring about better negotiation and dialogue to ensure peace across the board.
“As the farming season is fast approaching, the need to support farmers to boost security during cultivation in their farmlands in order to address hunger pandemic as a result of Covid-19 pandemic still on ground”, they said.
While they appeal to the security agencies to endeavor to respond quickly to the need of those in such difficult situation, they urged that contacts of the responsive agencies should be communicated to the citizens.
“Nigerians must adhere to all the measures put in place by the health authorities to protect themselves against the pandemic, especially social distance practice”, they said.
They advised that communities should be vigilant about the new faces that come to their communities, adding that Government should identify the stakeholders in a communities when it comes to sharing of palliative, so as to avoid been high jacked by thugs or cornered by some selfish and greedy politicians.
“Rich people and organizations should compliment government effort in terms of sharing palliatives as government alone, cannot shoulder the whole responsibility.