An NGO, “Be a Builder of a Secure Nation Group” says it has introduced some of measures to bring Nigerian youth together towards achieving national cohesion.
Ahmad Lawal, Assistant Secretary of the NGO disclosed this in an interview with newsmen.
He said the essence of bringing the youth together was to enlighten them on the need to have a secured nation, adding that the participants were drawn from all the six geopolitical zones of the country.
The National President said: “Be a Builder of a Secure Nation Group had conducted an awareness open programme on the foundation of nation building in Abuja.
“For any nation to become developed, there is every need for unity, equality, selfless service and collaboration of all.
“As a nation, we are facing a serious challenge ranging from collapse in oil prices and COVID-19 pandemic which adversely trapped the nation’s economy into recession.
“This is the worst since the 1980s based on the 2020 record, and the situation is still affecting the country.”
He noted that with over 75 per cent of Nigeria’s total land area covering over 910,000 square kilometres, provision of stable security network was necessary.
“In view of the land mass and resources endowment diversification of the nation’s economy with specific emphasis on the solid mineral and agriculture is feasible.
“But, when oppression and hardship perpetrated by those in authority becomes the norm of a running system, resistance will surely become a duty for the masses.
“It will be good for Government to know that many Nigerians believe that it is only through stoic determination, patience and resilience that they can finally overcome the present security challenges.
“These challenges include; kidnapping, banditry and Killings by Boko Haram. However, when one is being continuously attacked for no just cause, it becomes tempting to lash back, especially those attacked first,’ stands up as a feasible defense even in courts of law,” he noted.
On his part, Rachael Benjamin, the NGO’s Assistant Public Relations Officer observed that resistance without retaliation was quite instrumental when “the target is a change of minds of the people from negative to positive, not just a coup.
“Attacks and killings are being carried out by some elements across the country and government is not discharging its responsibility of protecting the citizens of this country.
“In fact, the Nigeria Police were seen on several occasions attacking peaceful protesting Shi’a Muslims in Abuja and Kaduna state.
“This group has been a target to multiple attacks and many other acts of gross injustice.
“Despite the killings, the persecutions and imprisonments, the Shiite Muslims, in accordance with their leader’s principles, have refused to take up arms, unlike other groups that threaten the unity and peace of the country.”
He said on daily basis they receive news updates highlighting vicious threats by many such groups all over the country airing their grievances as well as seeking for redress with their threats and actions.
“We are talking about a group whose leader has been in and out of prisons at various times over the past decades all due to his stance on what he consider as injustice, corruption and oppression against the people.
“Over the years, his followers have been killed and tortured on various occasions, the worst being the 2015 massacre that claimed the lives of hundreds of them, leaving thousands orphaned, and hundreds having their beloved offspring and spouses snatched away from them.
“Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, leader of the Shiite Muslims, has been held captive along with his wife since then, while suffering from various internal and external maladies,” he noted.
Also contributing, Badmus Olorufemi Assistant Programme Organising Chairman said the elderly couple has also been detained in facilities which were certainly unfit for them.
He lamented that they were yet to receive proper treatment for the poisonous deposits still present in their bodies sequel to the attacks rained on them during those trying days.
Olorufemi added that this was forcefully done despite a high court order ordaining their release, noting that despite the Sheik’s millions of followers, yet, they remained calm and refused to take the laws into their hands.
“Perhaps if a similar treatment had been meted out to members of another group who are only a fraction of the Shiite Muslims in number, they would have quickly taken up arms and called for revenge.
“We want to use this opportunity to thank the Shiite Muslims for refusing to take up arms and for being peaceful.
“We urge them to remain peaceful as always, and stay focused on their noble goals. Their manner of approach has been peaceful and civil, even though the casualties on their side keep increasing.
“Government must understand that all oppressive acts mostly backfire with time, baring their true faces to the world and sparking off even greater opposition.
“Generally, it requires a great degree of willpower to tamper one’s anger or conceal one’s pain; imagine how much willpower is employed in acting calm and rational despite being the target of all sorts of atrocities,” he said.
Olorufemi commended Shaikh Ibraheem Zakzaky’s principles and his loyal followers who, despite being hounded off the streets, still remained peaceful.
He said: “A peaceful movement always sends more powerful messages in waves, eliciting empathy, loyalty and participation from all who have a regard for truth, justice and humanity.
“We also want to plead with the Government to summon courage and release the leader of the Shi’a Muslims and his wife for the peace and unity of the nation.
“People must understand that we need the government to protect us from the unrelenting insecurity. Without a proper government to provide the safety of law and order, protecting citizens from bad eggs and from foreign foes will be difficult.
“We must all join hands together and support the Government for good. It is our duty to call the Government to order whenever the government is not on the right track.”