Project Hope Nigeria Condemns Owo Killing

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Re: Attack and killing worshippers at St Francis Catholic Church, Owo Kingdom, in Ondo State – Time to reconfigure Nigeria’s security architecture.

The shocking and horrifyingly news of the attack on worshippers at the St Francis Catholic Church in Owo kingdom, Ondo state is both an escalation and widening of the spate of insecurity in Nigeria.

We at Hope2023 movement mourn with the members of the Parish and people of Owo kingdom as well as Governor Akeredolu of Ondo state and President Muhammadu Buhari over this violent act against a people gathered together to worship the Almighty God. This was not just a regular church service, this was the celebration of the feast of Pentecost, to commemorate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on mankind.

It is an evil act perpetrated against the Nigerian people and the Federal government should now accept that individuals with terrorist intent have declared war on Nigeria and should as a matter of urgency act decively to reorganise Nigeria’s security architecture.

We are concerned that our brave men and women of the Nigerian armed forces have become overstretched and despite their best efforts are not in a position to adequately cover the multiple needs or theatre of conflicts across Nigeria. The government therefore should think differently in the effort to secure Nigeria and Nigerians. The government owns our armed forces and Nigerians this duty of care.

In view of the above we strongly suggest as follows:

  1. An immediate overhaul of Nigeria’s national security arrangement to provide for a joined up, security information gathering, management and action plan. This definitely requires localised and locally managed segment of our country’s security architecture. We call on Mr President to sign an executive order to approve this plan and to please activate the necessary instruments to bring this into reality.
  2. Urgent consideration for the establishment of Nigeria’s Territorial army comprising in the first instance all willing and able retired men and officers of the Nigerian armed forces. Let members of our regular armed forces focus on protecting us from external aggressors by defending Nigeria’s territorial integrity.
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a. This new force should be assigned the responsibility of combating internal security operations ordinarily attended by the military, and members of this force from the Northern part of Nigeria should be posted to north and those from the South should be posted to the south. This arrangement will help with confidence building amongst Nigerians in view of the present state of distrust in the country.

b. The rank of this new force should be rapidly increased by converting the NYSC programme into a two year military service. On completion, these citizens will remain members of the Territorial armed forces even whilst working in civilian roles. They can be called up to serve if necessary.

c. In future all young people from the age of 18 years have to belong to the Territorial armed forces, and can be called into action in the event of hostile aggression against our country.

  1. We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to act expeditiously to stem tide of religious hostility brewing in the country. There should be a clear action to make clear that Nigeria is not a theocracy but a democracy, peopled by citizens of different religious persuasions.

Nigeria is a greatly blessed multicultural and multireligious country and all citizens must be able to live and carry on their business peacefully wherever they choose to live.

Dr Philip Idaewor
Convener: Project Hope Nigeria
2023 Presidential Aspirant.