By Tony Akowe, Abuja
President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Rev. Samson Supo Ayokunle has argued that the high level of unemployment was fueling the growing level of insecurity in the country.
The CAN President also appealed to lawmakers to assist in finding a lasting solution to the growing level of insecurity, saying terrorist and bandits were busy recruiting young Nigerians after inducing them with money, which the government is not providing.
Rev. Ayokunle spoke when the member representing Bida/Gbako/Katcha Federal Constituency, Saidu Musa Abdullahi, visited the CAN secretariat to solicit support for his bill, titled: “Religious Discrimination (Prevention, Prohibition) Bill 2020”.
He said efforts should be geared towards addressing insecurity in the country and not promoting what will add to it.
The CAN President told his guest that passing the religious discrimination bill into law will aggravate the current situation in the country, considering the fact that the political will needed to address the ills in the country was missing.
He said: “I am appealing to you and your colleagues to help us find a way to put an end to insecurity in this country. The body language does not suggest that we want to put an end to it. What is the body language?
“We are hearing from the corridors of power that the money voted for security is being diverted. If you see the investment we are losing because of insecurity. Even religious tourism is very difficult now because of insecurity.
“I am an executive member of the World Council of Churches and Vice President of the Baptist World Alliance. I am not able to bring a small meeting to my country because of what they are reading. They realised that they are exposed because of the colour of their skin. Somebody would have benefited from the money they will spend when they come here.
“We are not focusing on that. We need to do something about insecurity in this country. The money that was voted and diverted, even if it is a rat that has eaten the money, kill that rat and bring the money out. We cannot just be wasting the blood of people like that.
“We need to create employment opportunities. Unemployment is fueling insecurity because the terrorist and bandits are able to recruit with easy, unengaged hands. They give them little money, they are satisfied. But the government is not doing that.
“Why should we be short of policemen and Army in this country when we have able-bodied young men, who want to contribute to development? Why can’t we employ more? It is because we are lazy and selfish. If you employ more, it will reduce the money that will be in a private pocket.”
On the Bill, he said: “We have laws already that can take care of discrimination and if anybody is discriminated against, the court is open to handle that matter. So, why do we still need laws on this issue now? Secondly, the bill, if passed into law, will enforce discrimination rather than fight against it.
Explaining the reason for the visit, Abdullahi said he was at the CAN secretariat as part of efforts to build consensus among stakeholder with a view to creating an understanding on the need for the bill before it goes for public hearing.
He appealed to the Leadership of CAN to study the bill and make input that will make it a better law that will address the problem of religious discrimination in the country.
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