Traditional rulers know kidnappers —Bishop Okonkwo
The Presiding Bishop of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission, Mike Okonkwo, on Sunday said traditional rulers should be held accountable for the spate of kidnapping in their domains because they know the perpetrators.
According to him, any traditional ruler whose domain records cases of kidnapping and needless killings should be suspended.
He also described as surprising and disturbing the silence of President Muhammadu Buhari on the security challenges ravaging Nigeria.
He warned against “ethnic, personal, religious and political profiling” of the security problems in Nigeria saying, “as long as people look at the situation of Nigeria from those parameters, we will go nowhere.”
Okonkwo stated these in an interview with journalists after his sermon at the 7th edition of the Leading Edge Conference and Business Summit organised by TREM (Vision House) in the Utako area of Abuja, with the theme, ‘From mourning to dancing.’
At the programme, he advised that members of the National Assembly should reduce their salaries by half if they wanted to be sincere about Nigeria and the masses.
Okonkwo said, “The people perpetrating kidnapping and other forms of violence did not drop from the sky; they came from somewhere. They are living in the same community where they do these things.
“I have spoken with some traditional rulers that these things that are happening. As far as I am concerned, if somebody comes to my town or a state where I am operating and begins to kill people indiscriminately, then I will suspend the traditional ruler.
“How can that happen? I am in charge of a place and the traditional ruler of a town and such incidents like kidnapping happen in my town. You mean I cannot do something to find out where they are coming from? Where are they and where are they hibernating?
“They shoot people in the highway and run back into the bush in a state where somebody is a governor. We have had cases where some culprits were arrested. Governors and traditional rulers should own these problems and not be crying. Every day, they are crying; I am tired of their crying, they should do something as leaders.
Okonkwo added, “The President is not in a place like Enugu; why should I be the governor of a state and be looking at the Presidency to come and handle my state for me when I have security votes?
“The menace of kidnapping is staring every Nigerian in the face. I have always said something concerning this country. When problems of Nigeria are handled from religious, tribal, political or personal sentiments, we miss the whole point.”
While advocating the restructuring of Nigeria, the cleric called on Nigerians to embark on self defence against killers and kidnappers.