Attacks on Muslims are Criminal – National Security Adviser, Azazi
Reprisal attacks on Muslims by angry Christians in Kaduna, following attacks on three churches in the state, are criminal, National Security Adviser (NSA) Lt Gen Andrew Owoye Azazi has said.
Azazi was speaking after an emergency security meeting on Tuesday, presided over by the Vice President Namadi Sambo, in the absence of President Goodluck Jonathan who is attending the United Nations’ Earth Summit, RIO+20, in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
“What we need to do is to be mindful. Look somebody kills people in Zaria and you retaliate somewhere in Zonkwa, that is criminality,” Azazi told journalists after the meeting.”
He said security men were on top of the situation, having moved in to ensure stability. “You find that the governor and religious leaders are also talking. What we are talking about is how to extend this discussion beyond just the state, so that it can go down to church leaders and leaders in the mosque. We need to address the security situation in the country peacefully,” he added.
Asked if the option of dialogue wasn’t coming in too late, the erstwhile Chief of Army Staff (COAS) maintained that talking could never be too late.
“Whatever is the situation, you have to end up talking. We want leaders to be proactive; we want church leaders to be proactive; we want youth leaders to be proactive to make sure that what you call reprisal doesn’t make sense to anybody.
“What we need to do is to be mindful. Look, somebody kills people in Zaria and you retaliate somewhere in Zonkwa, that is criminality. Things happen, but as a nation, as a people, we must address situations not necessarily by killing each other.
He harped on the importance of cooperation of all sections of the society in restoring peace to the country. “You study countries where you have had this kind of terrorism, and you understand and even the media have been involved in getting solutions.
“So, all of us must come together to provide information to security services so that we can prevent them. In many cases you find that security services are able to prevent these bombs from going off. But because we are a big society and the society is somehow liberal, you can’t always prevent them because you don’t have the information and you don’t find the number of policemen that you think should be available.
“In certain parts of the country today — and I will give an example like Kano — they are more proactive. So, you find that you are able to arrest the situation before it gets to this level. But that notwithstanding, even a small country like Israel, where you have terrorism in spite of all the walls, once in a while still experiences detonation of bombs. So, we will like to arrest the situation as soon as possible but we need everybody’s help to discover where these are coming from.”
The security meeting, which held at the State House, Abuja, was attended Air Chief Marshal Oluseyi Petirin, chief of army staff; Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, chief of naval staff; Vice Admiral Ola Saheed Ibrahim, chief of air staff; Air Vice Marshal Mohammed Umar; and director general of the state Security Service, Ita Ekpenyong.
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