The Christian Association of Nigeria and Muslim Rights Concern have said prayers are also effective in the fight against insecurity in the country in addition to having requisite weapons.
The reactions came after a statement made by the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, who said Nigeria’s security agencies need superior weapons to fight insecurity and not prayers.
Speaking at a town hall meeting organised by the National Security Adviser on Monday, El-Rufai had stated that security should be the number one priority of the government and the collective responsibility of all citizens.
“We need to support our security agencies not with prayers, but with superior weapons. Security is a collective responsibility.”
But speaking with SaharaReporters on Tuesday, the Kaduna CAN Chairman, John Hayab, said the governor should understand that even with superior weapons, prayer is an effective and powerful weapon.
Condemning the stance of the governor on faith matters, Hayab said he was not surprised that such statements came from El-Rufai, who he described as "having a negative attitude towards God and faith”.
He said, “If a man tells you the clothes you are wearing are not good, don’t get angry at him, he may possibly be a blind man so he may not see the quality of the clothes; that’s the way I see the governor’s reaction. His attitude towards God and faith has always been negative. We know that prayer is effective but we are also not stupid so we know that as we pray for the security agencies, we also want them to back their actions with superior weapons but if we say prayer is not important, we are speaking like blind people.
“We have trust in prayer, we walk in prayer, we know that prayer and action go together. El-Rufai has not said anything different from all that he has been saying, he is that human being that doesn't see anything good outside what he is doing. Unfortunately, his superior talk has not helped Kaduna State because if the rhetoric was to give us peace or give us good governance, Kaduna would have been like another Dubai but we are still here because our governor is just a talkative, not an action person.”
Also speaking with SaharaReporters on Tuesday, the Director of MURIC, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, said it is very essential to pray but also to be realistic, according to the command of the Prophet Mohammed.
He said, “We need to pray, prayer is the weapon, the sword of the believer. But while we are praying, we have to be realistic. The Prophet said put your faith in Allah and then tie your horse, we know you are praying to Allah and he can protect your horse but don't forget to tie it, don't leave it to stray away.
“While we pray, we must do something to actualise the wishes in the prayers and that is where the statement of the governor becomes relevant. He is a pragmatic person, frank to a fault, he is realistic, when he says we should support them with superior weapons, he knows what he is saying.”
Akintola recalled that in 2013, soldiers were leaving the army because of a lack of equipment to fight insurgency. According to him, the situation has changed since 2015 but there's still more to be done in terms of security to protect the lives of Nigerians.
“The army generals couldn't face Boko Haram and were dying in their hundreds, money meant for the purchase of arms was siphoned into private pockets by some. They had no weapons and were fleeing from Boko Haram fighters. I think the situation has changed, we have a different army, they are not running when they meet Boko haram, it is even Boko Haram that is playing hide and seek, trying to hit soft targets. Boko Haram no longer plants bombs as easily as they used to, they no longer plant suicide bombers as easily as they used to."
He said the way forward is for the government to be prepared to provide better weapons.
He however urged wealthy individuals to be willing to donate money, vehicles, facilities, and others to support security agencies.
“There are over 210 million Nigerians, we have only 317, 000 police officers; 100, 000 soldiers while the Department of State Services has a little above 33, 000 men. We need to triple the number if we want to protect Nigeria effectively,” he said.