By NBF News
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To avert what he described as an impending national calamity, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, has urged President Goodluck Jonathan and the leadership of the National Assembly to declare a state of emergency in the South-East.

Briefing the media in Abuja yesterday against the backdrop of incessant cases of kidnapping in the region, Okoh insisted there was apparent breakdown of law and order in the South-East, as the governors appeared to have been overcome by the criminals. He said every Nigerian should be saddened by the situation.

'We suggest that the National Assembly should recognise this as a state of emergency. We humbly call on Mr. President to recognize that the insecurity in the South East is already beyond the capacity of the governors in the area to handle, and to lend it his federal might,' he said.

He regretted that criminals had virtually shut down social and economic activities in the South-East through violence, brigandage and kidnapping of the high, middle and low class people in quest of money. Describing what is happening in the area as self-inflicted wound, the top clergy said it would take the region at least 10 years to recover from this regrettable crisis.

Okoh also had a word for the kidnapper: A bleak future awaits them, because they 'are not doing anything good for themselves or their future. There is no way they can be said to have any positive future in Nigeria as they are merely shortening their life on earth because if the police don't kill them, they may meet mishap one way or the other. They should surrender now or just fizzle out of existence before being caught and killed.'

However, the Primate is not convinced that governors have a hand in the kidnapping cases.

'I don't believe any responsible government will sponsor kidnappers as it is being insinuated. But if it is politicians I can say maybe they want their opponents kidnapped and money collected so as to weaken the opposition but not any responsible constituted government.

'Those involved in this dastardly act of kidnapping are not foreigners, they are from the South East so I call on the church, parents and governments to all come together and solve this problem because these kidnappers are known people. 'I want this kidnapping problem brought under control before the end of this year or else the whole south east will be a deserted place because people will be afraid to go home; those at home are leaving not to return again while those outside Nigeria who used to bring money home for one thing or the other are not coming anymore because they stop them and kidnap them.

'I want to warn that this may spread to other parts of the country if it is not curtailed now as others will see it as a veritable venture. I appeal to the President once again to bring its federal might to bear on it because the fact is that it has gone beyond the control of state governors who themselves move about with lots of security personnel because if they are not careful, they will be kidnapped also.'