Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - This is a great opportunity for the Church to guide its youth so as to guarantee a firm moral foundation for politics in the country. To this effect, the principles enunciated in the Holy Father’s encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, should now offer a torch for young Catholics to help light up a society riddled with divisions and injustice. This was stated by Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah Bishop of Sokoto, in an analysis of the origin of the “EndSARS” movement, which protests against the actions of the special units of the “Special Armed Robbery Squad” (SARS) and denounces the most serious human rights violations (see Fides, 26/10/2020) .
"In the course of my work as a member of the Truth Commission in Nigeria which examined human rights violations in the country between 1999-2001, we heard horrifying stories from victims of the highhandedness, extra judicial killings, inhuman torture, citizen disappearances among many others, that they endured from the police. Despite dozens of inquiries and recommendations, nothing had been done to make the police force a respectable institution in Nigeria. This was at the heart of the protests". underlines the Bishop. "SARS was one of 14 agencies set up by a then Commissioner of Police Simeon Danladi Midenda in 1992, following the death of a military officer in the hands of policemen. It was also to address the issues of national security, ranging from counter terrorism, armed robbery, protection of national assets and so on by the police force", recalls Mgr. Kukah.
However, over time, SARS fell into disrepute having become a source of fear and "an agent of terror to citizens". They became popularly known among Nigerians as, ‘kill and go,’.
SARS' favorite victims were young people, who were described as the "source of the problem". considered a "source of problems". And it was precisely these young people who took to the streets to demand the dissolution of the special unit. The peaceful protests, however, have turned into violent clashes with the police and at least 10 people lost their lives in the last few weeks in the incidents.
"This is a great opportunity for the Church to guide its youth so as to guarantee a firm moral foundation for politics in our country", said Mgr. Kukah.
"The principles enunciated in the Holy Father’s encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, should now offer a torch for our young Catholics to help light up a society riddled with divisions and injustice. Fratelli Tutti emphasizes the moral imperative of dialogue".
"When the Pope Francis speaks of politics as a lofty vocation, one lofty form of charity and a platform for the pursuit of the common good, these themes should resonate with young people who need to understand these values as they are stepping into public life", concludes the Bishop. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 13/11/2020)