Catholic Bishops of Nigeria have accused the Federal Government of not living up to its responsibility, with regard to securing lives and properties of its citizens.
This is part of the seven-point communique: ‘The Threshold of a New Dawn in Nigeria’, issued at the end of their second plenary meeting at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Orlu, signed by the CBCN President and Secretary, Rev. Lucius Ugorji and Rev. Donatus Aihmiosion, respectively, and made available to newsmen in Orlu, yesterday.
The bishops said: “We continue to decry the worsening state of insecurity in our nation, as well as activities of terrorists and insurgents, kidnappers and bandits. Armed robbery and cybercrimes have continued unabated.
“Attacks on travellers and worshippers in Churches and other places of worship have become too frequent. An instance is the recent mass shooting and bombing attacks on St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State, on Pentecost Sunday, 5 June 2022, in which 41 worshippers were killed and 70 grievously injured.
“All these have led to an incessant loss of lives and destruction of property of innocent people. We express our heartfelt condolences to all the bereaved and pray for the eternal repose of the deceased.
“Regrettably, the government has not lived up to its duties with regard to security. We observe that even when suspects have been arrested, there is not even diligent prosecution of the culprits of these nefarious acts, thereby leaving the citizenry helpless and despairing.
“While we continue to call on civil authorities to stand up to their constitutional responsibility of safeguarding the lives and property of Nigerians, we enjoin all to strengthen security measures in their homes and institutions. We call on all citizens to be law-abiding, vigilant, and to shun all forms of violence and criminality.”
Directing their attention to the nation’s economy, the Bishops said: “Owing to mismanagement and a failing economy with an ever increasing debt burden, there is poverty and hunger in our land, in spite of our huge human and natural resources.
“Spiralling inflation, high costs of goods and services, soaring unemployment, crude oil theft and non-functioning refineries have inflicted untold hardship on the citizens. Furthermore, governments have resorted to unnecessary borrowing, jeopardizing the well-being of the present and future generations.
“Furthermore, this poor state of our economy has led to the mass migration of our human capital, especially professional and skilled labourers, fleeing the nation in search of greener pastures.”
The clerics therefore, urged the government to make adequate policies and provide the enabling environment for the creation of more jobs by both the government and the private sector, adding that this would surely reduce the level of poverty, insecurity and unrest in the land.
The Catholic Bishops described the protracted industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, as “unacceptable”.
Their words: “The protracted strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, since February 14, 2022, is unacceptable. ASUU has cited the non-implementation of agreements by the Federal Government as the cause.
“We know that efforts have been made to resolve the matter. However, we believe that a resort to courts may not be the best and fastest way to solve the problem. Therefore, we renew our call on the Federal Government and ASUU to find a quicker and better way of resolving the matters under contention so that public universities will re-open.”
On the Church, politics and the common good of the citizenry, the Bishops said: “The Church teaches that politics is for the common good, in which it finds its full justification and significance and the source of its inherent legitimacy. As such, political authority has to be exercised within the limits of the moral order and directed towards the common good.
“Out of respect for all God’s children, the Church does not identify with nor is she bound to any political party. Nevertheless, the Church is not indifferent or neutral to the formation and activities of the political community.
“We urge our Catholic Lay Faithful, especially those with talents for the difficult, yet noble art of politics, or whose talents in this matter can be developed, to prepare themselves for it and, forgetting their convenience and material interests, to engage in political activity in pursuance of the common good and the establishment of the moral order.”