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Act urgently, Nigeria is fast becoming a hostile, killing field – Lagos, Ibadan Catholic Bishops tell governments
  • Lament increasing hardship

By Neta Nwosu

The Catholic Bishops under the auspices of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) of the Lagos and Ibadan Ecclesiastical Provinces have enjoined President Bola Tinubu to act urgently and arrest the rising spate of insecurity, unbridled violence and biting hardship in the country. These calls were made in separate communiques of the first plenary meetings of the Catholic Bishops of both Ecclesiastical Provinces held respectively in Lagos and Ibadan.

The Bishops said the insecurity situation is depressing and hampering the overall good of the nation. The Bishops of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province, comprising Ibadan Archdiocese, Ilorin, Ondo, Oyo, Ekiti and Osogbo Dioceses noted, “Our dear country Nigeria is fast becoming a hostile, killing field. The ship of the nation is foundering under the weight of pervasive insecurity, economic hardship owing to hyperinflation and the collapse of the naira, cybercrime, high cost of food, lackadaisical governance and widespread corruption. “Day-to-day living is fast becoming an ordeal for millions of Nigerians because pervasive poverty, driven by the harsh environment has driven many to desperation and even suicide. It would be nothing short of hypocritical to put all the misery being suffered by Nigerians today down to change in world economy. “

The truth is that often Nigerians are simply left to their own devices and left at the mercy of the most cruel and aggressive criminals by inept and selfish political and civil leaders. In all this, governments often seem weak or altogether absent. Any remedy now is even already too late for many Nigerians who have lost their lives to terrorists, hunger, kidnapping and sundry disasters. “We plead for urgent action from all our leaders to save the Nigeria ship from sinking. The much-vaunted renewed hope is turning to utter desperation in many places and there is not much time left.” In the communique of the Catholic Bishops of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province, signed by Most Rev. ‘Leke Gabriel Abegunrin, Chairman and Archbishop of Ibadan Archdiocese; and Most Rev. John Akin Oyejola, Secretary and Bishop of Oshogbo Diocese, the prelates bemoaned the violence and bloodshed that have occurred in their province.

They recounted, “We decry the unfortunate events that have occurred recently right at our doorsteps in our ecclesiastical province. We are shocked by the regrettable kidnapping and killing of two monarchs, the Elesun of Esun Ekiti, Oba David Babatunde Ogunsakin and the Olumojo of Imojo Ekiti, Oba Samuel Olusola in Ekiti State and the kidnapping of teachers and school children in the same State. The same unfortunate fate befell Oba Peter Segun Aremu, the Olukoro of Koro of Kwara State and the kidnapping of his wife and two others.

Thankfully, the latter have now been released. “This spate of criminality is a brutal assault on our collective reverence for the traditional institution and decency. It signals the descent of our society into a Hobbesian state of nature, nasty, brutish and short, even here in the South West. We also condole with the victims of the recent explosion in Bodija area at Ibadan. “In all this, we pay tribute to the sacrifice of our soldiers and security agents who risk their lives for our security, some of whom have gotten killed in the line of duty. May God rest the souls of the dead, comfort those who mourn, and provide for all who have suffered heavy losses from these events. We declare that the time to stop this spiralling violence and bloodshed is now, before it becomes irreversible, by repositioning our security agencies to make them more pre-emptive and proactive.” The prelates said all is not well with Nigeria and called for positive change. Their communique read in part, “We admonish majority of our leaders who talk and behave as if all is well to have a change of heart.

There is cause for alarm when corruption runs riot in every sector with scant effort from government to arrest and prosecute its perpetrators. Things are not under control when continuously, Nigerians get maimed, kidnapped and killed daily on our roads and even in their homes. “There is need to restructure our security apparatus and remove saboteurs where necessary so that they can collaborate and perform optimally. Disaster is imminent when people die of hunger and the living have to steal or scrounge for food in order to survive. “Elected officers are elected not to make excuses about problems, but to change things for better. Away with insensitive aides who furnish the public with lies and innuendoes in order to mitigate government failure in the face of the recurring disasters.

Nigerians deserve to know the truth about their leaders’ programmes, activities and whereabouts. Any country run on corruption and falsehood will crumble under the weight of self-inflicted evil. Time for positive change is running out. “Uprightness makes a nation great, by sin whole races are disgraced”. (Proverbs14:34). In same vein, at the first plenary meeting of the Catholic Bishops of the Lagos Ecclesiastical Province that had in attendance the Archbishop and Bishops of Lagos, Ijebu-Ode and Abeokuta Dioceses, the Bishops expressed strong concerns about the state of our nation as exemplified in the increasing poverty, insecurity, kidnapping, and worsening economic situation.

Their communique signed by Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Adewale Martins, Chairman and Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Lagos; and Most Rev. Francis Adesina, Secretary and Bishop of Ijebu Ode, read in part, “We are very saddened that the living conditions of people have become worse now. So, we urge government to show greater determination to alleviate the suffering of our people beyond the unsustainable palliatives being touted now.

“We sympathize with all victims of insecurity: The ongoing slaughter of people in their villages that became notorious since the killings on Christmas eve in Plateau State, in Southern Kaduna, among others; the activities of kidnappers in the Federal Capital Territory; the Unknown gunmen in the South East and bandits in the North. We pray God to grant eternal rest to the dead, healing to the injured and restoration to the displaced. “We however call on our political leaders and security agencies to improve upon their efforts and bring these threats to a good life to an end. People are already tired and dismissive of the assurances that come from government and security agencies after each destruction of life and property.” The Lagos Province Bishops advised the citizenry to be relentless in prayer and be persistent in holding their leaders accountable for their actions and inaction in the course of their stewardship.


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