“Nigeria is bearing the emblem of a lost soul with rising insecurity across the country,” Catholic Bishops of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province have said, berating the government for failing to handle the situation well.
A decade-long Boko Haram insurgency has left a devastating humanitarian crisis in Northeast Nigeria with thousands of people killed and more than two million displaced.
According to a security report by Beacon Consulting, more than 1,000 Nigerians were killed in June 2021 alone, in armed conflicts across the country.
But the Catholic Bishops, in a communiqué on Wednesday, July 22, 2021, blamed the security crisis on the Buhari government’s nepotistic tendencies which they say have cost Nigeria its soul.
“A nation that has lost its soul is characterised by inept, uncaring leadership which functions by selective allocation of posts, privileges and resources and by selective application of justice,” the communiqué signed by the province Chairman and Secretary, Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin, and Rev. Akin Oyejola read.
“It is characterised by leaders who, rather than care for the citizens of the country, simply exploit and denigrate them.”
The clergymen condemned President Muhammadu Buhari’s reaction to Archbishop Matthew Kukah’s earlier comments on insecurity in Nigeria before the United States Congress.
Kuka had told the US Congress that Christians were more at the receiving end of the security challenges in the country, emphasising that “the fact that the government seems to be either helpless or uninterested in dealing decisively with these people has added more confusion.”
But Garba Shehu, media aide to President Buhari said Kukah spoke without facts.
Commenting on Kukah’s statement, the Catholic bishops said, “We support Bishop Kukah in his effort to unveil the truth about the Nigerian situation in order to ameliorate things.”
They urged the Nigerian government to “learn not to see criticism as an attack or a crime.”
They also appealed to Nigerians not to lose hope in the possibility of a peaceful, united, and prosperous country.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops called on the media and civil society groups to sustain the momentum of increased public awareness and education on the importance of political participation at all levels of governance.
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