FG overwhelmed by insecurity, say Catholic Bishops

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has expressed concerns over the continued insecurity in the country, saying that the Federal Government appeared overwhelmed by the development.

The episcopal body, which noted that various security challenges have made living in Nigeria very precarious, called for proper decentralization of security agencies for effective results.

Rising from the CBCN second plenary meeting held in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, the bishops said in a communiqué that there can be no stability and enabling environment for meaningful development without adequate security of lives and property.

The communiqué, titled “Moving beyond precarious living in Nigeria,” was jointly signed by the CBCN President, Most Rev. Augustine Akubeze and the Secretary, Most Rev. Camillus Umoh.

It observed that the nation’s democracy was fast derailing, noting that the qualities of accountability, transparency, independence of the judiciary, respect for fundamental rights, observance of the rule of law, and fair and credible electoral process were still lacking.

It appealed to the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to allow ethnic or religious hegemony to prevail in the country, adding that there should be fairness in appointments to positions of national importance, sharing of resources and distribution of social amenities.

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While acknowledging efforts being made to fight insecurity in the land, the Catholic bishops declared that a lot more still needs to be done.

The CBCN urged governments at all levels to provide the enabling environment for the creation of job opportunities for teeming youth population, noting that this would minimise the menace of insecurity in the country.

The body also called on the government and security agencies to do all they can to secure the immediate release of Leah Sharibu, the remaining Chibok girls and all other persons still in captivity.

The communiqué partly read, “There are, unfortunately, still many instances of killings as a result of banditry, kidnapping, assassination, armed robbery, reckless use of force by security agencies and lynching. Lately, too, there is an upsurge in the cases of suicide, even among our youths.

“Furthermore, the clashes between herdsmen and communities, and the activities of Boko Haram insurgents have continued, in which many innocent people lost their lives. These make living in Nigeria very precarious.

“We recognise the efforts being made by the government to fight insecurity in the land. However, we emphasize that a lot more still needs to be done in this regard.

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“We observe that the Federal Government, in which the power to control the major security agencies is vested, is overwhelmed. There is, therefore, need for proper decentralization of these agencies for effective results.

“We call on all citizens to be law abiding and vigilant, be one another’s keeper, live by sound moral principles and, above all, obey the commandments of God. We urge governments at all levels to provide the enabling environment that would make it possible for both the government and the private sector to create job opportunities for our teeming youth population. This would certainly minimise the menace of insecurity in our land.

“We thank God for making it possible for our country to continue to exist as a sovereign nation. Yet, much effort is required from both government and citizens in order to have a nation in which everyone and every part, irrespective of differences of tribe or religion or political affiliation, will have a sense of belonging.

“We note with dismay that many months after the general elections, many parts of our nation are still in disarray. The country is badly divided. This is evident in appointments to positions of national importance, sharing of resources and distribution of social amenities.

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“We urge especially the Federal Government to ensure that it does not allow ethnic or religious hegemony to prevail in our multi-religious and secular state. No one religion should be favoured over another.

“There should be fairness, justice and neutrality in relation to all religions and ethnic groups, for where there is no justice; there can be no peace, unity and development. We, therefore, enjoin all Nigerians to see themselves as one united people and work for justice in order to ensure a peaceful and united nation.

“While praying for solutions to our problems, we must endeavour to be just in our dealings with others, work hard in fulfilling our duties, and collaborate with others in the social transformation of our country.

“We, therefore, urge all politicians, businessmen, religious leaders, public servants and, indeed, all citizens to live out the values of their faith for the common good.”

The second plenary meeting was held between September 11 and 20 at the Divine Mercy Pastoral Centre, Agbamaya, Obada-Oko, Abeokuta.

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