From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Catholic Bishops of Kaduna Ecclesiastical Province have blamed Nigerian leaders and Northern governors for the rising cases of insecurity in the country and Northern region in particular.
The bishops noted that most policies and programmes of the governors are geared towards one particular religion to allegedly encourage evil perpetrators to hide under them to wreck havoc on innocent people.
The clerics also pointed out that current cases of killing and blood-letting of innocent citizens was akin to civil war of 1967, adding that the country is really at war with enemies that are hiding under religion to perpetrate evils.
In a pastoral statement by jointly signed on Sunday by Archbishop of Kaduna and Metropolitan, Dr Matthew Man-Oso Ndagoso and Archbishop of Kaduna Ecclesiastical Province, Dr John Namaza Niyiring, OSA, pointed out that killings by kidnappers, bandits, as well as terrorist groups have made Nigeria the most terrorised country in the world.
To this end, the clergymen said they have declared a week of prayer and fasting for peace to return to the land, adding that the week of prayer will be formally declared open by the Bishop which will end with a Rosary procession and benediction in Catholic churches.
‘The last few ‘years have been the most trying times in the history of our nation. A culture of self-doubt and uncertainty have bred fear, anxiety and deep suspicion among our people. Except for the civil war, our nation has never witnessed the kind of wide spread macabre, evil, wanton destruction and murderous blood-letting. Life has never been so cheap, nor has Nigeria ever been at the stage we are in now. Deaths in the hands of kidnappers, killer herdsmen, bandit, terrorist groups have made Nigeria the most terrorised country in the world.
‘We are now one of the most dangerous places to be born into, the least peaceful countries in the world. Everywhere you turn, funerals have become our daily menu. The abductions of school children has presented us with the prospects of a traumatised generation of young students. Even at the best of times, our region has been behind in almost every index of human survival.
‘It is important for us all to understand that the northern states have been the most affected in the tragedies, loss of human lives and horror that has engulfed our nation. We all know that sad)” the perpetrators these evils are constantly appealing to the religion of Islam to validate their criminality. We therefore call on our Governors to become more circumspect in the policies that are being enunciated regarding Religion.
‘Adequate consultations should be undertaken with all religious leaders and the wider society because our plural societies demand nothing less if laws are to be for the good of all. The actions of some of our Governors in the past and even present have opened up windows that are being exploited by these men of evil in the name of Religion. We are ready to support our Governors to see an end to these tragedies. However, our laws must be anchored on the principles of Democracy and national cohesion.
‘The endless killings in our land have erected one of the most tragic signposts of our lives as a people. The blood of hundreds and thousands of innocent people that have been killed cries out to high heavens. The Christian community along with millions of our brethren have suffered tremendously since we entered this ugly face in the life of our nation.
‘Our church leaders have been kidnapped, tortured and in some cases, gruesomely murdered for no reason other than that they bear the cross of Christ. We want to assure you, dear brethren that although these times test our collective will, we shall not surrender to falsehood. Jesus already assured us that the gates of the underworld shall not prevail against his Kingdom (Mt. 16:17.) Our hopes rest firmly on these promises.
‘We are writing this Message to appeal to you to be calm, to remain strong because our God is faithful. Recall the saying, Tough times do not last, but tough people do.
‘Brethren, we have declared a week of prayer and fasting for peace in our land from August 15th to 22nd, 2021. The week of prayer will be formally declared open by the Bishop and will encl with a Rosary procession and benediction in our churches,’ the statement read.