Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The umbrella body of Catholic Bishops in Nigeria, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), has appealed to aggrieved youths engaged in violent criminal acts to stop and tow the path of peace in order not to mar the cause being fought for, and for which some of them have already paid the supreme price.
The Bishops’ body called on government to take full responsibility for stabilising the country and restoring hope and confidence in its ability to lead Nigeria away from disaster.
It encouraged government to seek the best form of dialogue, so as to present to the country, short, medium and long term solutions to the crisis.
It also suggested that positive and progressive minds in the country, including members of the political parties not in government, the wider civil society, including the religious and traditional institutions and the youths themselves, should be engaged in a round table discussion, so that a way forward can be effectively charted.
CBCN President Archbishop Augustine Akubueze, in a statement released on Saturday, renewed the hope of the Bishops in the future of a united, just and peaceful Nigeria, insisting that leaders must learn that Nigerians deserve and demand respect for their lives, dignity and rights.
He added: ‘Our priority now is to save Nigeria and its people. Undoubtedly, the Federal Government has, for long, paid rather scant regard for the agitations that have been building up in the country over the years, especially with the daily lost of human lives across the entire country. We believe that it is time to restore honour and dignity to our country and our people.
‘We condemn in strongest words, the belittling, by these armed men, of the rights of citizens to peaceful assembly. Nevertheless, with heavy hearts, we respect the memory of the victims of the shameful tragedy that has drawn the attention of the entire international community.
‘The conduct of these men in uniform was inhuman, dishonourable and detestable to say the least. All lives remain sacrosanct. It is our hope that the government will do all in its power to investigate these killings with a view to bringing those who are culpable to account, without any long delay.’