From Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
Bishops of the Owerri Ecclesiastical Province has expressed concern over the spate of killings in the south east, maintaining that it must be stopped to avert the wrath of God.
The clerics after a two day retreat at Aba, Abia State on Wednesday have also condemned killings by violent groups as well as illegal security apparatus in the zone.
According to the communiqué issued by Most Reverend Lucius Ugorji and Most Reverend Augustine Echema, chairman and secretary respectively, they pointed out that violent can never be a solution to the country’s social- political problems.
The communiqué titled “averting the gathering storm” reads thus: ” Our society is in trouble. No one appears to be safe; not even those in power. Violent groups are on the rampage – bandits, kidnappers, assassins, trigger-happy security forces, illegal security entities and paramilitary groups. Innocent lives are being lost.
“There is great fear and anxiety in our states, along with socio-economic dislocations. We cannot continue in this path. Our society has bled so much. No doubt we know that there are those who are driven to violence by understandable grievances.
” Yet violence can never be a solution to our current socio-political problems. We cannot destroy ourselves in the name of saving ourselves. We re-iterate that the reason for government is to protect lives and property of the citizens.
“There have been repeated reports from many places of exaggerated use of force by government security agencies, and at times summary execution of alleged offenders. We therefore appeal to all those behind this cycle of violence.
“Offenders should be prosecuted in the Courts to ensure justice to all. We must also insist that there is no substitute to good governance for security at all levels. Therefore, government should provide our young people an environment for positive human development and material well-being”.
It continued ” We use this opportunity to condole with the grieving families of security personnel who are killed in the line of duty; our hearts bleed for all the victims of violence and callous killing in our states today – especially the recent killings in Orogwe, Awomamma, Izombe, Ihube, Leru, Isuochi and other places. We pray that God grant the dead eternal repose and consolation to the bereaved.
On the dwindling standard of education in the country, it reads “We decry the lamentable state of affairs in our educational sector. For months now academic activities in our public universities and other tertiary institutions have been grounded as a result of the strike actions embarked upon by the various unions (ASUU and others).
“It is a pity that the educational sector has become a theater of neglect and indifference, symptomatic of the generalized decay and negligence which have affected all aspects of our national life. Countries normally invest in their young people and prioritize knowledge and human capacity development. But not so in Nigeria.
“There is no doubt that the current situation is adversely affecting the students who waste away in idleness and are exposed to destructive social vices.
“This brings our attention to the regrettable events in Abia State Polytechnic leading to its de-accreditation – an institution that for long has been the pride of the state. We call on all the stakeholders in the educational sector, in particular the government and the various unions of tertiary institutions, to rise to the challenges of leadership.
“We appeal to their sense of patriotism and moral sensitivity. Both sides must be realistic in their negotiations and be ready for making the necessary compromises. With regard to the accreditation problem in Abia Polytechnic, we appeal to the Abia State Government, the Management of Abia State Polytechnic and the Regulatory Body, to take adequate steps to ensure that the institution regains her accreditation for all the courses offered in it, without compromising standards.