Fred Ezeh, Abuja And Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has expressed fear that Nigeria’s democracy was fast derailing with catastrophic consequences.
It pointed out that quality of accountability, transparency, independence of the judiciary, respect for fundamental rights, rule of law, and credible electoral process, among others are gradually vanishing.
It thus urged politicians, businessmen, religious leaders, public servants and citizens to live out the values of their faith for the common good of all.
CBCN President, Bishop Augustine Akubueze, in a communique joined signed with the Secretary, Most. Rev. Camillus Umoh and released at the end of CBCN second plenary meeting in Abeokuta, Ogun state late Thursday night, observed that security situation in Nigeria has continued to worsen and Federal Government, in which the power to control the security agencies seem overwhelmed.
He suggested proper decentralisation of security agencies for effective results, insisting that without adequate security of lives and property, there won’t be stability and enabling environment for meaningful development.
He added: “We noted with dismay that months after elections, many parts of Nigeria are still in disarray and the country is badly divided along religious and ethnic lines, as evident in appointments to positions of national importance, sharing of resources, and distribution of social amenities.”
He urged government to ensure that it does not allow ethnic or religious hegemony to prevail on Nigeria’s multi-religious and secular state. “No religion should be favoured or seen to be favoured over another,” he said.
The Catholic Bishops, however, observed that marriage is under pressure globally and worst in Nigeria due to economic and social crises that have lasted for several years. They appealed to parents to, by their words and examples, uphold the ideals of decency, discipline, honesty and marital fidelity.
They also condemned in strong terms, the xenophobic attacks in South Africa against Nigerians and other non-nationals, who lost their lives and properties.
The bishops, who equally frowned at the reprisal attacks on perceived South African investments in some parts of Nigeria, noted that such step was not the best way to handle the issue. They praised the South African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) for being prophetic in their condemnation of the attack and urged the government to take decisive steps to end it.
“We pray for peaceful repose of those who lost their lives and sympathised with those who have suffered bereavement, sustained injuries and recorded heavy losses. At the same time, we note that South Africa and Nigeria have come a long way in fraternal and diplomatic relations. We advise Nigerians living at home and abroad to be good and law abiding,” the bishops stated in the communique.