From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
Catholic Bishops of dioceses in southeast Nigeria have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately adopt a new spirit of governance to issues of security to save the country from grave danger.
Speaking during an emergency meeting on the state of the nation held at the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity, Onitsha, the Bishops decried the rising level of violence and insecurity in all parts of Nigeria, with growing anxiety which they described as a major concern for all.
The meeting, attended by the Bishops and Auxiliary Bishops of all the Catholic Dioceses in the southeast, was chaired by Archbishop Anthony Obinna of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province and hosted by Archbishop Valerian Okeke of Onitsha Archdiocese.
Speaking at the end of the meeting, Archbishop Obinna said: ‘The injustice and insecurity noticeable at various levels of government and the highhandedness with which government and security personnel approach various segments of this nation has led to public outcry, dismay and disappointment.
‘In the light of this, there have been provocations and reactions from the people who have been yearning for government response to the genuine needs and outcry of the people. This nation is in great danger unless we bring a new spirit and approach.
‘So, we challenge the government to look into security matters and restrain those using weapons of various sorts to intimidate people and creating unrest in the system. We expect a stoppage of the carnage taking place in the farmlands in various locations and we also challenge the people at large to recognise that every human life is sacred. As fellow citizens, we need to cherish one another and bring a spirit of respect and mutual appreciation so as to minimize and eliminate the bad blood that is circulating in Nigeria.’
Also speaking, the Metropolitan Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha Province, Most Rev Valerian Okeke, observed that the uneven application of justice in Nigeria was worrisome. He called on government to be fair minded in dealing with the people.
‘For example, the government has found it necessary to disarm those struggling for self defence while leaving those armed herdsmen, bandits that are killing many and destroying people’s farmlands.
‘Instead of addressing the cries of the people, they are crushing those who are crying. The government should be fair in dealing with the people. We rely on God who never fails and we call on all men and women of goodwill to continue to pray since nothing is impossible before God. Do not be afraid for God will deliver us,’ he prayed.