From David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Bishop of the Methodist Church Nigeria, Diocese of Onitsha, Rt Rev Bieronwu Livinus Onuagha has lamented what he described as the state of heavy borrowing by the Federal government, noting that it puts Nigeria into further indebtedness while ordinary Nigerians wallow in poverty.
Bishop Onuagha made the remark in Onitsha while interacting with journalists at the Bishop’s Court.
According to him, borrowing up to N6 trillion from the pension fund, where the cut from salaries of civil servants was domiciled to be paid them at the end of their service, portends great danger for pensioners.
‘I wonder where they will get the money to pay back. We don’t have a future. Our pension is no longer safe. That’s the government we’re working for, a government that doesn’t think about your welfare,’ Bishop Onuagha said.
‘Just look at the level of insecurity in Nigeria which is no longer a hidden issue. Unfortunately, the government-owned media doesn’t cover that. They don’t report it to avoid being sacked. Many lives are lost on a daily basis, especially in the North, as if human beings are animals. It’s only in Nigeria that I’ve seen the worth of life as nothing.’
The Bishop said that it was unfortunate the President, a Northerner, would allow such ‘monumental waste of lives and property to continue in Borno and other Northern states.
He expressed worry that if the President could not secure his own people and others it means the life of every Nigerian is also in danger, noting that Mr Buhari had assured Nigerians of ending the Boko Haram insurgency in 2015 once he assumed office, ‘but instead of stopping it, the thing is increasing.’
He described the insecurity in Nigeria as a tripartite issue.
On accusations that Igbos are troublemakers in Nigeria, the Bishop insisted that whoever accused the Igbo as perpetrators of the Northern problems was only trying to whip up sentiments. He regretted that the Igbo had always been scapegoated in the country. The Bishop said that the Igbo have always been enterprising in all spheres of life, with businesses and investments all over Nigeria, and would be the last tribe to think about destabilising the country.
‘How can the Igbo be looking for war or trouble when we’re the fastest growing tribe in the world. After the civil war, everyone that had money in the bank was given only 20 pounds irrespective of the millions you had. But if you go to Onitsha, Enugu, Aba and all the Eastern parts of the country today, you see what’s happening there. God has always been with the Igbo despite the annihilation plans,’ he said.
‘The Igbo are Jews, whether you like it or not. There’s no gainsaying the fact. And whatever you do to annihilate them, you’re making a serious mistake. The only thing you can do is to cooperate with them to forge ahead.’
The Bishop described Igbos as the only true Nigerians, saying they have a way of transforming anywhere they find themselves. He said that was why during the Christmas season, Abuja, Lagos and other major cities become ghost towns when Igbos travel home to the East for the holiday.
The cleric insisted that the Igbo were innocent and are not looking for war, saying that they are only asking for an enabling environment to prove their lot.
The Bishop advised that Nigerians should embrace peace and love for one another, qualities he said Christmas represents.