Fred Ezeh; Gracious Iroaja
Many Nigerians believe that the foundation of the country is under threat. And expectedly they are not happy with successive political leaders for their inability to meet their constitutional responsibilities.
Few weeks ago, St. Luke Catholic Church, Kubwa, Abuja, joined the list of those demanding for change of approach. They also demanded peace and better living conditions for Nigerians.
The church was unhappy with the high rate of corruption and ineptitude in government circle, which had slowed down socioeconomic and political development of Nigeria. The church was afraid that the unending killings in some parts of Nigeria, as well as human rights abuse might herald the disunity and disintegration of Nigeria, if urgent steps were not taken.
To this end, the church mobilized its personnel to the headquarters of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Abuja, where a roundtable was set for all stakeholders to extensively discuss issues of governance, security, human rights abuse and 2019 elections. It was an opportunity for participants to critically examine issues of concern to Nigeria as a nation, and the need to secure the stability and sustainable socioeconomic growth in Nigeria.
Participants included the clergy, faithful of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, elder statesmen, legislators, public office holders, civil society representatives and the media.
The Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Innocent Jooji, read the opening address, while the roundtable was declared open by Archbishop, Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, through a representative. Presentations were made on issues of human rights violation by the military; citizens’ and church responsibility to the state; and agitation for restructuring which they said is a fundamental right of Nigerians.
It was established at the meeting that restructuring of Nigeria was long overdue. They thus asked government to embark on genuine and transparent dialogue that would lead to the restructuring of Nigeria, to achieve greater cohesion, unity and harmonious relationship among the various diverse ethnic nationalities in Nigeria.
They joined voices to call for expedite action on the release of the only Christian Dapchi school girl and reminder of Chibok school girls still being held in Boko Haram captivity.
Then, however, demanded of government to respect the principles of Federal Character and sensitivity to ethnic and religious composition of Nigeria in respect of key appointments especially the heads of security agencies.