Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has scored the Federal Government low over what it termed poor performance in one of its key electoral promises – security.
It also joined in the call for an end to the bloodshed in Southern Kaduna and other parts of the country.
These were the submission of the clerics in a statement by its president, Archbishop Augustine, in Abuja yesterday.
“Our hearts are bleeding, and we are more troubled when we hear of the massacre presently going on in Southern Kaduna. We want all the people suffering the incessant attacks in Southern Kaduna to know that all Catholics in Nigeria are praying for them, and we call on the federal and state governments to stop the killing of innocent people.”
The clerics maintained that killings did not further the agenda of any religious ideology or the ambition of any politician and asked the government to bring the perpetrators of the killings to justice.
“Where there is no peace, there cannot be development. Any government that wants peace must work for justice for everyone. There will never be sustained development built upon the bloodshed of innocent people brutally murdered by religious fundamentalists without recourse to justice for the victims.”
The CBCN reminded the All Progressives Congress-led government that it came to power in 2015 with a promise to eradicate corruption, guarantee security to life and property and grow the economy. In addition to job creation, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration also promised to put in place enabling environment that engenders growth of the private sector, stable power supply, and quality health care to Nigerians, and revamping of the educational sector.
“Many Nigerians, irrespective of political party affiliation, will affirm that these promises have remained a far cry. We strongly appeal to Nigerians to unite together in calling the Federal Government to give priority to these areas of our lives.
“To all Catholics, we request that you join in praying one Our Father, three Hail Marys, and one Glory Be to the Father every day after the Angelus for 40 days, starting from August 22 to September 30, the eve of Nigeria’s Independence Day,” he said.
Meanwhile, pentecostal bishops in northern Nigeria under the umbrella of the Pentecostal Bishops’ Forum of the 19 northern states have described the unending killings and community destruction in Southern Kaduna as a well orchestrated mission to overrun the indigenous people of the region.
The Bishops said the worsening security situation suggested that there was no government to provide security for the people or that government officials might have compromised and are part of the problem for whatever reasons.
Chairman of the Forum, Archbishop John Praise Daniel, who addressed journalists in Abuja, yesterday, advised the people to find a way of providing security for themselves and their communities since the government had failed in its constitutional responsibility to protect them.
“Report we received from the affected communities indicated that state security officials could visit a particular community, collect all what they use in defending themselves and their communities, leave the community, thus making them vulnerable to attacks.
“Few hours or days after, the attackers who are mostly Fulani herdsmen would invade the communities and massacre the people, destroy houses and leave with valuable items.”
The religious leaders challenged the federal and state governments, as well as international community to come to the aid of the people of Southern Kaduna, facilitate the arrest and prosecution of the attackers to serve as deterrent to others.
At the end their meeting in Abuja, the Bishops called for fortification of security arrangement in the vulnerable communities, institute a regime of structured compensation for the losses, possibly, revisit the age long simmering socioeconomic and political feuds among the various groups in order to arrive at an equitable, acceptable and enduring solution to the crisis.