The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) on Friday in Abuja expressed worry over the lack of accountability and transparency at all levels of government in Nigeria, saying the situation is responsible for the massive poverty and insecurity in the country.
The bishops said by failing to uphold probity in the deployment of public resources, President Goodluck Jonathan, state governors and other public office holders should be regarded as human rights abusers.
This is contained in a communiqué signed by Arch-Bishop Ignatius Kaigama, President of CBCN at the end of the first plenary conference titled “Faith and the Dignity of the Human Person”.
The communique stated that the lack of transparency and accountability were responsible for the high level of poverty and security threats in the country.
It said, “To respect the dignity of a person is to concede his rights to him as fully human.
“We cannot fail to point out that the pervasive lack of accountability and transparency in governance in Nigeria has become a serious abuse of human rights.
“A government that is negligent in this regard, assaults the intelligence of the citizen; this, too, is a gross violation of human dignity.
“We call on leaders in every sphere of our society to be more accountable and more transparent in the conduct of public affairs.
“The lack of accountability, especially in the oil industry in Nigeria continues to give our country a bad name, impoverishes the citizenry, and threatens national security.
“It is a gross violation of human dignity that Nigerians, citizens of a richly endowed land, live in dehumanising poverty.
“That is why the government and the governed must renew sincere efforts to fight corruption and the theft and wastage of public funds in Nigeria,’’ it said.
It called on relevant arms of government to adequately provide for the welfare of the men and women in the police, the army and other security agencies, who risk their lives to ensure security in the country.
The communique condemned the spending of public funds on artificial family planning by government and called on leaders to be wary of adopting policies that compromised cultural and spiritual values.
“We, therefore, condemn the sad novelty of our government spending public funds on an artificial family planning programme that sacrifices morality on the altar of techniques of population control.
“We again call on our leaders and government to be wary of adopting policies and strategies, which compromise cultural and spiritual values as a solution to challenges, no matter how serious those challenges may be.”
The body of Catholic Bishops declared the Diocese of Maiduguri a “Pastoral Emergency Area”.
The conference also initiated plans and strategies to directly support and sustain pastoral life in the Diocese of Maiduguri without neglecting to help other affected areas.
CBCN called on all Catholic faithful and other men and women of goodwill to make special commitment to this task through prayers, visits, funds and technical assistance.
The communiqué, which was cosigned by Arch-Bishop Alfred Martins, Secretary oCBCNf the conference, reiterated CBCN’s commitment to the unity of Christians and reconfirm its membership of Christian Association of Nigeria.