Clergymen want government to tackle corruption, insecurity in the country.
Catholic Bishops are worried about the high rate of corruption among government officials and have asked for a change in attitude from them.
The clerics, who are members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), have asked President Goodluck Jonathan to find solutions to the unbridled corruption and impunity among the political class if the country is to move forward.
President of the conference, Ignatius Kaigama, who spoke on Sunday at the opening ceremony of the second plenary session of the conference, expressed sadness at the inability of the government to stop the malaise which he said is manifest at all levels of leadership in the country.
“Unbridled corruption and impunity among the nation’s political class is worrisome, particularly as the mismanagement (of the nation’s resources) is at all levels, especially the recent fuel subsidy and pension funds scam,” Mr. Kaigama said.
Mr. Kaigama expressed worry at how “a few Nigerians wallow in unbelievable wealth and spend recklessly what should be for all of us.”
The clergyman, who spoke shortly after a Holy Mass at the Mater Dei Cathedral in Umuahia, Abia state, reaffirmed the determination of the Bishops to continue to inspire the Catholic faithfuls to live and work for one nation
Nigeria must remain one
Mr. Kaigama said that the current security challenges facing the country are designed by some unpatriotic elements to create distrust, disharmony, and disintegration among Nigerians.
“We must collectively resist the temptation to pitch northern Nigeria against southern Nigeria, Muslims against Christians by the terrorist group,” he said. “As spiritual leaders, we will continue to supplicate God for peace, reconciliation and justice in our beloved country.”
The bishop condemned the incessant attacks on Christians and other innocent Nigerians. He called for a concerted effort to halt its perpetrators, pointing out that most Nigerians wonder whether the government is really on top of the situation as it often claimed.
Also speaking, the Pope’s representative to Nigeria (Papal Nuncio), Augustine Kasujja, called for urgent government action to end thestate of insecurity in the country. He underlined the need for dialogue among the different religions in the country to halt the spate of killings, violence, and general insecurity.
Just continue to pray
Minister for Labour and Productivity, Emeka Nwogu, who represented the president at the conference, underscored the need for the church and government to collaborate in order to enhance the development of the country. He urged them to continue to pray for peace, progress and unity of the country.
Mr. Nwogu said the government was concerned about the current religious bigotry, violence and hate among Nigerians, particularly at a time the present administration is embarking on massive socio-economic transformation of the country.
He assured that the government is not only addressing the security problem in the country, but also committed to fighting corruption at all levels of government.
“This administration stands for truth, justice and rule of law. All the institutions established to fight corruption have been
strengthened,” he said, adding that the Mr. Jonathan was determined to leave a lasting legacy for posterity.
Mr. Nwogu called on members of the conference to use the period to deliberate on matters concerning national peace and security as well as other issues that would help to move the country forward.
Three state governors who attended the conference- Theodore Orji of Abia, Peter Obi of Anambra, and Rochas Okorocha of Imo -called for prayers for the country to tackle its security challenges.
We are not corrupt
Mr. Orji debunked claims that politicians are the most corrupt class of people in the country. He said everybody should be equally blamed.
His Anambra counterpart, Mr. Obi, however, acknowledged the allegation of massive corruption among the political class, and said it was time for Nigerians to go after corrupt politicians.
“We have talked a lot in Nigeria about this issue of corruption. It is time Nigerians start to confront us and our lifestyles,” he said.
Mr. Obi noted the corrupt tendencies and unbridled quest by politicians to amass wealth at the expense of the people, saying that “Nigeria is going down the drain.”
The Anambra governor said about 123 private jets are recently registered in Nigeria with over 90 of them purchased with stolen money.
He described the domestic debts owed by various levels of government in the country as “dangerous”, noting that the future of the country is being mortgaged through various corrupt practices.
“We borrow for consumption and not for manufacturing,” Mr. Obi noted, adding that the nation’s currency would suffer devaluation if they cannot redeem the debt
We are corrupt, but pray for us
The Imo State Governor said, at the conference, that political leaders should be held responsible for the rot in the country. He however said that the nation’s woes required spiritual intervention.
Mr. Okorocha called for a joint conference for both the clergy and politicians both categories “will rub minds together on how to move the country forward.”