Nigeria is on the “brink of a looming collapse” and all her citizens must work to avert the tragedy, Catholic bishops said Thursday in a statement.
The clerics were reacting to the worsening insecurity and violence across the country.
“The very survival of the nation is at stake. The nation is falling apart. Serious insecurity, clearly evident in widespread loss of lives and property, for long unaddressed, has left the sad and dangerous impression that those who have assumed the duty and authority to secure the nation are either unable – or worse still, unwilling – to take up the responsibilities of their office. Time is running out and the situation needs to improve,” the clerics said in a statement by the president and secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, Augustine Akubeze and Camillus Raymond Umoh.
The warning is coming almost two weeks after a group of bandits attacked a secondary school in Kagara, Niger State, and whisked away 27 students, three staff members and some members of their family.
The kidnap is one of the numerous cases of insecurity recorded in the country in recent years, most especially in the Northern part of Nigeria.
Apart from the Boko Haram attacks in the North-east, bandits routinely attack communities in the North-west and North-central states while kidnap for ransom has become rampant across the country. Some of the kidnaps and killings are by armed Fulani herdsmen which have led to reprisal attacks on innocent Fulani communities in several southern states.
The bishops, illustrating Nigeria’s cross-sectional challenges, said some citizens have given up on the country’s unity because of the government’s inability to address growing cases of ‘ethnic champions’ that have continued to threaten it.
They insisted that for the country to rise above its problems, both the government and people “need to have the courage to admit that there is a lot wrong with our nation.”
“It is our patriotic duty to point this out, with all objectivity and sincerity. The rule of law has too often been disregarded, giving way to widespread impunity, leading to a progressive breakdown of good order,” the bishops noted in the statement.
Before the Catholic bishops’ statement, similar managerial loopholes had been cited by different political and ethnic leaders against President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
At a consultative dialogue attended by various socio-cultural groups in September 2020, the former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, blamed the current state of the country on poor management of the nation’s diversity.
Similar views have been aired by different socIo-cultural groups, including Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Northern Elders Forum, Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo and Pan Niger Delta Forum.
The Catholic clerics in their recommendations emphasized the need for a formal meeting of statesmen and women to “think through the challenges that seem poised to push us into the abyss.”
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