The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has called on the Nigerian Federal Government to ensure a just and fair trial of those arrested because of their agitation for self-determination. The Bishops warn that mismanagement of the cases could trigger further avoidable unrest.
CNSNg.org – Enugu, Nigeria.
This is contained in a communiqué issued by the CBCN at its just concluded second plenary held in Enugu State.
The Bishops called on both Government and citizens to work for a nation where everyone, irrespective of differences of tribe or religion or political affiliation, will have a sense of belonging.
The Bishops further expressed gratitude to God that Nigeria still exists as one nation despite agitations for self-determination.
“We observe that the agitations and tensions are mainly as a result of bad governance, injustice, inequity, and unfairness in appointments and distribution of resources to parts of the country. We recognise the rights of peoples to self-determination, yet we emphasise that the exercise of such rights must be within the confines of the rule of law,” said the Bishops in a communique at the end of their plenary.
The soul of Nigeria can only be won by love and fairness
The Church leaders reiterated that the ongoing struggle for Nigeria’ ‘soul’ would not be won by ethnic cleansing, nepotism, kidnapping and banditry but by love, fairness and equity, common good and patriotism.
“We, therefore, enjoin Government and all Nigerians to toe the path of justice and conciliatory dialogue and see themselves as agents of peace and development in order to ensure a harmonious and united nation,” the Bishops said.
Life has never been so cheap
The CBCN strongly advocated for total respect concerning the sanctity of human life, noting with regret that, except for the civil war (1967-1970), Nigeria has never witnessed the kind of widespread evil, wanton destruction and murderous bloodletting like the current situation.
In part, the communique reads, “Life has never been so cheap, nor has Nigeria ever been at the stage we are now. Deaths at the hands of kidnappers, killer herdsmen, bandits, terrorist groups have made Nigeria one of the most terrorised countries in the world. The abductions of school children present us with the prospects of a traumatised generation of young people,” the prelates admonished.
The statement continued, “We recognise the efforts being made by the Government to fight insecurity in the land. However, we stress that Government needs to show more strategic commitment and sincerity in this fight and take full responsibility for the present culture of violence and impunity in the country. Furthermore, Government must be balanced and seen to be so in its response to the challenges of insecurity in every segment of the citizenry. In the same vein, we call on all citizens to be law-abiding, vigilant, live by sound moral principles and, above all, obey the commandments of God. We continue to plead with all to shun violence and criminality,” the Bishops said.