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HomeNewsAfricaNigerian Bishops: Our dear country is becoming a hostile killing field.

Nigerian Bishops: Our dear country is becoming a hostile killing field.

In a rather strongly worded recent statement, Catholic Bishops of the Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province in Nigeria say that citizens are reeling from protracted and recurring insecurity, among other challenges.

It used to be that insecurity was synonymous with Boko Haram terrorists. Not anymore. The prevalence of insecurity in the country is leaving Nigerians desperate, and the Bishops, after much reflection and prayer, want something done about it.

 We plead for urgent action from our leaders

We, Catholic Bishops of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province, comprising Ibadan Archdiocese, Ilorin, Ondo, Oyo, Ekiti and Osogbo Dioceses, after prayerful deliberations at our first meeting for 2024 at the Jubilee Conference Centre, Ibadan, have prayerfully deliberated on issues of Church and national interest and hereby issue the following communique,” reads their statement. In it, they liken the nation to a ship that is foundering.

“Our dear country Nigeria is fast becoming a hostile, killing field. The ship of the nation is foundering under the weight of pervasive insecurity, economic hardship due to hyperinflation and the collapse of the naira, cybercrime, high cost of food, lackadaisical governance and widespread corruption. Day-to-day living is fast becoming an ordeal for millions of Nigerians because pervasive poverty, driven by the harsh environment, has driven many to desperation and even suicide. It would be nothing short of hypocritical to put all the misery being suffered by Nigerians today down to change in the world economy. The truth is that often, Nigerians are simply left to their own devices and left at the mercy of the most cruel and aggressive criminals by inept and selfish political and civil leaders. In all this, governments often seem weak or altogether absent. Any remedy now is even already too late for many Nigerians who have lost their lives to terrorists, hunger, kidnapping and sundry disasters. We plead for urgent action from all our leaders to save the Nigeria ship from sinking. The much-vaunted renewed hope is turning to utter desperation in many places, and there is not much time left,” the Communique reads.

Attacks on traditional leaders

The Bishops particularly decry the recent kidnapping and killing of two monarchs, the Elesun of Esun Ekiti, Oba David Babatunde Ogunsakin and the Olumojo of Imojo Ekiti, Oba Samuel Olusola in Ekiti State and the kidnapping of teachers and school children in the same State.

According to the Bishops, the same fate befell Oba Peter Segun Aremu, the Olukoro of Koro of Kwara State. Gunmen killed the Kwara Monarch and abducted his wife and other persons.

“Thankfully, the latter have now been released. This spate of criminality is a brutal assault on our collective reverence for the traditional institution and decency,” the prelates emphasise. They add, “We also condole with the victims of the recent explosion in the Bodija area at Ibadan. In all this, we pay tribute to the sacrifice of our soldiers and security agents who risk their lives for our security, some of whom have gotten killed in the line of duty,” the Bishops underline.

Citizens deserve to know the truth

The Bishops are further irked by leaders and politicians who “talk and behave as if all is well.”

“Things are not under control when continuously, Nigerians get maimed, kidnapped and killed daily on our roads and even in their homes. There is need to restructure our security apparatus and remove saboteurs where necessary. Disaster is imminent when people die of hunger and the living have to steal or scrounge for food in order to survive. Elected officers are elected not to make excuses about problems but to change things for the better. Away with insensitive aides who furnish the public with lies and inuendoes in order to mitigate government failure in the face of the recurring disasters. Nigerians deserve to know the truth about their leaders’ programmes, activities and whereabouts. Any country run on corruption and falsehood will crumble under the weight of self-inflicted evil,” the say.

On behalf of other Bishops, the Communique is signed by the Archbishop of Ibadan and Chair of the Ecclesiastical Province, ‘Leke Gabriel Abegunrin, and the Secretary, Bishop John Akin Oyejola of Osogbo Diocese.

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