Catholic Bishops in Nigeria have called on the federal government led by President Muhammadu Buhari to wake up from its slumber and rise up to the challenges of governing the nation.
The Bishops who spoke under the aegis of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) noted that a lot is wrong with Nigeria and the failure of government is what is responsible for the clamour for break up by many ethnic groups.
They, therefore, urged the President to rise up to its responsibility with all sincerity and tackle the insecurity, economic challenges and other issues facing the country.
The clerics made the call in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja by the CBCN President, Archbishop Augustine Akubueze.
The statement raised the alarm that Nigeria is drifting towards becoming a failed state and urgent steps need to be taken to turn the tide.
The statement said: “The clamour for self-defense is fast gaining ground. Many ethnic champions are loudly beating the drums of war, calling not only for greater autonomy but even for outright opting out of a nation in which they have lost all trust and sense of belonging.
“The calls for secession on an ethnic basis from many quarters should not be ignored or taken lightly. Many have given up on the viability and even on the desirability of the Nigeria project as one united country. No wonder many non-state actors are filling the vacuum created by a palpable failure of government.
“The President can no longer delay rising to its obligation to govern the nation; not according to ethnic and religious biases but along the lines of objective and positive principles of fairness, equity and, above all, justice. We need to have the courage to admit that there’s a lot wrong with our nation.
“It’s 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 break down of good order. There’s a wide consensus that even the laws and rules we have made for ourselves are often the cause of our problems.
“No wonder there is an on-going clamour for constitution review, restructuring, decentralization of the security agencies and calls for many changes to many things we have been taking for granted.”
The Bishops noted that sacrifices must be made by all stakeholders to make Nigeria better but highlighted that the government must lead by example.
“As individuals and as groups, we ought to be ready to make the necessary sacrifices that would enable us to manage our differences better and turn them into a positive rather than a negative force. Expectedly, governments at different levels ought to lead the way,” they noted.
Meanwhile, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has declared that the fight against criminals in the South-west region was not targeted at a particular ethnic group.
Naija News reports Akeredolu had directed all Fulani herdsmen occupying Ondo forest reserves to vacate and register with the government.
His directive did not go down well with some including Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi, who stated that herdsmen don’t need his permission to stay in the forest.
Speaking on Tuesday at his second term inauguration lecture, held in Akure, the state capital, Akeredolu said governors in the region would continue to fight against criminalities in the region with all legal means.
Akeredolu, who is the chairman of the South-west governors forum, noted that the spate of insecurity across the country had indicated that all was not well with the nation and there was no need to pretend about it.