Catholic Bishops in Nigeria’s Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province (IEP) have lamented on, and are alarmed by the recurrent and “pervasive” security challenges in the West African nation, which they compare to a battlefield characterized with hostility and killing.
In a Tuesday, February 6 communiqué following their two-day meeting, the Catholic Church leaders at the helm of affairs of Ibadan Archdiocese and the Dioceses of Ekiti, Ondo, Ilorin, Osogbo, and Oyo say, “All is not well, and positive change is needed.”
“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,” the Bishops said.
Life in Nigeria, the Catholic Bishops in IEP lamented, “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 Bishops further said in the statement following their February 5-6 meeting held at the Jubilee Conference Centre in Ibadan Archdiocese.
The Catholic Church leaders continued by saying that, “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,” they observed.
The Bishops admonished Nigeria’s leaders “who talk and behave as if all is well to have a change of heart.”
“There is cause for alarm when corruption runs riot in every sector with scant effort from the government to arrest and prosecute its perpetrators,” the Catholic Bishops in IEP said, adding that “things are not under control when continuously, Nigerians get maimed, kidnapped and killed daily on our roads and even in their homes.”
They also emphasized the “need to restructure our security apparatus and remove saboteurs where necessary so that they can collaborate and perform optimally. Disaster is imminent when people die of hunger and … have to steal or scrounge for food in order to survive.”
According to the Bishops, “Elected officers are elected not to make excuses about problems but to change things for better. Away with insensitive aides who furnish the public with lies and innuendos in order (to) mitigate government failure in the face of the recurring disasters.”
They further appealed 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 Catholic Bishops in IEP cautioned leaders against relenting “in their effort to work for positive transformation in Nigeria.”
“Government must upgrade the ongoing governance by palliatives to governance that promotes productivity, accountability and which provides essential infrastructure like power supply and jobs for the populace,” they added.
The Bishops also decry the increase in “suicide and murders among Nigerians in recent times which demonstrates that the value placed on the sanctity of human life is diminishing. This is a recipe for disaster.”
“We reiterate the sanctity and dignity of human life and we call on relevant authorities and religious organizations to promote the preservation of Christian marriage and family values,” they said.