By Anthony Isibor.
WHILE we wait in anticipation for the federal government’s slightest display of commitment to the general wellbeing of her citizens, a religious organization under the aegis of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, held a conference on the February 23, 2021 to lend their voice to the many dissenting views on the best way to move Nigeria forward.
The communique released by the group tagged, “we must pull back from the brink of collapse” was signed by Augustine Obiora Akubeze, the archbishop of Benin-City and president of the group, and Camillus Raymond Umoh, the archbishop of Ikot Ikpene and Secretary of the group.
According to the speaker for the group, the call for a rethink about the continued existence of Nigeria as one nation is not a false alarm.
“The ongoing crisis in the country should be of grave concern to everyone who still believes in “one united nation under God”. We are really on the brink of a looming collapse, from which we must do all we can to pull back before the worst overcomes the nation. This is not merely crying wolf without cause.
“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 clamour for self-defence 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 group said.
The conference of Nigeria Bishops also spoke on the need for Mohammadu Buhari, the President of Nigeria to see the nation as a conglomeration of people with diverse ethnic, religious and social-cultural backgrounds.
“The Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari 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. It is not too much for Nigerians to demand from Mr. President sincerity both in the public and private domain.
“We, of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, with members from all parts of Nigeria, are very highly disturbed about the present state of instability in the land. This must not be allowed to continue to fester and degenerate.
“We are raising this alarm because of our deep patriotic love for our nation, not for any sectional interests, be they political, ethnic or even religious,” it said.
The group also reiterated its unwavering support for a one Nigeria, and urged the government to act decisively to make this possible.
“Despite the persistence of crises around us; assassinations, Covid-19, kidnappings, murders, banditry, armed robberies, we sincerely affirm our faith in the viability and the desirability of the Nigeria Project, as one prosperous nation under God,” the communique said.