Nigeria Is No Longer at Ease, She Has Lost Her Soul – Catholic Bishops

 

Catholic Bishops within the Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province have cried out over what they term an unease around the nation, signaling the loss of Nigeria’s soul. 

“Nigeria, our country, seems to have lost its very soul because it is no longer a healthy entity,” the clerics stated in a communique by the province Chairman and Secretary, Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin and Rev. Akin Oyejola, respectively.

They were of the opinion that the good health of any nation consists in its capacity to offer its citizens a territory where “they can feel at home, feel secure and enjoy the basic necessities of life” but lamented that in Nigeria, “armed conflicts, armed robbery, kidnapping for ransom, insurgency, banditry, and extrajudicial killing persist as the order of the day”.

The clergymen said the nation has lost its soul and as such its people have lost the cohesive elements of human relationships.

READ ALSO: Catholic Bishops Criticise Buhari’s Govt Over Selective Justice, Allocation Of Posts

“A nation that has lost its soul is characterized by inept, uncaring leadership which functions by selective allocation of posts, privileges, and resources and by selective application of justice.

“It is characterized by leaders who, rather than care for the citizens of the country, simply exploit and denigrate them.

“Such a nation takes food out of the mouths of its own citizens and watches them starve. It deploys its scarce resources to the advantage of the rich and powerful while offering mere crumbs to the poor and weak.

“A nation that has lost its soul, therefore, breeds a citizenry where nobody cares for anybody else. Nigeria exhibits all of these traits, no doubt. Its constitutive principles of justice, equity, and fair play have clearly fallen apart and the country is no longer at ease. No doubt, the very soul of Nigeria needs to be recovered,” the statement read in parts.

Reviving the soul of Nigeria

In proffering a solution as to how the country’s soul can be revived, the religious leaders declared that political and economic restructuring without moral revival is bound to fail.

They were of the opinion that Nigeria needs spiritual and moral revival which will restore common positive values to their rightful place in the nation’s polity.

The values to be restored include honesty, truthfulness, integrity, accountability, and the fear of God.

While emphasizing that only the truth can set the country free, the bishops wondered why “in the face of our current national crisis and encroaching chaos, the Nigerian government continues to demonstrate a disturbing allergy to the truth even when it is most evident”.

They expressed deep sympathies for the Nigerians who bear the brunt of Nigeria’s debilitating situation borne out of economic depression, hunger, armed robbery, banditry, kidnapping for ransom, unemployment, and injustice.

The priests also urged Nigerians to do all they can to help one another even in these hard times and work more assiduously to create a better society.

Catholic Bishops Criticise Buhari’s Govt Over Selective Justice, Allocation Of Posts

 

Catholic Bishops of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province on Wednesday criticised the Buhari-led administration over nepotistic tendencies which they say have led the nation into unease. 

The bishops, from the Ibadan Ecclesiastical province in a statement after their meeting at the Domus Pacis Pastoral Institute, Igoba in Akure, argued that the spike in insecurity across the country is occasioned by the government’s inabilities to serve on the principles of equity and fairness.

According to the communique signed by the province Chairman and Secretary, Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin and Rev. Akin Oyejola, respectively, the country is plagued by “inept, uncaring leadership which functions by selective allocation of posts, privileges, and resources and by selective application of justice”.

The clergymen lamented that the Buhari-led administration has cost Nigeria its soul, adding that this is the reason for the insecurity and economic woes experienced at this moment in the nation’s history.

Those Representing Nigerians Are Saboteurs

The Bishops also took a swipe at the National Assembly, stating that those representing Nigerians are saboteurs who have “perfected the art of sabotaging the progress” of the people they represent.

They urged Federal Lawmakers to prioritise the interest of Nigerians above those of their political and selfish ambitions.

In the passing weeks, there have been heated debates over electoral reforms, electronic transmission of electoral results, press freedom, and the Petroleum Industrial Bill (PIB), issues which the priests believe must only be tackled with the people’s best interest at heart.

READ ALSO: Police Rescue Two Abducted Bethel Baptist School Students

They lamented that often “the work of those who represent the people on the federal level in Nigeria does not seem to bring much satisfaction to the people for whose interest they were allegedly elected, with the national assembly at various occasions prioritizing party and privileges over people’s rights and interests, relief and progress continue to elude Nigerians”.

The clerics condemned the passage of the amended Electoral Act and the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and urged Nigerians to challenge the Senate and the House of Representatives’ decisions.

They appealed to Nigerians not to lose hope in the possibility of a peaceful, united, and prosperous country, urging the media and civil society groups to sustain the momentum on increased public awareness and education on the importance of political participation at all levels of governance.

In the priests’ opinion, it is indeed “time for Nigerians to no longer simply roll over and accept non-representative decisions of the assembly but to challenge them by all legitimate means”.

Those Representing Nigerians Are Saboteurs – Catholic Bishops

A file photo of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

Catholic Bishops in Nigeria of the Ibadan Ecclesiastical province have said that those representing Nigerians at the National Assembly are saboteurs.

According to the bishops, the lawmakers have “perfected the art of sabotaging the progress” of the people they represent.

This opinion was contained in a communique issued by the clergymen after their meeting for the year which was held at the Domus Pacis Pastoral Institute, Igoba, Akure, from July 19-20, 2021.

The Catholic clerics urged Federal Lawmakers to prioritise the interest of Nigerians above those of their political and selfish ambitions.

The bishops’ notion comes on the heels of recent debates over electoral reform, electronic transmission of electoral results, press freedom, and the Petroleum Industrial Bill (PIB), issues which the ministers believe must only be tackled with the people’s interest at heart.

READ ALSO: Police Rescue Two Abducted Bethel Baptist School Students

They lamented that often “the work of those who represent the people on the federal level in Nigeria does not seem to bring much satisfaction to the people for whose interest they were allegedly elected, with the national assembly at various occasions prioritizing party and privileges over people’s rights and interests, relief and progress continue to elude Nigerians”.

The clerics condemned the passage of the amended Electoral Act and the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and urged Nigerians to challenge the Senate and the House of Representatives’ decisions.

They appealed to Nigerians not to lose hope in the possibility of a peaceful, united, and prosperous country, urging the media and civil society groups to sustain the momentum on increased public awareness and education on the importance of political participation at all levels of governance.

In the priests’ opinion, it is indeed “time for Nigerians to no longer simply roll over and accept non-representative decisions of the assembly but to challenge them by all legitimate means”.

“We say stand firm and never lose hope for God cannot be defeated. We call on Nigerians to continue to pray and work for a better nation, for we have no other country than this.

“If we do not give up doing good and believing in God’s promise, we shall see better days” the communique partly reads.

They further urged Nigerians to register and obtain their voters’ cards, noting that this grants them the power to exercise their rights to determine who governs them from time to time.

Catholic Bishops Donate Over 400 Hospitals To Be Used As Isolation Centres In Nigeria

 

The Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has offered over 400 health facilities across the nation to now be used as COVID-19 isolation centres.

Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha disclosed this at the presidential task force briefing on Monday.

He disclosed that the facilities can now be used by the government to tackle the issue of no bed spaces currently been experienced in various isolation centres across the country.

Mr Mustapha who doubles as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, had told newsmen in Abuja on Friday that the isolation and treatment centres in the country are running out of bed spaces.

READ ALSO: Over 600 Evacuees In Lagos And Abuja, We Are Reaching Saturation Point – Onyeama

The SGF, however, noted that efforts are being intensified to increase the number of treatment centres in the country.

“We have received reports from the states, which suggests that the treatment centres are running out of bed spaces. As we assess the situation, the PTF shall also begin to examine our peculiar circumstances, modify the strategies for care management, and consider viable alternatives, where necessary. At the appropriate time, the guidelines and protocols shall be unfolded,” he said.

The PTF Chairman also on Monday noted that during the first week of the lockdown relaxation, the nation had experienced a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases due to increased testing.

He called on states to set up isolation centres to accommodate level one and two of isolation, noting that the PTF will introduce an inclusive policy in the coming weeks.

Mr Mustapha who stressed that President Muhammadu Buhari took a painful decision to ease the lockdown, urged individuals not to misuse the opportunity by returning to their  Pre-COVID-19 ways of life.

The Secretary to the Federation also hinted that he has received instructions from President Buhari to bring in some of the Madagascar cure from Guinea Bissau.

He, however, noted that there are strict instructions to have the Madagascar cure subjected to the validation processes in Nigeria.

Catholic Bishops Visit Buhari, Reject Cattle Colonies

Catholic Bishops Visit Buhari, Reject Cattle Colonies

 

The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria has rejected the proposed plan of the Federal Government to set up cattle colonies in the country.

President of the conference Reverend Ignatius Kaigama said this on Thursday when he led a delegation of the religious body to visit President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

On ways to end the clashes between farmers and herdsmen, he advised the government to seek other alternatives to open grazing rather than introducing cattle colonies.

The Catholic bishops also informed the President about their worry over what they termed too much poverty, hunger, insecurity and violence in the country.

They were concerned about what they call hopelessness in the land and condemned the activities of herdsmen across the country.

The religious group described as shocking, the purported silence of government in the wake of the attacks that left many dead in Benue, Adamawa, Kaduna, and Taraba states.

They, however, called on the government to invest more in arming the police with modern equipment to effectively fight crimes and criminality in the country.

The clergymen decried the purported of lack of adherence to the principle of Federal Character in some government appointments.

In his response, President Buhari explained that the policy proposed by Federal Government in response to the crisis was not meant to colonise any part of the country.

He, however, said the intention of the government was to create grazing locations for cattle rearers, which has now been misconstrued as another form of colonisation.

The President was concerned that the well-thought-out policy, which was conceived after wide consultations with stakeholders, had been largely misunderstood by a section of the public.

He assured the Catholic Bishops that the Federal Government would continue to explore all opportunities and support initiatives to ensure peace and stability in restive areas.

On the appointments made so far, President Buhari told the delegation that no ethnic group or political zone has been deliberately marginalised.

But he assured the clergymen that he would take a second look at areas on which issues have been raised when a compendium of all government appointments is submitted to him.

Killings: It’s Dishonest To Say I Am Doing Nothing, Buhari Tells Bishops

Killings: It's Dishonest To Say I Am Doing Nothing - Buhari
File photo

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the speculations that he is doing nothing to address the crisis between farmers and herdsmen in the country.

The President said this on Thursday when he received a delegation of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) led by Most Reverend Ignatius Kaigama at the State House in Abuja.

“The impression created that I was sitting in an air-conditioned office and home, enjoying myself while these things happened, is dishonest,” he said in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

“At every step, I have tried to foresee these problems because I have the experience as a former military officer who commanded three out of the four divisions of the Nigerian army – in Lagos, Ibadan and Jos.

“I am quite aware of the problems we have and I am doing my best to get law enforcement agencies to be on alert,” he added.

President Buhari explained that the policy proposed by Federal Government in response to the crisis was not meant to colonise any part of the country.

Instead, he said the intention of the government was to create grazing locations for cattle rearers, which has now been misconstrued as another form of colonisation.

The President regretted that the well-thought-out policy, which was conceived after wide consultations with stakeholders, had been largely misunderstood by a section of the public.

He, however, assured the Catholic Bishops that the Federal Government would continue to explore all opportunities and support initiatives to ensure peace and stability in restive areas.

He also condemned the recent spate of killings in Benue, Adamawa, Taraba, and Zamfara states and noted that the security operatives would ensure prosecution of perpetrators and all those found with illegal arms in the affected areas.

 

Remarkable Progress So Far

Catholic Bishops Visit Buhari, Reject Cattle Colonies

 

President further told the Catholic Bishops that he would not be tired of recounting remarkable progress recorded in the areas of security, economy and the fight against corruption.

He said: “We have done very well on security in the North East when you compare what the condition was before we came in and what it is now.

“On the economy, particularly agriculture, I am very pleased that God answered the prayers of Nigerians who prayed for a bountiful harvest. People have taken advantage of Federal Government policies and programmes to return to the farm and they have not regretted.”

On the fight against corruption, the President reiterated that government would be guided by the law in the investigation and prosecution of all graft-related cases.

He maintained that “people are being prosecuted systematically with evidence,” adding: “If a permanent secretary has five houses in Abuja, two in Kaduna and one in Borno and Sokoto, and he can’t account for the properties and there are bank transactions linking him to the properties, the prosecuting agencies will not have difficulties to make progress on the case.”

On the question of Federal character, the President declared that no ethnic group or political zone has been deliberately marginalised in the appointments made so far.

He, however, added that he would take a second look at areas on which issues have been raised when a compendium of all government appointments is submitted to him.

In his remarks, CBCN President and Archbishop of Jos, Kaigama, pledged that the Catholic Church in Nigeria would continue to support the Buhari administration.

He added that they would also make their contribution to nation-building through prayers, admonitions and assistance to needy Nigerians.

“As the voice of the people, we shall continue to highlight the plight of our people and play our prophetic role of sensitising the government, thus promoting good governance, national unity and cohesion,” Kaigama said.

Centenary Celebration: Clergymen Preach Against Religious Discrimination

churchCatholic Bishops in Nigeria have called on Christians and Muslims to respect eachother’s rights to practice their faith without fear of religious discrimination or molestation.

The Bishops of Kaduna and Awka diocese made the plea at the centenary celebration of Catholic Arch-Diocese of Kaduna, North West Nigeria.

While noting that religion should not be seen as a point of friction among people of different faiths, the clergymen pointed out that nations all over the world can only make any meaningful progress when the citizens live in peace and harmony.

They specifically frowned at a situation where churches and Christians are being discriminated against by the government and institutions in some parts of northern Nigeria.

Bishop of Awka Catholic Diocese, Jonas Okoye, therefore appealed to President Muhammdu Buhari to ensure that the rights and privileges of every Nigerian is protected irrespective of religious or ethnic background.

I Will Deal With Rampaging Herdsmen, Buhari Assures Bishops

Catholic-Bishops-Buhari-1Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has restated his administration’s commitment to dealing decisively and expeditiously with herdsmen that have continued to attack communities across Nigeria.

Speaking at a meeting with members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), President Buhari confirmed that heads of national security agencies have been ordered to take all necessary action to apprehend and expose those behind the heinous attacks.

“We are determined to secure all Nigerians and I have told the Inspector-General of Police and other security agencies, in very strong terms, to deal decisively with the attackers,” the President said.

President Buhari expressed his personal condolences to the Catholic Bishop of Enugu, the people of Ukpabi Nimbo and all other communities that have suffered fatalities and other losses from the recent attacks.

Speaking on other national issues, the President assured the Bishops that he was acting with deliberation and moving methodically to implement his change agenda for the good of the country.

“We need to rebuild our institutions methodically, we need to change the way we do things.

“In the last 10 years, crude oil sold for more than $100 per barrel, but Nigeria did not save. That is why we have found ourselves where we are today,” President Buhari told the Catholic Bishops, led by Most Reverend Ignatius Kaigama, the Archbishop of Jos.

The President assured them that his administration was working very hard to fulfill all the promises it had made to Nigerians, adding that his greatest motivating factor now is the desire to bring positive change to Nigeria.

On behalf of the bishops, Most Reverend Kaigama expressed the solidarity of the CBCN with the President.

“We are willing to collaborate with you and with your administration, in which we see hope for a greater Nigeria,” he told the President.

A statement by a spokesman for the President, Femi Adesina, said the bishops pledged continued prayers for Nigeria and the government, expressing their conviction that current hardships are temporary, and Nigeria will soon overcome its present difficulties.

Catholic Bishops Seek Collaboration With Government

Catholic-Bishops-Buhari-3 Catholic bishops in Nigeria rose from their meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari with a resolve to collaborate with the federal government in the areas of education, resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons in Nigeria as well as the fight against corruption.

Speaking to State House correspondents after their meeting that held in the Presidential Villa, the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, decried what they called a defective education system in the country saying that Nigeria can only have a future when the people are well educated.Catholic Bishops

They called on government to support in the building of places of worship in schools where there is none, for moral education and spiritual growth of Nigerian citizens especially in federal schools in the north.

The Catholic bishops also said that they need to be brought on board in the settlement of the internally displaced persons in the country in terms of resettlement and reconstruction.

The Catholic bishops said they were committed to the unity of Nigeria pledging 100% support to President Buhari in the fight against corruption.

Clergies Blame Government For Oil Theft In Niger delta

John Onaiyekan Bishop
Bishop John Onaiyekan urged the government to act fast and check the oil theft affecting the Niger delta adversely

The Catholic Bishops in Nigeria have blamed government agencies and oil companies for the massive crude oil theft and poverty in the Niger Delta region.

Speaking at a meeting of stakeholders on Tuesday held in Abuja , the nation’s capital, the presiding Bishop, John Onaiyekan, criticised the government for not doing enough to reduce crude oil stolen daily which was estimated at 150, 000 barrels per day.

The Nigerian Navy recently confirmed that the nation loses about 20 billion dollars to crude oil theft annually.

Various local and international organisations have echoed this report, prompting the presidency to promise an end to the situation that has depleted the revenue generated from crude oil exploration.

Bishops, who have frequently visited these communities over years, said that government’s efforts appear fragile as activities like illegal refining had continued unabated.

The Archbishop of Abuja, Bishop Onaiyekan cited reasons behind the growing oil theft and spillage in the community while a Special Adviser to Bayelsa State Governor, Nemo Samaima, said the scars of the activities were unmistakable and had continued to threaten the livelihood of millions of people in the region.

In his reaction, the Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division, Mr Ohi Alegbe, said the issue had remained on the front burner of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s operation and that the Minister of Petroleum was working assiduously with a security committee to combat crude oil theft.

Question however continues as to whether or not these interventions by the government are yielding the desired impact on the people, whose farmland and source of livelihood are destroyed by illegal mining activities.