By Shola Fadeyi
The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has asked the Federal Government to call a meeting of all stakeholders that will have a sincere discussion on the way forward and seek how to implement the much talked about restructuring and devolution of power down to the local government level.
The appeal was contained in a Statement titled ” Urgent call to the Federal Government to be opened to criticisms in addressing the pervading insecurity in Nigeria’’ issued by the President of the CBCN, Archbishop of Benin Archdiocese,Dr Augustine Akabueze over the weekend.
It urged the Federal Government to listen to the constructive criticisms of Nigerians so that the country does not collapse.
According to Akabueze, “It must be clearly stated to the Federal Government that if they continue to ignore the constructive criticisms and recommendations of Nigerians from every sector, the country will collapse and become ungovernable. ”
He said current happenings are already pointing to this direction as Police stations are being burnt, gallant military men and women are being killed, barracks and IDP camps are attacked while farmlands are invaded.
The CBCN President said that youth unemployment is at its highest, private sectors are not giving enabling environment to thrive, appointments to offices are not reflective of the country’s diversities; while the complaints are almost endless – asking if the sounds signalling a collapsing nation can be louder than this.
The CBCN President made it clear that a Nigerian does not need to be a registered political party card-carrying member before speaking about the failing economy, the daily killings and kidnappings of students, older men and women; babies and infants; people being killed in IDP camps and even in their homes by insurgents.
He stated that every reasonable Nigerian is sick to the stomach to read or hear of a Governor running from insurgents who want to kill him in the State where he is constitutionally the chief security officer, adding that Nigerians are also tired of hearing of bandits taking youths in the University and executing some of them, while others are kept to be used to bargain for ransom.
“The insecurity is leading to a daily loss of lives and properties in every part of the country. These facts are indisputable. A country where students are no longer safe in schools nor farmers safe in their farms does not have a future to look to” , according to the Statement.
He said it is not out of place to call for a security summit in whatever form it may take as long as it leads to the unity, peace, justice, progress and protection of Nigerians.
The cleric admonished the Federal Government to be transparent with every Nigerian in the struggle to revive the economy and industrialise the nation ,tasking it to objectively deal with corruption as well as significantly reduce the high level of insecurity and unemployment.
“In every democracy, the welfare of the citizens is of great concern to the President. From time to time, Presidents address the people and give an account of the state of affairs in the country. Presidents of countries grant interviews to the media who are the watchdogs of democracy”, Akabueze said.
He regretted that in Nigeria, the citizenry hardly hears directly from the President but most of the time, from “the Presidency.” Akabueze said Nigerians did not elect presidential spokespersons but do want to hear directly from their President and hear words that are matched with actions.
The Archbishop urged for continuous prayers to God to grant the Federal Government and other State actors the wisdom and courage to bring peace and justice to every Nigerian.