Nigerians have lost Confidence in You – Catholic Bishops to Buhari

by on September 18, 2016
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Ni­geria, (CBCN), have informed President Mu­hammadu Buhari that he is “frittering away the high hopes” that Nigerians “in­vested in his resolve to turn things around”, drawing the attention of the president to strong allegations of in­creased nepotism and sec­tionalism in federal appoint­ments.
The body of Bishops of the Catholic Church in Nige­ria stated this in a communi­qué issued at the end of their conference in Akure, Ondo State, where they called on Buhari not to dismiss the call for restructuring.
The communiqué reads in part: “We call on our pres­ident to wake up to the fact that most Nigerians are to­day disillusioned by the frittering away of the high hopes which they invested in his resolve to turn things around.
“The president can no longer safely ignore the very strong allegations of a rise in nepotism and sectional­ism in federal appointments. This has further deepened the feelings of alienation and the rise of centrifugal forc­es that are threatening the foundations of our unity.
“One-sided appoint­ments into public office have displayed a tendency towards a form of sectional­ism that we have found dif­ficult to associate with the high moral credentials of the president. A hurricane of violence by herdsmen and other agents of death have left in its wake a landscape of blood and destruction.
“Political violence, cor­ruption, kidnappings, armed robbery, ritual murders and all ills of the past, are still very much present and we seem to be progressively sinking deeper into the mud. Our people are now ravaged by disease and hunger. The result is the rise in the curve of violence both by the state agents and non-state actors among our own people.
“We wish to state firm­ly that the debate about the restructuring of our coun­try should not be seen as an act of rebellion or as a call for division. It should rath­er be seen as an expression of our people’s desire that the political class return to the fine principles of de­mocracy such as true feder­alism, negotiation and con­sensus building as means of achieving a more equitable distribution of the resourc­es of our country.”
The bishops recalled that in the build up to the 2015 election, Candidate Muham­madu Buhari promised to be fair to all.
We recall that in his address to us, the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria, on 11 February 2015, General Bu­hari, as a presidential can­didate, stated among other things: ‘Government has no business preferring one reli­gion to the other.
“’The role of government is to protect lives and prop­erties of citizens and to re­spect and protect their con­stitutional rights. One critical right that every government must seek to protect is the right of citizens to exercise their respective faiths, Chris­tians and Muslims or oth­ers, in a lawful manner with­out fear or hindrance and to prosecute those who use reli­gion as an excuse to destroy homes, schools, and places of worship. When governments fail in that duty, they must then assist in the rebuilding of the structures including destroyed places of worship and giving full restitution to property’.
“As things now stand, most Nigerians do not see a government committed to attaining these stated objec­tives. Furthermore, we find the calls for the expansion of the scope of Sharia law in public life at variance with the letter and spirit of the Nigeri­an Constitution.”
The bishops pledged sup­port for the war against cor­ruption waged by the current administration, but warned against the violation of the rule of law.
They also commended the president for the success recorded in the fight against insurgency, and advised him work with Nigerians from “diverse background” in the bid to restore the glory of the country.
“Again, after we success­fully contained Boko Haram’s murderous escapade, we had hoped that our nation would witness a massive programme of national rebirth and that the president would work as­semble a cross section of pa­triotic citizens from diverse backgrounds to commence a programme of national re­birth and reconstruction.”
“We acknowledge that our current woes did not begin with this administration. We also support the President’s genuine resolve and efforts through the various govern­ment agencies to tackle cor­ruption. Nonetheless, we re­iterate that this must not be at the expense of civil liber­ties and the rule of law. The President must ensure that Nigerians do not feel that our country is sliding back into dictatorship,” the CBCN said.

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