Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has stated that Nigeria’s democracy under President Muhammadu Buhari was derailing.
The bishops said the Buhari administration was lacking in transparency, accountability, independence of the judiciary, respect for fundamental rights, observance of the rule of law, and fair and credible electoral process.
The clergies made this comment in a communiqué signed by Augustine Obiora Akubeze and Camillus Raymond Umoh, president and secretary of CBCN respectively, at the end of their second plenary meeting held between September 11-20 in Abeokuta, Ogun state.
They also said while Nigerians remained manifestly religious, it seemed to have little effect on their socio-economic and political lives.
“While praying for solutions to our problems, we must endeavour to be just in our dealings with others, work hard in fulfilling our duties, and collaborate with others in the social transformation of our country,” the communiqué read.
CBCN urged all politicians, businessmen, religious leaders, public servants, and citizens to live out the values of their faith for the common good.
According to the bishops, God had made the continuous existence of Nigeria as a sovereign nation possible, but much effort was required from both government and citizens in order to keep the nation united.
They said the country was badly divided and “this is evident in appointments to positions of national importance, sharing of resources, and distribution of social amenities”.
“We urge especially the federal government, to ensure that it does not allow ethnic or religious hegemony to prevail in our multi-religious and secular state. No one religion should be favoured over another.
“There should be fairness, justice and neutrality in relation to all religions and ethnic groups, for where there is no justice, there can be no peace, unity and development.”
CBNC also expressed concern over the state of insecurity in the country and concluded that “living in Nigeria is very precarious.”
“There are, unfortunately, still many instances of killings as a result of banditry, kidnapping, assassination, armed robbery, reckless use of force by security agencies and lynching. Lately, too, there is an upsurge in the cases of suicide, even among our youths.
“Furthermore, the clashes between herdsmen and communities, and the activities of Boko Haram insurgents have continued, in which many innocent people lose their lives.
“These make living in Nigeria very precarious. We recognise the efforts being made by the government to fight insecurity in the land. However, we emphasise that a lot more still needs to be done in this regard.”
The bishops said they observed that the federal government, in which the power to control the major security agencies was vested, was overwhelmed, and therefore there was a need for proper decentralisation of these agencies for effective results.