Catholic Bishops under the aegis of Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) have declared that the change of service chiefs by the federal government is yet to produce the desired effect.
They spoke through the president of CBCN, Most Rev. Agustine Akubueze yesterday in Enugu during the second plenary of the Catholic Bishops taking place in Enugu.
The clerics stressed that the level of insecurity in every part of the country was of great concern to them, adding that many of them have had to bury their faithful who died because of insecurity due to the activities of kidnappers, cultists and road accidents caused by bad roads.
They therefore called on the federal, state and local governments to rise up to their responsibilities, noting that many Nigerians are dying in unpreventable deaths.
“The federal government has changed the service chiefs after many Nigerians have cried out loudly for change, the change has not yet produced the desired effect. The level of insecurity in every part of the country is of great concern to us Bishops. Many of us Bishops have had to bury our faithful who died because of insecurity due to the activities of kidnapers, culturists, road accidents caused by bad roads. So many Nigerians are dying in unpreventable deaths, the federal government, state and local government must rise to their responsibility,” they stated.
On electoral reform, they strongly rejected any form of electoral system that makes it possible for vote of Nigerians not to be respected, pointing out that the world is moving towards a more digital system.
They suggested that the electoral reform in Nigeria must align this change, stating that electronic transmission of results should be worked on while rigging of elections at the various points of collection should be a thing of the past.
“The electoral reform should allow a more transparent declaration of results expeditiously to help adjudication of electoral matters.
“Everyone of us must work for the development of Nigeria. We must develop the idea of taking personal responsibility for our actions. The electorate must hold their political leaders for their actions,” they said.
On the call for secession by some parts of the country, the clerics said, “ The first step that should be taken is an open and unconditional dialogue. Dialogue is always better than taking up arms. No one should be happy with the killing of military personnel in the various states. No military personnel should intimidate any Nigerian because of their views. We appeal for respect for diverse views.
“The call for constitutional reforms that respects the rights of every Nigerian and provide opportunity for equal access to the resources of Nigeria is something that should be treated fairly.
“The right to self-determination should follow a civilised pattern and should not be demonized. The church believes that government should avoid criminalizing those that did not agree with them.”
They said that freedom of speech and respect for diverse opinions must be respected, and commended Nigerians for their patience in the face of what appears to be repeated government failure to meet the minimum requirement of government.
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