By Efemena Edherigho
The inability of the government to address the inequitable situation in the country has provided breeding ground for violent reactions, protests and agitations, which exploit the grievances of different segments of the country.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria made this submission at its second plenary meeting held at St. Charles Borromeo Pastoral Centre, Jalingo, Taraba State.
A communiqué issued at the end of meeting called on governments at all levels to urgently address the grievances that drive the protests aaginst the injustice in the country.
“There are agitations in many sectors of the country against the one-sidedness in appointments to key institutions and sensitive national offices, against marginalisation, and unfair distribution of resources and amenities. There are also allegations of cases of selective application of the rule of law.
“We are concerned that the deployment of soldiers in the midst of already restive youths could increase the nervousness among the populace with the potential of igniting a fire that could turn into an uncontrollable conflagration.
“On the other hand, we enjoin all aggrieved persons and groups to employ peaceful means within the framework of the existing laws of the land to express their grievances or even exercise legitimate pressure on the Government. Care must be taken by all to avoid actions and utterances capable of causing yet another armed conflict in the nation or any of its parts,” the communiqué read.
CBCN also demanded that adequate and prompt action be taken to stop the continued havoc being wrecked by armed herdsmen saying the criminal activities of the group should no longer be treated as mere clash between pastoralists and farmers.
The body commended law abiding Nigerians for standing together in the face of difficulties, challenges and even provocation.
“We condole with the victims of terrorism, natural disasters, conflicts and violent crimes, while we continue to pray for the deceased. The solidarity shown by many Nigerians to those affected by the recent floods that affected some parts of the country is a sign of hope for our common peaceful co-existence.
The conference also expressed the view that Nigerians earnestly desire a truly federal system of government, which according to it will enhance the welfare of all citizens.
“We also enjoin the Federal and State ministries and departments of education to ensure adequate and comprehensive curriculum for Christian Religious Studies (CRS), in such a way that individual right to religious freedom and the right of the Church to teach and disseminate the Christian faith is not infringed upon,’’ the communiqué read.