From Noah Ebije, Kaduna and Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Catholic Bishops, under the Kaduna Ecclesiastical Province, have bemoaned worsening insecurity in the country, saying deaths in the hands of kidnappers, killer herdsmen, bandits and terrorist groups have made Nigeria the most terrorised country in the world.
The clerics blamed Nigerian leaders and northern governors for not doing enough to stem the spate of attacks and killings of innocent persons.
In a statement jointly signed by Archbishop of Kaduna, Matthew Man-Oso Ndagoso and Archbishop of Kaduna Ecclesiastical Province, John Namaza Niyiring, the clerics accused northern governors of formulating policies and programmes geared towards one particular religion, a trend they alleged was responsible for attacks on Christian faithful in the North.
“Church leaders have been kidnapped, tortured and in some cases, gruesomely murdered for no reason other than that they bear the Cross of Christ.”
They said current cases of killings of innocent citizens was akin to the civil war that spanned 1967 to 1970, saying the country is at war with enemies hiding under religion to perpetrate evils even as they declared a week of prayer and fasting for peace to return to the land.
“The perpetrators of these evils are constantly appealing to the religion of Islam to validate their criminality. The actions of some of our governors in the past and even present have opened up windows that are being exploited by these evil men in the name of religion. We, therefore, call on our governors to become more circumspect in the policies that are being enunciated regarding religion.”
The bishops described the last few years as the most trying times in the history of the country, saying a culture of self-doubt and uncertainty have bred fear, anxiety and deep suspicion among the people.
“Except for the civil war, our nation has never witnessed the kind of wide spread macabre, evil, wanton destruction and murderous blood-letting. Life has never been so cheap, nor has Nigeria ever been at the stage we are in now. Deaths in the hands of kidnappers, killer herdsmen, bandit, terrorist groups have made Nigeria the most terrorised country in the world. We are now one of the most dangerous places to be born. Everywhere you turn, funerals have become our daily menu. The abductions of schoolchildren have presented us with the prospects of a traumatised generation of young students. Even at the best of times, our region has been behind in almost every index of human survival.
“It is important for us all to understand the northern states have been the most affected in this tragedies, loss of human lives and horror that has engulfed our nation. Adequate consultations should be undertaken with all religious leaders and the wider society because our plural societies demand nothing less if laws are to be for the good of all.
“The actions of some of our governors in the past and even present have opened up windows that are being exploited by these men of evil in the name of religion. We are ready to support our governors to see an end to these tragedies. However, our laws must be anchored on the principles of democracy and national cohesion.
“We have declared a week of prayer and fasting for peace in our land from August 15 to 22, 2021. The week of prayer will be formally declared open by the Bishop and will include rosary procession and benediction in our churches.”
In a related development, Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese, Ignatius Kaigama, has said only urgent help from heaven can save Nigeria and keep it from imminent collapse.
Kaigama, in his homily at Church of Annunciation, Kubwa, Abuja, made reference to all indices which point to the fact that Nigeria is on failure path with the state and its governance system seriously threatened.
“We need urgent divine help for our nation, our families, and especially, our unemployed young people suffering deprivation and losing confidence in self-seeking political leaders to give them what it takes to survive in their fatherland.
“God’s intervention is urgently needed because of prevailing corruption, bloodshed and violence. Also, apart from so many youths having no jobs, some of our children are in the wicked hands of terrorists and bandits in the bush subjected to emotional and social deprivation.”