The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) says Nigeria will “become ungovernable” if the federal government continues to ignore criticisms and recommendations.
In a statement issued on Friday and signed by the President of CBCN, Augustine Akubeze, the clergies also asked President Muhammadu Buhari to address the country on his effort in tackling insecurity.
The bishops, who also bemoaned the spate of abduction of students by bandits, said Nigerians want to “directly hear” from Buhari — and not presidential spokespersons.
The Catholic leaders urged the president to convene a national conference geared towards implementing restructuring and devolution of power.
“In Nigeria, the Catholic Church wants the Federal Government to call for a meeting of all stakeholders to have a sincere discussion on the way forward,” the statement read.
“Such discussions must seek how to implement the much talked about restructuring and devolution of power down to the local government level.
“No government leader should watch the breakdown of law and order in Nigeria. It is our collective obligation to make Nigeria successful.
“Presidents of countries grant interviews to the media who are the watchdogs of democracy. But in Nigeria, we hardly hear directly from our President.
“Most of the time, we hear from ‘the Presidency.’ Nigerians did not elect presidential media spokespersons. Nigerians do want to hear directly from their President and hear words that are matched with actions.
“To every religious leader, let us not use inflammatory words that distort the real message we are sending to this government.”
The bishops said Nigeria stands on a precipice, adding that the government should accept constructive criticism and suggestions on how to move the country forward.
“We must be united in the fight for our common destiny as a people. It must be clearly stated to the Federal Government that if they continue to ignore the constructive criticisms and recommendations of Nigerians from every sector, the country will collapse and become ungovernable,” they said.
“We are speedily getting there. Police stations are being burnt, our gallant military men and women are being killed, barracks are attacked, IDP camps are attacked, farmlands are invaded, youth unemployment is at its highest, private sectors are not giving enabling environment to thrive, and appointments to offices are not reflective of our diversities; the complaints are almost endless — could the sounds signalling a collapsing nation be louder than this?”
“Every reasonable Nigerian is sick to the stomach to read or hear of a governor running from insurgents who want to kill him in the state where he is constitutionally the chief security officer.
“Nigerians are tired of hearing of bandits taking youths in the university and executing some of them, while others are kept to be used to bargain for ransom.
“The insecurity is leading to a daily loss of lives and properties in every part of the country. These facts are indisputable.”