By John Ikani
Catholic Bishops from Ibadan Archdiocese, Ilorin, Ondo, Oyo, Ekiti and Osogbo Dioceses, have faulted the alleged selective administration of justice by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government, stressing that the ugly development has affected the country’s image in the international community.
The bishops in a communiqué after their meeting at the Domus Pacis Pastoral Institute, Igoba in Akure, noted that the current waves of insecurity in the country are an indication that the Federal Government has failed to address the criminal elements wreaking havoc in the country.
The bishops who lamented that the country, under the present administration, has lost its soul, added that insecurity pervading the land, dwindling economy and others, are all indices of a failed country, needing an urgent revival.
They also tackled the Presidency for attacking the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, for his revelations to the United States Congress on the state of things in the country, insisting that Kukah made patriotic and commendable points with verifiable data on the unlawful persecution of Nigerians.
The communiqué signed by the province Chairman and Secretary, Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin and Rev. Akin Oyejola, respectively reads:
“Nigeria, our country, seems to have lost its very soul because it is no longer a healthy entity. The good health of any nation consists in its capacity to offer its citizens a territory where they can feel at home, feel secure and enjoy the necessities of life.
“This, unfortunately, is no longer the case in our dear country, Nigeria, where, armed conflicts, armed robbery, kidnapping for ransom, insurgency, banditry and extrajudicial killing persist as the order of the day. When a nation loses its soul, its people lose the cohesive elements of human relationships. A nation that has lost its soul is characterised by inept, uncaring leadership which functions by selective allocation of posts, privileges and resources and by selective application of justice. It is characterised by leaders who, rather than care for the citizens of the country, simply exploit and denigrate them.”
On the presidency’s response to Bishop Kukah, the bishops said: “Bishop Kukah, in his patriotic and frank presentation called attention to some verifiable data and statistics about the Nigerian situation on that privileged international platform. He spoke for authentic Christians and Muslims who are under persecution. No doubt, he intended to solicit the support of that forum which many Nigerians believe holds the promise of some assistance and relief from our current national crises.
“The Federal Government, however, has characteristically gone up in arms against the person of Bishop Kukah and his purpose. It is commonly said that when there is a problem in a democracy, more democracy is needed to solve it. Sadly enough, our current federal government does not seem to subscribe to this.
“For the sake of our democracy, that right, exercised with responsibility, must be protected. We support Bishop Kukah in his effort to unveil the truth about the Nigerian situation to ameliorate things. We call on the Federal Government to learn not to see criticism as an attack or a crime.”