Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "Various parts of Nigeria live in a situation of almost civil war". This is the alarm presented by the Bishops of Nigeria directly to the President of the Nigerian Federation, Muhammadu Buhari, during a meeting that a delegation of the local Episcopal Conference had with the Head of State.
The Bishops recalled that Buhari’s election, which took place three years ago, aroused strong hopes in the population because they saw an honest person who cares about the good of the Country. In their greetings to the President, after stressing that as Pastors of the Church in Nigeria they are able to perceive the feelings of the population in the different corners of the Country, the Bishops say: "there is no doubt that when you came into office, you had an enormous amount of the goodwill of Nigerians, since many saw you are a person of integrity who would be able to bring sanity into a system that was nearly crippled by endemic corruption". "Nearly three years later, however one has the feeling that this good will is being fast depleted by some glaring failures of government which we have the moral responsibility to bring to your notice, else we would be failing in our duty as spiritual fathers and leaders".
The first problem is that of violence in various areas of Nigeria, which has worsened precisely "when the Country seemed to be gradually emerging from the dark tunnel of an economic recession that caused untold hardship to families and individuals".
In particular, the Bishops denounce the "violent attacks by unscrupulous persons, among whom are terrorists masquerading as herdsmen, have led to a near civil war situation in many parts of the country".
"The recent massacre of unarmed citizens by these terrorists in some communities of Benue, Adamawa, Kaduna and Taraba States which has caused national shock, grief and outcry at anational level" the Bishops recall, but the most worrying fact is "the silence of the federal government in the wake of these horrifying attacks is, to say the least, shocking". "There is a feeling of helplessness among the people and the danger that some people may begin to take laws into their hands", they warn. "We therefore earnestly urge the government to take very seriously its primary responsibility of protecting the lives and property of its citizens and ensure that such mindless killings do not reoccur. Herdsmen may be under pressure to save their livestock and economy but this is never to be done at the expense of other people’s lives and means of livelihood", the Bishops stress.
The other plague reported is that of kidnappings for reasons of extortion, which also affect priests, religious men and women. "We need to put an end to the sense of impunity of those who commit these crimes. It must be made to understand that there is a government in this country", the Bishops conclude. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 9/2/2018)