Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "We need to strengthen the sense of national belonging", write the Bishops of Nigeria in the final document published at the end of their second Plenary Assembly held from 10 to 20 September in Agbamaya, Obada-Oko, Abeokuta, in the State of Ogun.
"We note with dismay that many months after the general elections, many parts of our nation are still in disarray. The country is badly divided. This is evident in appointments to positions of national importance, sharing of resources, and distribution of social amenities", underlines the statement sent to Agenzia Fides. "We urge especially the Federal Government, to ensure that it does not allow ethnic or religious hegemony to prevail in our multi-religious and secular state. Yet, much effort is required from both government and citizens in order to have a nation in which everyone and every part, irrespective of differences of tribe or religion or political affiliation, will have a sense of belonging".
The divisions fuel the violent acts denounced by the Bishops: "There are, unfortunately, still many instances of killings as a result of banditry, kidnapping, assassination, armed robbery, reckless use of force by security agencies and lynching. Lately, too, there is an upsurge in the cases of suicide, even among our youths. Furthermore, the clashes between herdsmen and communities, and the activities of Boko Haram insurgents have continued, in which many innocent people lose their lives. These make living in Nigeria very precarious".
While acknowledging the government's efforts to fight insecurity, the Bishops note that "the Federal Government, in which the power to control the major security agencies is vested, is overwhelmed". The Bishops therefore stress the "need for proper decentralization of these agencies for effective results".
"The Nigerian State is much endowed with natural, human and spiritual resources. Sadly, political authorities have not been completely diligent in relating to these resources neither have they been fair and equitable in distributing them. Where there is no fair sharing of wealth and opportunities, there is bound to be crisis", underlined the Bishops. "We enjoin all Christians and people of good will to preach daily this message of justice and peace, and to live it out coherently. May the Blessed Virgin Mary our Mother, the Queen of Peace and Patroness of Nigeria intercede for us", the message concludes. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 26/9/2019)