Bishops raise alarm over corruption, insecurity

Posted by Boniface Okoro, Umuahia | 11 September 2012 | 4,209 times

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Catholic Bishops in Nigeria have lamented the high rate of corruption in the country, saying that it has been elevated to an art resulting in many living in abject poverty.

The Bishops who are in Umuahia, Abia State, south-east Nigeria, for their Second Plenary session asked the federal government to decisively tackle corruption and the persisting insecurity being perpetrated by Boko Haram elements.

President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, made the position of the priests known in his address during Sunday’s opening ceremony at Mater Dei Cathedral.

Kaigama, who is the Archbishop of Jos Catholic Diocese, Plateau State in Nigeria’s north-central, lamented that corruption has permeated every facet of the Nigerian society.

“We are very saddened by the culture of unbridled corruption which today does not exclude even children, religious leaders, security personnel at road blocks, vegetables/fuel sellers, guards, messengers, etc. For many all they care about is what they can get for themselves and not what they can give their neighbours, society and indeed, Nigeria,” he said.

Kaigama said that financial recklessness and mismanagement at all levels as recently revealed by fuel subsidy and pension fund scams have left Nigerians poor in a country endowed with rich mineral resources. Matters, he said, are made worse by reckless spending by a few Nigerians.

“A few wallow in unbelievable wealth and spend what should be for all of us so recklessly that you would think there is Olympic competition in wasteful and visionless spending,” the CBCN President said.

He noted that inability of Nigeria to win any medal during the recent 2012 London Olympics was not just a manifestation of the country’s uncoordinated approach to national issues but also a symptom that “the nation was being crippled by corruption which has almost become an art.”

On the issue of insecurity, the Archbishop pointed out that the security challenges Nigeria is facing is the handiwork of those who intend to sow the seed of distrust, cause disharmony and bring about disintegration of the country.

“We must collectively resist the temptation to pitch the Northern Nigeria against Southern Nigeria, Muslims against Christians by the terrorist group who in the name of religion is gradually pushing us to the brink of national self-destruction,” he counselled.

According to Kaigama, the non-retaliatory response by Christians to the attacks on their members and churches in Northern Nigeria is to implore God to change the minds of the evil doers bent on unleashing havoc on innocent Nigerians.

He warned that the patience of Christians is running out and called on the federal government to halt the reckless attacks on innocent Nigerians, using the intelligence and expertise of the security agents as well as check arms importation into the country.

In his goodwill message, Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State expressed hope that the will power of Nigerians to fight corruption would make the nation to metamorphose into a better country.

Orji noted that the prevailing security in Abia made hosting of the conference in Umuahia possible, noting that this was the first time the conference would be holding in the state and the Umuahia Catholic Diocese.

The governor announced that in furtherance of the state’s partnership with the church, his administration would this week hand over schools to the churches that originally owned them.

Delivering his own goodwill message, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State called for closer interaction between political and religious leaders to find solutions to the myriads of problems plaguing the nation.

He said Nigeria is experiencing what many advanced nations have passed through and would emerge from its current tribulations stronger. He commended religious leaders for their mature approach to contentious issues in the country.

President Goodluck Jonathan, in his message delivered by Minister of Labour and Productivity, Nwadiala Emeka Wogu, promised to drive federal government’s transformation agenda to a logical end in its determination to build a better Nigeria. The conference ends on Thursday.  

*Photo: Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama.

Source: News Express

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