BY CHIDI NKWOPARA
OWERRI – Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, has expressed serious fear that corruption and the atmosphere of violence in some parts of the country may scuttle the nation’s current drive to have free, fair and credible general elections next month.
The Bishops’ position is contained in an 11-point communiqué signed at the end of their first plenary meeting for 2011 by the CBCN President and Secretary, Dr. Felix Alaba Job and Dr. Alfred Adewale Martins respectively and made available to Vanguard.
“We note with apprehension that elections may be taking place in an atmosphere of violence in some parts of Nigeria. We are equally apprehensive of pockets of election-related violence in other parts of the country”, the Catholic Bishops stated.
The clerics called on all political office seekers to exercise restraint and prevail on their supporters to eschew any temptation to violence, as well as avoid mudslinging, use of abusive words and actions capable of breaching the peace.
“Politicians should avoid mudslinging, bickering, use of abusive language, blackmail and all other utterances and actions capable of breaching peace”, the clerics pleaded.
It was their considered opinion that in addition to the problem of violence, “the poison of corruption in our country makes her a fertile ground for fraudulent electoral process”, pointing out that apart from staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, law enforcement agents and some members of the judiciary are also prone to corruption.
They expressed their sympathy to all who are affected by violence in Nigeria, even as they reminded government to admit that we have not overcome the problem of security.
“There are places in Nigeria where many innocent Nigerians continue to be slaughtered for the simple fact that their religious, political or ethnic affiliations are different from those of their murderers”, the clerics lamented.