Catholic bishops from Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province have called on the government to address the hardships currently affecting the nation’s citizens through positive changes. They said that must of the governments strategies needs fine-tuning for the benefits of the citizenry.
This is contained in a communique issued at the end of the bishops’ first meeting for 2017 held in Ibadan on Tuesday.
The communiqué was signed by the President, Archbishop Gabriel Abegunrin and Bishop John Oyejola of Ibadan Archdiocese and Osogbo Diocese, respectively.
Journalists report that the meeting was attended by Archbishop Leke Abegunrin (Ibadan) Bishops Emmanuel Badejo (Oyo), Ayo-Maria Atoyebi (Ilorin), Felix Ajakaye (Ekiti), Jude Arogundade(Ondo) and John Oyejola (Osogbo).
The bishops said that much of the government’s strategies needed fine-tuning for the benefits of the citizenry.
“The campaign against corruption seems to be losing steam as convictions are rare and the initial recovery of stolen funds has slowed down.
“The reform of the power sector is at a standstill with only some parts of Nigeria experiencing better or constant supply of electricity and road infrastructure is not improving much.
“Insurgency, which seemed to be the nation’s main security concern, has been largely reduced.
“But the alleged Fulani herdsmen clashes with local communities seem to cancel out whatever gains can be celebrated in security.
“The freefall of the naira is another force tightening the noose around the neck of ordinary Nigerians, reducing their purchasing power and complicating their woes even further.
“The effort of government to shore up this major issue can only be described as token and much more needs to be done in these different sectors,’’ the communiqué said.
The bishops who also expressed concern on the recent loss of lives in the Southern Kaduna, urged government to be more proactive in protecting the lives and properties of Nigerians.
“We appeal to all men and women of goodwill to support the needy and all those affected by the crisis.
“We acknowledge the recent effort of the Federal government in providing a number of jobs and giving some welfare packages to some poor citizens of Nigeria.
“We urge the government to do more in this regard and ask state governments to replicate this programme in their states.
“It is necessary and urgent to restore the confidence of all Nigerians in the Nigerian nation,’’ the bishops said.
They, however, commended the sacrifices made by the country’s security agencies which they said had helped to keep the nation together so far.
“We pray for all who have died in various conflicts in Nigeria and for those who have paid the highest price in the defence of our country and condole with their families.
“In spite of the recent unfortunate bombing of the IDPs’ camp where dozens of innocent people were killed, our soldiers and security agencies deserve our support and appreciation.
“ It is our prayer that Nigeria will soon experience the peace which we have always desired and pray for,’’ they said.
The bishops called on the country’s government to be more forthcoming with information concerning government, its officials and policies.
“Public perception is essential in any democracy and it is important for the public to be adequately and correctly informed about happenings to important public personalities and issues.