By Chidi Nkwopara
CATHOLIC Bishops of the Owerri Ecclesiastical Province have decried the growing degree of insecurity in the country and urged Christians to watch and pray.
The position of the bishops was made public in a nine-point pastoral statement they issued after their Second Plenary meeting of 2019 held at Sacred Heart Pastoral Retreat Centre, Orlu.
The statement by the Chairman and Secretary, Most Rev. Dr. Anthony J. V. Obinna, Archbishop of Owerri, and Most Rev. Dr. Augustine T. Ukwuoma, respectively, was entitled Be strong, fear not.
They said: “Our people are currently undergoing unbearable threats from some of our political leaders and even from our security agents. The situation has been compounded by the marauding so-called herdsmen and other bandits.”
According to the Catholic Bishops, the situation has equally been compounded by government’s apparent silence over infringements at various levels and by shady land deals by certain community leaders.
They added: “Every day, and across our states, we hear heartbreaking tales of kidnapping, raping, maiming, extorting, land-grabbing, killing and destroying of people’s sources of livelihood. We continue often to hope in vain for our elected public officers and security agents to protect our citizens as expected and as enshrined in our Constitution.”
They also opined that the unemployment situation had continued to cause great concern to the society, as governments fail to provide jobs and factories that they promised, noting “many youths now look more for quick money-making ventures, even at the cost of their lives, rather than pursue creative, innovative and gainful jobs.”
“Unpaid pensions and gratuities of retired persons continue to be a source of worry. A number of them have died without collecting what is due to them, while those who are alive are still not sure of when they will be paid.”
They were similarly irked that contractors build substandard roads that cause the citizenry untold hardship and trauma, stressing that “those in charge of public utilities like hospitals, schools, electricity, pipe-borne water etcetera, allow them to decay or malfunction.”