Saturday, 08 May 2021 04:54

Be open to criticisms, Catholic Bishops tell Buhari

The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has told President Muhammadu Buhari not embark on any form of propaganda against religious leaders who disagree with his administration.

 The bishops also urged him not to spend time trying to blackmail anyone who criticises his government, saying Nigerians speak out because they don’t want their country to fail.

This is as the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, has said that the proliferation of self-help security organisations in the country was an evidence of deficiency in the security architecture of the country.

The CBCN argued that Nigerians do not need to be card-carrying members of a party before speaking their minds on burning issues in the polity.

Akubeze said: “Nigerians are tired of hearing of bandits taking youths in the university and executing some of them, while others are kept to be used to bargain for ransom.

“In the midst of all these, the Presidency recently stated that some religious leaders and some Nigerian politicians are plotting to destabilise the country.

“The spokesperson for the Nigeria Army noted that there is no plan by the military to take over democratically elected persons. While we reject any call for the destabilisation of Nigeria or military takeover, we nonetheless say to the Federal Government of Nigeria – we speak out because we do not want Nigeria to collapse. We are not speaking out for the APC government to fail. We are speaking out so that Nigeria will not fail. APC is not the owner of Nigeria; Nigeria is owned by Nigerians irrespective of political affiliation.

“APC government must learn to listen to every Nigerian, both political actors in other parties and non-political actors in Nigeria and the Diaspora. It is not out of place to call for a security summit in whatever form it may take as long as it leads to the unity, peace, justice, progress and protection of Nigerians.

“The Federal Government must be transparent with every Nigerian in the struggle to revive our economy, industrialise the nation, objectively deal with corruption and significantly reduce the high level of insecurity and unemployment.”

Akubeze urged the Federal Government to convene a meeting of all stakeholders to have a sincere discussion on the way forward, stressing that such discussions must seek how to implement the much talked about restructuring and devolution of power down to the local council level.

He added: “In every democracy, the welfare of the citizens is of great concern to the President. From time to time, presidents address the people and give an account of the state of affairs in the country. Presidents of countries grant interviews to the media who are the watchdogs of democracy. But in Nigeria, we hardly hear directly from our President. Most of the time, we hear from ‘the Presidency’. Nigerians did not elect presidential media spokespersons. Nigerians do want to hear directly from their President and hear words that are matched with actions.


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