Equitable distribution of the nation’s resources for the common good of all Nigerians has been described a panacea for restoring the dignity of Nigerians as human beings, the integrity of the country as a nation and the restoration of the loyalty of the people.
This position was posited by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), in an official statement issued on the State of the Nation at the end of their recently concluded first 2017 Plenary meeting held at the Daughters of Divine Love Retreat and Conference Centre (DRACC); Lugbe, Abuja.
The statement which was signed by Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos and William Avenya of Gboko, President and Secretary of the Conference respectively, was titled: Our Dignity, our Nation and Our Citizenship; and dwelt extensively on national issues that could make or mar the country and proffered solutions for the challenges facing the country in the respective areas addressed.
On the problem of youth restiveness, the Bishops declared: “Over the years, we have witnessed the subjugation and dehumanization of our people by a powerful elite that has continued to disregard the sanctity and dignity of every Nigerian citizen. Consequently, we now have generations of young people facing a life of uncertainty, fear and desolation. Graduates are unable to find jobs. With parents out of jobs, having no pension and faced with the debilitating economic situation, we are saddened our young people have been exposed to so many hazards.”
They further stated; “Today, we are losing our children to the streets, to gangs and drugs. As long as these young people roam the streets with so much despondency, so long will they remain exposed and perhaps recruited to join such evil groups like kidnappers, drug and human trafficking gangs or Boko Haram. Our nation must reverse this ugly trend in our society.”
They also called for an end to inequalities and indignities among the citizens of the country pointing out that “It is intolerable that our people should continue to live under so much poverty and inequalities.” In this respect they condemned the current ruthless “guise in the idolatry of money and dictatorship of impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose.” We equally call on our government to put into effect its unfulfilled commitments such as ending poverty, feeding the nation, and providing accessible education.
While commending the administration of president Muhammadu Buhari for the efforts at fighting corruption in the country, the Bishops however noted that: “this war will only be meaningful if it is owned by the generality of Nigerians.” They pointed out that “Several recent incidents have contributed to undermine the faith of Nigerians in the credibility of the fight against corruption. To restore the faith of the people in this war, we call on the Federal Government to allow an independent investigation into recent allegations of corrupt mis-conduct against senior members of the administration.”
The bishops also spoke on credible institutions and citizens’ rights; the need for collaboration between government and other serious stakeholders in the area of education for effectiveness and efficiency; human rights education as an imperative and enforcing constitutional religious freedom.
In this respect they declared: “In the area of religious freedom of worship and conscience, we are saddened by the fact that many State governments, Universities and other institutions of higher learning continue to act against the Constitution. State Governments many of the States in the north continue to refuse of Certificates of Occupancy for the construction of Churches. We call on the federal and state governments to respect the relevant provisions in the Constitution.”