The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) says the Federal Government has not shown willingness to end killings and kidnappings by Boko Haram insurgents and Fulani herdsmen across the country.
According to CBCN, FG has continued to handle arrest and prosecution of criminals shoddily, hence fostering the belief that it was not ready to secure the country.
The Catholic bishops stated this in a statement signed by their President, Augustine Akubeze and Secretary, Camillus Umoh, to mark Ash Wednesday, which signals the beginning of the 40-day Lenten period.
CBCN appealed to the international community to come to Nigeria’s aid to stop Boko Haram’s targeting of Christians and Fulani herdsmen’s destruction of people’s means of livelihood.
Should Boko Haram and Fulani terrorists succeed in their agenda, the body warned, it portended grave dangers for West Africa in particular and Africa in general.
“The level of insecurity in Nigeria today is such that whether at home or on the road, most Nigerians, in all the parts of the country, live in fear.
“The repeated barbaric execution of Christians by the Boko Haram insurgents and the incessant cases of kidnapping for ransom linked to the same group and other terrorists have traumatised many citizens.
“That the perpetrators of these heinous crimes make public shows of them on social media and Nigerians, do not hear of any arrest or prosecution of the criminals raise grave questions about the ability and willingness of the government to protect the lives of the ordinary Nigerians.
“To make matters worse, many communities are constantly threatened, harassed and sometimes even sacked by herdsmen, as they seek to take over more territories to graze their cattle forcefully,” the Catholic bishops said.
CBCN said, “As we begin the Holy Season, we, the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria, invite all Catholics in Nigeria as well as other Christians and persons of goodwill to unite in prayer and penance for peace and security in our country.”
According to the body, “This is not a time for compromises for the sake of personal convenience, but rather for heroism in Christian virtues. Remember the words of our Lord: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both the soul and body in Gehenna, (Matthew 10: 28).”
The Catholic bishops urged all arms of government to wake up to their primary responsibility of securing the lives and property of Nigerians.
“We, therefore, appeal to the government to immediately put a stop to this unprecedented wave of violence and brutality aimed particularly at Christians.
“We also call for the arrest and prosecution of all those behind these senseless killings that sow the dangerous seeds of hate and distrust among the various segments of the Nigerian society,” the body said.