The Bishops said that the country had remained together just by the grace of God, adding that the survival of the nation was presently at stake.
This was contained in a statement jointly signed by the CBCN President, Archbishop Augustine Akubueze and the Secretary, Most Rev. Camillus Raymond Umoh in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to the statement, the country is falling apart due to serious rising insecurity clearly evident in widespread loss of lives and property triggered by the increasing number of bandits, Boko Haram, killer herdsmen and other criminal elements across the country.
The Bishops stressed that the insecurity had forced people to believe that those who have assumed the duty and authority to secure the nation are either unable or unwilling to take up the responsibilities of their office.
The CBCN called on relevant authorities to quickly address the situation, adding that time is running out and the situation needs to improve!
The statement reads in parts, “The clamour for self-defense is fast gaining ground. Many ethnic champions are loudly beating the drums of war, calling not only for greater autonomy but even for outright opting out of a nation in which they have lost all trust and sense of belonging. The calls for secession on an ethnic basis from many quarters should not be ignored or taken lightly.
“Many have given up on the viability and even on the desirability of the Nigeria project as one united country. No wonder many non-state actors are filling the vacuum created by a palpable failure of government.
“The Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari can no longer delay rising to its obligation to govern the nation; not according to ethnic and religious biases but along the lines of objective and positive principles of fairness, equity and, above all, justice.
“It is not too much for Nigerians to demand from Mr President sincerity both in the public and private domain. There are no more excuses.
“We, of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, with members from all parts of Nigeria, are very highly disturbed about the present state of instability in the land.
“This must not be allowed to continue to fester and degenerate. We are raising this alarm because of our deep patriotic love for our nation, not for any sectional interests, be they political, ethnic or even religious.
“Despite the persistence of crises around us; assassinations, Covid 19, kidnappings, murders, banditry, armed robberies, we sincerely affirm our faith in the viability and desirability of the Nigeria Project, as one prosperous nation under God.
“But we are also convinced that building such a nation, especially in our present circumstances, comes at a cost. We are also convinced that the alternative of tearing ourselves apart, comes with a cost that is far higher than what it takes to keep ourselves together.
“We must be ready to seek a common purpose with sincerity of mind. As individuals and as groups, we ought to be ready to make the necessary sacrifices that would enable us to manage our differences better and turn them into a positive rather than a negative force. Governments at different levels ought to lead the way”.
How Nigerian Army attempted to assassinate IPOB lawyer – Nnamdi Kanu
The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, has accused the Nigerian Army of attempting to assassinate one Barrister Chukwuemeka Okoroafor.
Kanu disclosed that Okoroafor was ambushed by men who came out of a white Hilux truck on Suleja-Bida highway on Thursday and opened fire on his car.
The IPOB leader revealed this in a press release he signed and made available to SaharaReporters through the group’s media and publicity secretary, Emma Powerful.
According to him, Okoroafor, a legal counsel for IPOB, was leaving Alpha Military Commando Base in Suleja where he had gone to confirm an intelligence report regarding some Biafran agitators detained by the Nigerian Army, when he was attacked.
“Following the assassination attempt made in Abuja today, February 25, 2021, by Nigerian Army sponsored by the likes of Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, on the life of Barrister Chukwuemeka Richard Okoroafor, the IPOB lawyer who has been at the forefront of efforts to secure the release of Biafran women abducted from the ruins of destroyed synagogues at Obigbo in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protest and taken to military execution facilities in Fulani controlled Sharia North as sex slaves, I, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), wish to put the world on notice that Nigeria Government is waging an undeclared but brutal war on the law-abiding citizens of Biafra.
“This cowardly assassination attempt by the Nigerian Army is evidence of their desperation to frustrate IPOB from securing freedom for kidnapped and dehumanised women bound and chained in military barracks in the North for the amorous pleasure of those elements in the security agencies that specialise and derive pleasure in raping Biafran women.
“These women unfortunately are still being subjected to the most horrific sexual violence till today. They are being gang-raped every night by Fulani Islamic soldiers in the Nigerian Army. It’s a shame and a stain on the conscience of humanity that in this 21st century, women are still being forcibly abducted, caged, and used as sex slaves in a country that has no regard for their own laws.
“Barrister Okoroafor went to the Alpha Military Commando Base in Suleja to confirm intelligence reports from credible sources that civilians being held at this military detention camp are all missing Biafrans, including Elvis Ngozi and 109 others. Upon exiting this facility and into Suleja-Bida Road, an unmarked white Hilux truck pulled up by the side of his vehicle and opened fire on him in an effort to kill him. The same thing they did to Barrister Ejiofor about two years ago when they invaded his country home in a similar state-sponsored attempt to assassinate him.
“Barrister Okoroafor told me that before leaving the base, he discovered that the left rear wheel of his SUV was marked with black paint. He drove into Suleja Area Command and made a report. Shortly afterwards he was attacked on the road. This testimony convinced me that the attackers were members of Nigeria’s security agents.”
Kanu alerted that the Nigerian government and its Army in their attempt to kill Okoroafor were trying to frighten other lawyers working for the liberation of IPOB members.
“This attempt to assassinate Barrister Okoroafor by Nigerian security agents is a deliberate ploy by the government to frighten and intimidate other lawyers away from providing legal representation to hundreds of kidnapped members of IPOB languishing in military concentration camps in the North.
“The whole world must take note of this barbaric attack against innocent Barrister Chukwuemeka Richard Okoroafor in Abuja today being the 25th day of February, 2021, a lawyer who is doing his professional job.
“Since the Nigerian Army and police have taken it upon themselves to assassinate IPOB lawyers and to stop IPOB from challenging them with self-evident truth in their own law courts, they will soon reap the fruit of their evil deed. We, therefore, demand the immediate release of all sex slaves in the custody of the Nigerian Army.”
No amnesty for bandits, criminals, Buhari replies Gumi
Buhari warned that his government would deal decisively with all forms of criminality in the country.
He spoke while declaring open a joint security meeting of the Northern State Governors’ Forum, Northern Traditional Rulers Council and delegation from the Federal Government.
Represented by his Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, Buhari said he has directed the security chief to evolve strategy on how to deal with all forms of criminalities.
He said: “I must appreciate the efforts of the 19 Northern States Governors’ Forum for their contribution towards national growth and development, especially in this challenging period in our nation’s being where certain fundamental corporate existence needs to be frankly deliberated upon and actionable resolutions reached.
“At the same time, we are confronting the various dimensions of security challenges that continue to slow down the emancipation of our people from poverty and economic deprivation. The Government shall continue to deal with insurgents, bandits, kidnappers and other criminals who constitute a threat to innocent citizens across the country.
“Criminals are criminals and should be dealt with accordingly, without resorting to ethnic profiling. I have already tasked the new Service Chiefs to devise new strategies that will end this ugly situation where the lives of our people continue to be threatened by hoodlums and criminals.”
Buhari’s comment is coming at a time popular Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi had called on the federal government to grant amnesty to bandits.
Gumi had explained that granting amnesty to bandits was better than engaging them in what he termed “operation fire-for-fire.”
He had also pointed out that amnesty to bandits would help calm down the tense insecurity situation.
Zamfara: Son of late bandit leader surrenders 30 AK-47 rifles, 2 rocket launchers, others
No fewer than 30 AK-47 rifles, 2 GPRP rifles, rocket launchers and a large cache of ammunition have been surrendered by Muhammed Sani, popularly known as Zakwi.
Sani is the son of a murdered notorious bandit leader in Zamfara.
Receiving the bandits and the arms from Zakwi and other bandits at the Government House in Gusau, the state capital, Governor Matawalle, Thursday, said he was very optimistic that banditry would soon end in the state, considering the way bandits were trooping in to surrender their weapons.
The repentant bandit, Zakwi, who took over leadership from his late father Buharin Daji, one of most dreaded bandits in the state, swore with the Holy Qur’an that, henceforth, he would never return to his past life.
“I swear in the name of the Almighty Allah, I will never either kill, kidnap or disturb the peace of innocent citizens of Zamfara State and even beyond again. I also pray God to guide me to live a peaceful life.
“ A large number of bandits that are still living in the forests are willing to embrace the government peace accord and reconciliation process as we were all made to understand that, the present administration of Governor Matawalle does not mean to trap and harm us, but rather meant to restore peace and tranquility in the state,” he added.
It could be recalled that Governor Bello Muhammad Matawalle has assured the repentant bandits of equal treatments without any victimization by any person or group of persons or individual in the state.
“My administration was committed towards making you live a normal life and to take good care of your children’s education, health services and their training with a view to build a bright future for them”, the governor had assured.
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