By Ugo Aliogo
The Institute for Public Policy Analysis (IPPA), Institute of Liberty, Washington, DC and the Nigeria chapter of the Saint Raphael Catholic Society have urged Citigroup and Standard Chartered Plc to withdraw their support for the $2.8 billion Eurobond promoted by the federal government in protest over what they described as President Muhammadu Buhari’s failure to stop the attacks on innocent Christians and other people of faith.
According to a statement made to THISDAY and signed by the Executive Vice President Institute for Liberty, Jerry Rogers; the Director, IPPA, Thompson Ayodele; and the General Secretary Saint Raphael Catholic Society, Adebayo Temidayo, it was noted that there is need to promote basic human rights; free exercise of religion and the protection of vulnerable groups.
“Together, our organisations share a commitment to basic human rights: free exercise of religion and the protection of vulnerable groups. In Nigeria, these principles have been abandoned, as Christian pastors, parishioners and communities are being targeted for practicing their faith,” the statement said.
The statement said support for the Eurobond sale in London enables the government to continue to act with impunity, adding that the money channeled by Western banks would continue to flow without consequence.
The statement said: “The Chief Executive Officers, Citigroup, Michael Corbat, and Standard Chartered Plc, Bill Winters, we are deeply concerned with this partnership, and urge your respective institutions to place people and principle above profit, and to terminate your involvement in the Eurobond offering. Targeting of Christians and people of faith inside Nigeria is an internationally recognized fact.”
It further stated that the US Congressional Research Service has published a report highlighting the problem and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops have recognized what is taking place in the country.
It added: “Both of your companies have stated that you adhere to the highest ethical standards and are committed to due diligence on human rights impact. Associating with, and profiting from, a government that has allowed thousands of Christians and other people of faith to be attacked, is a breach of the ethical and business standards expected of banks with your long storied histories and stellar brand names.
“A recent history of banking scandals illustrates the contempt in which financial institutions can be held, and the reputational damage that can be caused, when they fall short of the principles and standards expected of them. We hope, and expect, that you will reconsider your current and future work for the Nigerian government in light of the current situation.”