Nigeria at 60: No Cause for Celebration, Say Catholic Bishops

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By Onyebuchi Ezigbo

The Bishops of the Catholic Church in Nigeria has said that with the enormity problems facing the country, there is no room for celebration of the country’s 60th independence anniversary.

In an independence message to Nigerians signed by the

Archbishop of Benin City Archdiocese and President of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), His Grace, Augustine O. Akubeze, the bishops said that apart from the economy that is in terrible state, the country is faced with insecurity and other social crisis.

“Ordinarily, we as a nation should be rejoicing on this occasion of the diamond jubilee of Nigeria’s independence.

“But how can we celebrate when many of our people cannot afford to eat? How can we celebrate when we watch daily, the killings of Nigerians by the insurgents? “How can we celebrate when Boko Haram is still holding some of the Chibok girls, and Leah Sharibu is still being held captive for over three years because she refuses to denounce Christ?

“How can we celebrate when Covid-19 has crippled an already poor Nigerian economy? How do we celebrate when the Federal Government, without any prior clear warning, allows the epileptic electricity supply tariff to be increased and at the same time removing the fuel subsidy? “It is difficult to ask Nigerians to celebrate when many Nigerians with a minimum wage of N30, 000 are asked to provide for their families in the light of the hike in fuel price and the increase in the electricity tariff”.

The bishops said “it is just unimaginable and inconceivable to celebrate Nigeria at 60 when our roads are not safe; our people are kidnapped, and they sell their properties to pay ransom to criminals.

“Nigerians are experiencing an invasion of their farmlands by armed Fulani-herdsmen; a group well organised and already designated as the fourth deadliest terrorists’ group in the world by the Global Terrorism Index”.

According to the clergymen, Nigerians from almost all geographical regions seem to agree that the country needs to start working on restructuring.

They recalled that the All Progressives Congress (APC) campaigned to attend to the issue of restructuring, sharing of resources, and a constitutional amendment if Nigerians voted them into power, adding that “it is somewhat regrettable that the Federal Government of Nigeria has not kept to its electoral promises.

They added that, “state governors, senators, Federal House of Representatives’ members must all work towards ensuring restructuring of Nigeria. Nigeria is almost at the verge of total collapse”.