Catholic Bishops of Ibadan Province have urged the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to desist from blaming past administration for the woes of the country at the moment, noting that after about two years of this administration there still were no clear signs that government was working to better the situation of the country.
They decried growing desperation in the country evidenced by proliferation of false information, violent clashes, calls for the break-up of Nigeria and pervasive criminality.
The bishops raised these concerns in a communiqué signed by its President, Most Reverend Gabriel Abegunrin and Secretary, Bishop John Oyejola at the end of its February meeting held at Oke Ado, Ibadan.
Not failing to identify the impacts of recession on the nation’s economy, the bishops noted that it was high time the federal government restored the confidence of all Nigerians with evidences that it was striving to calm the situation.
Specifically, the bishops questioned the fervour of the fight against corruption, noting limited convictions and recovery of stolen funds, decried the lack of improvement in the power sector and road infrastructure, and bemoaned the freefall of the naira which had worsened the purchasing power of Nigerians.
The communiqué read, “It is difficult to deny that Nigeria is undergoing very serious challenges and problems at the moment. While many of our problems are not peculiar to Nigeria, it is true to say that we as government and people of Nigeria do not seem to know how to confront our challenges. After nearly two years of the current administration, Nigerians should no longer hear past administrations blamed for the woes of the present.”
“Our present governments, especially at Federal and State levels, have had enough time to demonstrate the capability to bring about the changes promised to Nigerians. It is no longer news that Nigerians are truly suffering. Some of this can be understandable under a recession, however, there ought to be clear signs in national life by now that the government and people of our country are truly working to bring things under control. Regrettably there is not much evidence of this, currently. Instead, there is a growing sense of desperation in the general populace, that the much expected change has been slowed down.”
“This unfortunate situation provokes general badwill manifested in the current proliferation of false information, violent clashes, calls for the break-up of Nigeria and pervasive criminality. It is necessary and urgent to restore the confidence of all Nigerians in the Nigerian nation.”
“We call on the government at all levels in Nigeria to continue to optimize strategies to bring about positive change in the nation. As things stand, much of the government’s strategies do not seem to be working well. The campaign against corruption seems to be losing steam as convictions are rare and the initial recovery of stolen funds has slowed down.”
“The reform of the power sector is at a standstill with only some parts of Nigeria experiencing better or constant supply of electricity; road infrastructure is not improving much. Boko Haram insurgency, which seemed to be the nation’s main security concern, has been largely reduced, its occasional attacks and the alleged Fulani herdsmen clashes with local communities seem to cancel out whatever gains can be celebrated in security.”
“The freefall of the naira is another force tightening the noose around the neck of ordinary Nigerians, reducing their purchasing power and complicating their woes even further. So far, the effort of government to shore up this major issue can only be described as token and much more needs to be done in these different sectors.”
In the wake of varied pieces of information about the health of President Muhammadu Buhari, the bishops called for better management of information about government, its officials and policies by managers of the information outfit of government.
Furthermore, the bishops condemned the loss of lives in the Southern Kaduna crisis, urging the federal government to show seriousness in arresting the awry development.
They noted the imperativeness of all Nigerians to provide some succour to those affected by the crisis and the needy.
The communiqué also stated, “We condemn the needless loss of life in the Southern Kaduna crisis, which has confirmed an impression that government is lackadaisical in responding to the needs of some sections of the nation. This impression should not be allowed to take firm root. Government exists for all and must never be seen to favour any group or ignore the needs of another. We admonish the government to be more proactive in protecting the life and property of Nigerians.”
“We appeal to all men and women of goodwill to help the needy and all those affected by the crisis. We acknowledge the recent effort of the Federal government in providing a number of jobs and giving some welfare packages to some poor citizens of Nigeria. We urge the government to do more in this regard and ask State Governments to replicate this programme in the States.”