By: Joy Odor/Kaduna
The Catholic Bishops of Lagos Ecclesiastical Province has called on all segments of the Church to pay serious attention to the growth in faith and welfare of the youths.
They made the call in a communique issued at the end of its 2018 1st Plenary meeting, comprising Archdiocese of Lagos and Dioceses of Ijebu Ode and Abeokuta on issues of immense importance to the Church and Nigerian at large, signed by the President, Most Reverend Alfred Adewala Martins and its Secretary Most Rev. Peter on Tuesday.
The communique also encouraged the Associations of the Lay Faithful in the church to reflect on ways by which they can assist in the formation and care of the youth as they fashion out their programs of action and plans for the 2018, saying this will help the church to be in sync with the Holy Father and the theme of the forthcoming synod on the youths and vocations.
They enjoined all its members to take time to go and register and get their voters cards ready ahead of the forthcoming 2019 elections while requesting that the Independent National Electoral Commission be more alive to its responsibilities, particularly in addressing the various complaints of the would-be electorate who are finding it extremely difficult to complete their registrations at the designated centres.
“In many instances, registration machines are said not to be functioning well while officials who are designated to man the centres are often not on seat to attend to people.
“These lapses need to be addressed as soon as possible to confirm the integrity of the process. In times past, many Nigerians showed apathy in matters concerning politics. Thankfully, this is no longer the case as they have since realized that the power to determine their present and future happiness lies in the votes they cast during elections” They stressed.
On the issue of Fulani Herdsmen, the Bishops urged the government to deal decisively with murderers and other out-laws to prevent the breakdown of law and order, pointing out that the incessant killings by herdsmen across the country, if not promptly curtailed, have the capability of subjecting the country to further major civil unrests with disastrous consequences on the nation’s unity.
They demand that those who have so far been implicated in the killings and their sponsors must be promptly arrested and made to face the music without fear or favour and also expected that those who are still on the run should be smoked out of their holes for the law to take its course.
“Nothing short of the above steps will help to convince the Nigerian populace of the sincerity of President Muhammodu Buhari to bring an end to the menace.
“Life is a precious gift to man by the Almighty. Since it is irreplaceable, no one has the arbitrary right to take the life of another” the Bishops said.
The Bishops commiserated with the families and relations of fellow Nigerians who lost their lives recently in Benue, Adamawa, Taraba States and Southern Kaduna as a result of deadly attacks by Fulani herdsmen.
They also condemned the senseless and arbitrary killings which in recent times leave one with the impression that there is more to it than the acquisition of land for the purpose of cattle grazing.
The Bishops however rejected the proposed move by the Federal Government to establish Cattle colonies across the various states of the federation as a way of finding a lasting solution to the Herdsmen/Farmers clashes, saying such a move is not only capable of further exacerbating an already tensed atmosphere, but also leave one with the impression that the much-touted Islamization agenda of Nigeria is an ongoing project that may have tacitly received the approval of Mr. President.
“All over the world, cattle grazing have long become obsolete. Ranches are the in-thing. One wonders why the rearing of cattle, like all other forms of personal businesses, should not be subjected to the same laws and regulations applicable to all corporate entities in the country.
“We call on the Federal Government to help bring about a permanent solution to the frequent Herdsmen/Farmers clashes by ensuring that the cattle owners establish ranches for their cattle without endangering the life and livelihood of others.
“Loan facilities as well as other relevant incentives should be extended to them in recognition of their contribution and relevance to the nation’s economy” They lamented.
The Bishops commended the Priests, Religious and lay faithful for their commitment to the faith and the Church and urged them not to relent in their commitment to the life and growth of the Church.
They called on they people to continue to pray without ceasing for the peace and unity of the nation, particularly in the wake of the pervading insecurity being witnessed across the nation and also pray that God would empower the leaders with the spirit of justice, fairness and love so that Nigeria can attain the heights that God has truly destined for her.