By: Joy Odor/Kaduna
the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) at its Second Plenary Meeting has invite all Nigerian in the face of the prevailing crisis, tensions and anxiety to put their trust in God, while working hard to build a harmonious and peaceful nation.
The Bishops who stated this in a communiqués issued at the end of the meeting held in Sokoto State on 6th-to-14th of September 2018, ready by the Bishop of Nsukka, Bishop Geoffrey Onah observe with deep sadness how unarmed Nigerians are brutally slaughtered, owing to religious and political differences, boundary disputes, and other such reasons.
They equally observe that Government is often slow in responding to these violent occurrences and often allows many of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes to go unpunished, thus creating a culture of impunity.
The CBCN condemn the killings and called on Government to defend the life and property of every Nigerian citizen and strongly appeal that the thousands of internally displaced compatriots be helped to return to their homes and their land restored to them as quickly as possible.
On the good Governance and Religious Freedom in Nigeria, the Bishops was of the opinion that although political parties are the platforms through which people seek political offices, political office holders ought to know that they are to provide services for the entire citizenry, irrespective of political, religious or ethnic affiliations.
According to them, the politicians equally have an inescapable duty of providing good governance and continue to urge Governments at all levels to respect the rights of citizens and groups to practice their religions unhindered.
This, they said, Governments should make it possible for religious groups to acquire land for the building of places of worship, schools, hospitals and social welfare facilities whenever the need arises and at the same time enjoined everyone to avoid acts of religious fanaticism to promote peaceful co-existence and harmony, pointing out that Religion is a matter of conviction, not coercion.
The CBCN however noted that the rule of law connotes equality of all under the law, seeks the protection of fundamental rights of citizens, and guards against abuse of power.
“Accordingly, individuals, groups and Governments shall submit to, obey and be regulated by the laws of the land, and not by any arbitrary action.
“We recognize the role of Governments at all levels in providing policies for national development, in the areas of economy, politics, provision of social amenities, security, etc.
“Nevertheless, we hold that all forms of pursuit of national interest should be guided by the rule of law and respect for human dignity and development.
“We continually encourage the legislatures to enact good laws and abrogate bad ones, so as to ensure order, safety, good conduct and safeguard the Common Good.
“We also enjoin the judiciary not to allow itself to be used as an instrument of subjugation, oppression, discrimination, and injustice” CBCN stressed.