Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "Need to punish the real culprits of terrorism and corruption, avoiding innocent victims". This is what the Nigerian Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ibadan say in a statement sent to Agenzia Fides at the end of their first 2016 Plenary Assembly.
The Bishops note there seems to be a general positivity in public opinion that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari means well and is working hard "in the two critical areas of the country's life, namely: insurgency and corruption".
The Bishops congratulate the Nigerian Army and the security forces for their sacrifice and commitment in regaining ground in the fight against Boko Haram, allowing the return of many displaced persons to their homes. After asking the government to remain vigilant to avoid "a return to the worst days of insurgency", the Bishops plead that great care is taken "to avoid punishing innocent people for the crimes of the guilty insurgents".
In terms of fighting corruption, Nigeria must avoid the endorsement of impunity. "The rights and dignity of all accused people must be respected. This stems from the dignity of every human being, created in the image of God, and the need for Nigeria to break with the elements of impunity of the past".
The economic crisis that hit Nigeria because of the collapse of international oil prices is having a negative impact in the public sector. The Bishops launch an appeal for the payment of salaries asking "our leaders to avoid any sign of threat, arrogance or impunity in dealing with sensitive public challenges. Most people are bearing the brunt of the current economic situation with everything they have and the leaders must not add more emotional trauma to their burden". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 26/01/2016)