AFRICA/NIGERIA - The Bishops alarm: "A hurricane of violence that threatens to plunge the country into chaos"

Friday, 16 September 2016 politics   violence   sharia   bishops  

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "A hurricane of violence by herdsmen and other agents of death has left in its wake a landscape of blood and destruction" accuse the Bishops of Nigeria in their message "Restoring confidence in Nigeria" published at the end of their plenary assembly.
The document, sent to Agenzia Fides, seems to mark a change in tone of the Episcopal Conference of Nigeria towards President Muhammadu Buhari, who had received the approval of the Bishops for the anti-corruption campaign (see Fides 04/05/2016). While emphasizing that the election of the Muslim Buhari, was "one of the most peaceful elections in our history" and by voting him "Nigerians demonstrated, beyond the pale of religion, region and ethnicity, that indeed wanted to turn a new page in a history replete with broken dreams", the Bishops underline that "sectionalism" of the last presidential appointments, are "difficult to associate with the high moral credentials of the President".
The message stresses that "political violence, corruption, kidnappings, armed robbery, ritual murders and all ills of the past, are still very much present and we seem to be progressively sinking deeper into the mud. Our people are now ravaged by disease and hunger. The result is the rise in the curve of violence both by the state agents and non-state actors among our own people".
The Bishops recall that the State must ensure the safety of all, such as the concept of equality of all citizens before the law, criticizing "the scope of Sharia law in public life at variance with the letter and spirit of the Nigerian Constitution". The Bishops launched an appeal to the people to continue to live according to the values of compassion and solidarity, inviting them not to fall victim to "charlatans" who use religion for their own interests.
The Bishops finally remind the President that "most Nigerians are today disillusioned by the frittering away of the high hopes which they invested in his resolve to turn things around", and can "no longer safely ignore the very strong allegations of a rise in nepotism and sectionalism in federal appointments". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 16/09/2016)