AFRICA/NIGERIA - Bishops' appeal to national unity: "Stop the violent propaganda that risks plunging the Country into war or a very serious crisis"

Tuesday, 22 August 2017 violence   bishops  

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "Enough of this drum beat of war". This is the title of the statement signed by His Exc. Mgr. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos, and His Exc. Mgr. William Amove Avenya, Bishop of Gboko, respectively President and Secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Nigeria, who, on behalf of all the Nigerian Bishops express a strong concern for the state of the Nigerian Federation, which is experiencing strong ethnic, secessionist and social tensions, 50 years after the Biafra war (1967-1970).
With regards to that conflict, the Bishops warn "we should learn from our past experience of the very tragic civil war, with the destruction of a huge number of lives and property and the effects of which can still be seen around until this day", in order to avoid current tensions that could lead to a new national tragedy.
"Without doubt - write the Bishops - the last two years of Nigeria’s national life has seen an upsurge of ethnic and regional agitations which have added to the political, religious, ethnic and social tension already being experienced in the nation". These tensions "portray Nigeria as a troubled nation in which many segments of the population feel excluded or marginalized".
"It is not secret to anyone that the present Nigerian situation does not appear to hold great promise for the young generation", says the statement. "This is caused by the monumental scale of greed and corruption among our elders, elite or political class which continues to anger the youths. Democracy is strengthened when the political class, the elite and elders can negotiate and achieve a consensus that guarantees national cohesion and a sense of belonging for all".
"However, individuals and groups who feel marginalized or oppressed should not take undue advantage of the freedom of expression by making inflammatory statements that could threaten the very unity and survival of the Country", the Bishops warn.
"Enough of this drum beat of war. War is an ill wind that blows no one any good. We must engage in more constructive forms of communication and dialogue within a democratic framework that rejects prejudice, intolerance or the exhibition of a sense of superiority over others", the Bishops conclude. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 22/8/2017)