AFRICA/NIGERIA - “Let the President step down if he is unable to defend the nation”

Friday, 27 April 2018 bishops   massacres  

Abuja (Agenzia Fides)- “It is time for the President to choose the path of honour and consider stepping aside to save the nation from complete collapse ”. With these words the Bishops of Nigeria demand the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari in a statement sent also to Fides, issued following the massacre on 24 April in the village of Mbalom (see Fides 25/4/2018), and the assassination of two priests, Rev. Joseph Gor and Rev. don Felix Tyolaha, together with 15 people of the parish.
The Nigerian Bishops in Rome for the ad limina visit, express anguish, grief and anger. “These innocent souls met their untimely death at the hands of a wicked and inhuman gang of rampaging and murderous terrorists who have turned the vast lands of the Middle Belt and other parts of Nigeria into a massive graveyard”.
“On 3 Jan Gor tweeted: “We live in fear the Fulani are back in the area of Mbalom. They refuse to leave. They continue to pasture their flocks. We have no means of defending ourselves” the tweet said. “Their desperate cries for security and help went unheeded by those who should have heard them” say the Bishops referring to the two priests killed: “They could have fled but true to their vocation they remained to continue to serve their people right unto death”.
The Bishops accuse the federal government and its security agencies of being responsible for insecurity. “How can the federal government stand back while its security agencies deliberately turn a blind eye to the cries and wails of helpless unarmed citizens who remain sitting ducks in their homes, farms, highways and now even in the holy places of worship?”.
“For over two years now the Catholic Bishops’ Conference along with many other well-meaning Nigerians has consistently asked the President to rethink the configuration of his security apparatus and strategy” the statement recalls. “Along with millions of Nigerians we have expressed our lack of confidence in the security agencies which the President deliberately placed in the hands of the adherents of only one religion”. On 8 February a delegation of bishops paid a visit to the President during which they raised alarm over the security of the nation (see Fides 9/2/2018). “Since then – the statement underlines- bloodletting and destruction of homes as well as farmlands have increased in intensity and brutality”. “Today we Christians feel violated and betrayed in a nation that we have all continued to serve and pray for”. “If the President cannot keep our country safe then he automatically loses the trust of the citizens” say the Bishops calling on the President to step down. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 27/4/2018)