Nigeria’s collapse imminent, Catholic Bishops warn

From Fred Ezeh, Abuja

The Catholic Bishops under the umbrella of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) have raised the alarm over looming collapse of Nigeria.


The Bishops were convinced that things happening lately suggested that the Federal Government has failed to hold Nigeria together, thus paving the way for the rise of non-state actors in self defence and protection.


CBCN President, Archbishop Augustine Akubueze, in a statement released in Abuja, said the very survival of Nigeria is at stake, stressing that the country is falling apart with reference to serious rising insecurity clearly evident in widespread loss of lives and property.


“The clamour for self-defence is fast gaining ground. Many ethnic champions are loudly beating the drums of war, calling not only for greater autonomy but even for outright opting out of a nation in which they have lost all trust and sense of belonging.


“The calls for secession on an ethnic basis from many quarters should not be ignored or taken lightly. Many have given up on the viability and even on the desirability of the Nigeria project as one united country. No wonder many non-state actors are filling the vacuum created by a palpable failure of government.


“The president can no longer delay rising to its obligation to govern the nation; not according to ethnic and religious biases but along the lines of objective and positive principles of fairness, equity and, above all, justice. We need to have the courage to admit that there’s a lot wrong with our nation.


“It’s our patriotic duty to point this out with all objectivity and sincerity. The rule of law has too often been disregarded, giving way to widespread impunity, leading to a progressive break down of good order. There’s a wide consensus that even the laws and rules we have made for ourselves are often the cause of our problems.


“No wonder there is an on-going clamour for constitution review, restructuring, decentralization of the security agencies and calls for many changes to many things we have been taking for granted.”


The Bishops suggested that government seek a common purpose with sincerity of mind.


“As individuals and as groups, we ought to be ready to make the necessary sacrifices that would enable us to manage our differences better and turn them into a positive rather than a negative force. Expectedly, governments at different levels ought to lead the way.”


Meanwhile, the House f Representatives has confirmed the appointment of newly appointed service chiefs. This followed the adoption of the recommendation of the House Special Committee that screened the security chiefs, at the Committee of the Whole.


Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Lucky Irabor; the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru; the , Chief of Naval Staff; Rear Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Isiaka O. Amao were screened by the committee last week.

The chairman, House Committee on Defense, Babajimi Benson, who presented the report of the screening, at the plenary, noted that the new service chiefs were grilled on issues relating to professionalism and other issues and found worthy .


Meanwhile, the House has tasked the service chiefs, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu and other security agencies to intensify efforts towards the rescue of students and staff of Government Science Secondary School.


This followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Unyime Idem under matters of urgent public importance, at yesterday’s plenary.


Idem, in his lead debate, informed the House that gunmen reportedly dressed in military uniforms stormed the school at about 2am, killed one of the students and abducted 27 others, alongside three staff and 12 of their relatives, while several others ran into the bushes for safety.


He recalled “that at least 30 travelers were abducted on Sunday, February 14 by gunmen who ambushed commuters along the TeginaZungeru highway in Rafi Local Government Area ofNiger State.


“It was confirmed by the officials of the drivers’ union in the area who said the victims were travelling in a bus of the Niger State Transport Authority (NSTA) when they ran into an ambush by the bandits.


“The gunmen also killed three members of the local vigilante group which attempted to foil their Operation.


“While the govern