Catholic Bishops of Nigeria said to guarantee sustainable
success in the fight against corruption, Nigerians must transcend ethnic, religious, regional affiliations and sentiments.
The clerics said those genuinely identified to have either stolen or recklessly used the nation’s wealth must be compelled to make comprehensive restitution.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, at the end of their second plenary meeting at Pastoral Centre, Igwuruta, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, between September 10-18, urged all to eschew personal interest, political vendetta, and bitterness in the fight against graft.
The communiqué was signed by the president of the bishops, Most Rev. Ignatius and Most Rev. William Avenya Secretary, and made available to journalists in Ado Ekiti by Most Rev Felix Ajakaye of Ekiti diocese.
The bishops described, as a welcome development, government’s determination to make the fight against corruption and insurgency central to its programme.
“ We affirm that the war against corruption is not just a battle for virtue and righteousness in our land but a fight for the soul and substance of our nation. This is a collective responsibility that requires our collective efforts. All Nigerians should be part of this struggle, which ought to be carried out at all levels, in order that we may recover our wasted opportunities. Those with the mandate to facilitate this process should be guided by a true sense of justice and act in accordance with the rule of law.
They called on government at various levels to initiate genuine
policies that would protect the citizens, create wealth and absorb the teeming unemployed youth.
The bishops lamented that at the moment, the Nigerian economy was in distress with more Nigerians now struggling or
unable to provide basic needs for their families. “We
therefore, appreciate the desire of the government to re-invest in the agricultural sector and to seek other alternatives to oil and gas, which have fared very badly in the recent past.”
The religious leaders urged both the federal and state governments to cut the cost of governance described as ‘expensive’ to douse tension and outcry generated against it.
“There are instances of enormous sums of money paid as allowances to public office holders, in addition to their already high basic salaries, and of legislators passing bills in view of future pension benefits for themselves and members of the executive arm of government. It is regrettable that this is happening in a nation where a large percentage of the population is living in dehumanising poverty, and many workers are not paid the recommended basic salary. There is massive decay of infrastructure and it has put much stress on the citizens and their lives in great danger. This situation is unjustifiable. It also represents a gross injustice against the poor.”

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