The Metropolitan Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan and the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) have called on Nigerians to fully support President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption and anti-insurgency wars, saying the president may not succeed without support of the citizens.
Speaking in Abuja on Sunday at the Opening Mass and First 2016 plenary of the CBCN themed: “Catholic Church: Promoting Mercy, Social Justice and Peace”, Onaiyekan expressed confidence that President Buhari is on the right track and called for other parallel strategies saying force and security actions alone cannot win the ‘two wars’ and other challenges facing the nation.
“We have before us two major challenges: corruption and insecurity, against both of which our government has declared a war that must be embraced by all of us. It is now generally agreed that this is a war that government alone cannot win. We must therefore do all we can to mobilise everybody. Recent revelations and allegations are pointing to the fact that our two challenges have a common moral source.
“Our inability to deal adequately with terrorist insurgency has been closely linked with massive criminal corruption in the system. Nigerians have every reason to be angry with the system. But anger is not enough. We must seek positive and effective ways forward, which takes on board our common spiritual and religious values”, Onaiyekan said.
Speaking on new strategies to be adopted for the anti-insurgency war, the Cardinal said since there is a limit to how far military actions can go, there must be new approaches to get to the root of the problem.
He said: “In general, Boko Haram members are not foreigners. They are our kith and kin. Does it not make more sense to win them back to our communities than to aim at killing them all off? Billions of naira are being spent on arms. How much are we spending to bring people together?”
In his remarks, the President of the CBCN, Most Rev Ignatius Kaigama, lamented that narrow political interests prevented many of the nations’ leaders from making long term investments and that sentiments of region; religion and tribe have held the nation down, thereby, affecting merit in the scheme of things.