The Catholic bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Owerri have called on all citizens to be on full alert in the face of the growing insecurity in Nigeria. The clergy issued the appeal in a statement issued by Archbishop Joseph Ogunwusi of Lagos and Bishop Joseph Nwachukwu of Port Harcourt.
The communiqué, signed by Archbishop Joseph Ogunwusi of Lagos and Bishop Joseph Nwachukwu of Port Harcourt, focused on several national issues, including security, education and the COVID 19 pandemic. They stressed that the presence of marauding herdsmen, kidnappings and other forms of violence in the country was a cause for concern.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, at least 178 people have been killed in the past two months. Most of the attacks were allegedly carried out by armed men from the Fulani ethnic group.
The clergy called people to rise up in prayer to God, watchful and legitimate, and to give God the defence of the right to life, to the homeland and to the land. They called on the governors of Imo and Abia to protect the lives of their citizens and their families.
On the problems of the coronavirus, the bishops have not said anything in recent times that has shocked the world as much as the pandemic. The Bishops said: “In the face of the unprecedented panic, tension and confusion caused by the COVID-19 pandemics and the renewed uncertainty, we have no reason to say thank you – thank God who has kept us alive through his mercy.
On the impact of the pandemic on education, the bishop added that it also had a negative impact on the education system. The bishops confirmed that COVID-19 is real and schools at all levels have been closed for months. They stressed that the government should in turn take responsibility for providing basic services such as running water, electricity, sanitation, health care and education.
The inadequacy of the education system itself has been exposed, and everyone who is at home knows that. Some regions are trying to bridge the gap through online education, but unfortunately, there are a handful of places and schools lacking to do so.
This is a challenge for all actors in the education sector, and the billions of Nair that are regularly embezzled could be used profitably to meet this challenge.