By Arnold Neliba
ABUJA, OCTOBER 2, 2020 (CISA)-The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria joined the country in marking 60 years of independence on October 1 with an appeal to Nigerians to save the nation from total collapse.
“We as a nation should be rejoicing on this occasion of the diamond jubilee of Nigeria’s independence. But how can we celebrate when many of our people cannot afford to eat? How can we celebrate when we watch daily, the killings of Nigerians by the insurgents? How can we celebrate when Boko Haram is still holding some of the Chibok girls, and Leah Sharibu is still being held captive for over three years because she refuses to denounce Christ? How can we celebrate when Covid-19 has crippled an already poor Nigerian economy?” the bishops posec in an October 1 statement.
The statement titled, “Urgent call to save Nigeria at 60 from total collapse,” was released by Archbishop Augustine Akubeze, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN).
“On behalf of the members of the CBCN … I thank everyone who complied to our request for prayers for Nigeria, especially the solidarity prayer after the Angelus for an end to the barbaric killings of Christians in the Northern part of Nigeria. I thank you all in a very special way for prayers offered for Southern Kaduna which has had too many unfortunate cases of killings of innocent people. Prayer remains our most potent weapon as Christians,” he said encouraging Nigerians to continue praying for the country which he says is “still very much in great distress after 60 years of independence.”
Nigeria has been struggling with economic related challenges due to high levels of corruption, resurgent Boko Haram, armed Fulani Herdsmen and criminal gangs kidnapping citizens for ransom which have affected lives of its citizens.
The bishops urged Nigerians not to lose hope encouraging them to trust in God and initiate change from an individual level and saying “those who put their trust in God are never disappointed.”
“Let your faith influence the values you promote. If all the more than 22 million Catholics in Nigeria decide to allow themselves to be moved by their faith-based conviction, Nigeria will be transformed. If all the Christians and Muslims in Nigeria truly follow the dictates of their religions, we will have a Nigeria that will be the envy of other nations,” said Archbishop Akubeze.
“The fact that we keep hearing of Nigerians who are doing well in academics, sports, and other areas, once they leave Nigeria, tells us that God has wired in the DNA of Nigerians the potential and capacity to be successful,” he added.
President Muhammadu Buhari in his Thursday address to the nation on Independence Day anniversary appealed for national healing saying “this anniversary presents a genuine opportunity to eliminate old and outworn perceptions that are always put to test in the lie they always are.”