Catholic Bishops of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province have called on President Bola Tinubu to avoid involving Nigerians in the armed conflict in Niger Republic.
This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the two-day meeting of the Catholic Bishops of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province held in Ado-Ekiti and signed by the President, Most Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin and Secretary, Most Rev. John Oyejola.
The Catholic Bishops, comprising Ibadan Archdiocese, Ilorin, Ondo, Oyo, Ekiti and Osogbo Dioceses said Nigeria have more than enough challenges to tackle than involving in any kind of war.
According to them, government must show greater seriousness in tackling the challenges of insecurity and also ensure there is sustainable programmes for food production to alleviate the crisis of food security.
They urged Nigerians to remain hopeful despite the daunting challenges while calling on government at all levels to restore the hope of its citizens.
“Governments that fail to represent the interest of their people in democracy, compromise their legitimacy.
“If the public reaction to Nigeria’s involvement in restoring democracy in Niger is anything to go by, one can say that military intervention in Niger being proposed by the leaders of the Economic Community of West Africa ECOWAS is very unpopular.
“Nigerians favour negotiation and other non-military means and President Bola Tinubu, who is president first and foremost of Nigeria, needs to listen to Nigerians before anyone else.
“We call on the President and the National Assembly therefore to avoid involving Nigeria in armed conflict in Niger as we have more than enough challenges domestically.
“No Nigerian life should be sacrificed for the crisis in Niger or anywhere else because war of any kind is a failure of humanity.
“Government must show greater seriousness in tackling these challenges head on. Recent news of the ambush and killing of 21 Nigerian soldiers by suspected bandits in Kundu, Wushishi local government of Niger State does not inspire confidence that the security agencies are able to confront the prevailing situation.
“The tragic death of Dr. Vwaere Diaso in an elevator crash at General Hospital, Odan, Lagos, a mere two weeks before completing her program is a metaphor for the needless loss of lives occurring often in Nigeria and the lethargy with which such tragedies are treated.
“Nigeria currently is at risk on many fronts. Of these, food security is a major concern. Any country unable to feed its citizens, will be a perpetual victim of manipulation and does not deserve its sovereignty.
“Current threats of scarcity of food and unaffordable cost of living in the country require not only release of resources from the national reserves but an aggressive agricultural campaign aimed at returning Nigerians to the land.
“Government must have sustainable programmes for food production, preservation and processing and provide facilities for Nigerians to engage in it.
“This commitment over some years will unlock the potential capacity of the country to feed its citizens and other countries as well.
“Government at all levels must seriously work to restore the hope of Nigerians through concrete result-oriented policies and programmes.
“We strongly urge Nigerians too never to give up hope even in the face of the most daunting challenges, for hope is not a disposable ingredient but a God-given gift for the sustenance of life and humanity.”