Catholic Bishops of Nigeria
…condemn trend of destruction, vandalism, violence by hoodlums
…charge government to stabilize the nation
By Luminous Jannamike
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, on Sunday called for a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding last week’s shooting of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki tollgate, Lagos.
The Bishops, in a statement jointly signed by the CBCN President and Secretary, Archbishop Augustine Akubeze and Bishop Camillus Umoh respectively, said the probe would be with a view to bringing those who are culpable to account, without any long delay.
Recall that on Tuesday, October 20, some #EndSARS protesters were gunned down by armed men in military uniform, widely alleged to be members of the security forces.
The statement reads, “We condemn in the strongest words, the belittling, by these armed men, of the rights of citizens to peaceful assembly.
“With very heavy hearts, we respect the memory of those Nigerian youths who fell victim of this shameful tragedy that has drawn the attention of the entire international community.
“The conduct of these men in uniform was inhuman, dishonourable and detestable to say the least. All life remains sacrosanct.
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“It is our hope that the government will do all in its power to investigate these killings with a view to bringing those who are culpable to account, without any long delay.”
The Catholic Prelates noted with condemnation the acts of destruction, vandalism and violence being perpetrated in various parts of the country by hoodlums following the Lekki shooting.
“We entreat and call on those who engage in these violent criminal acts to stop them forthwith, and tow the path of peace, in order not to mar the noble cause being fought for by the youths, and for which some of them have already paid the supreme price,” they explained.
Therefore, the Bishops called on the government to take full responsibility for stabilizing the country and restoring hope and confidence in its ability to lead the nation away from this disaster.
“We encourage the government to seek the best form of dialogue, so as to present to the nation, short, medium and long term solutions to this crisis.
“Positive and progressive minds in the country, including members of the political parties not in government, the wider civil society, including the religious and traditional institutions and the youths themselves, should be engaged in a round table discussion, so that a way forward can be effectively charted.
“This matter concerns every Nigerian. Government should mobilize all of us towards a successful outcome,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, they expressed hope in the future of the people to live together in a united, just and peaceful country.
“However, to do this, our leaders must learn that Nigerians deserve and demand respect for their lives, dignity and rights.
“May God grant eternal rest to the slain youths, and comfort their parents, relatives and friends. Long live our fatherland and God bless our country,” the stressed.