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Don’t Sacrifice Nigerians For Niger Coup, Bishops Urge Tinubu

Nuye Aaron

Amidst biting economic hardship in Nigeria, Catholic Bishops of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province have called on President Bola Tinubu to avoid involving Nigerians in the armed conflict in Niger Republic.

In a communique issued at the end of a two-day meeting of Catholic Bishops of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province held in Ado-Ekiti and signed by the President and Secretary, Most Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin and Most Rev. John Oyejola, respectively, the Bishops, comprising Ibadan Archdiocese, Ilorin, Ondo, Oyo, Ekiti and Osogbo Dioceses, said Nigeria have more than enough challenges to tackle than getting involved in any avoidable war.

The communique, which was made available to newsman, urged government to show greater seriousness in tackling insecurity in the country, and also ensuring sustainable programmes for food production to alleviate the crisis of food security.

Urging Nigerians to remain hopeful in spite of the challenges, the Bishops called on government at all levels to restore the hope of its citizenry.

“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”, the Bishops lamented.

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