Nigerian Catholic bishops, deploring ”a hurricane of violence by [mainly Muslim Fulani] herdsmen and other agents of death” have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to restore confidence amidst growing public frustration with his government.
President Buhari was elected in Feb. 2015 on a platform of change and reform, but the clerics say “most Nigerians are today disillusioned by the frittering away of the high hopes, which they invested in his resolve to turn things around”.
In a statement, “Restoring Confidence in Nigeria”, published after their plenary assembly, the clerics noted that Buhari’s election was “one of the most peaceful in our history” and that by voting for him “Nigerians demonstrated, beyond the pale of religion, region and ethnicity, that they wanted to turn a new page in a history replete with broken dreams”. But the Bishops underlined that “one-sided appointments into public office have displayed a tendency towards a form of sectionalism”, which is “difficult to associate with the high moral credentials of the President”.
They stressed that “political violence, corruption, kidnappings, armed robbery, ritual murders and all ills of the past are still very much present and we seem to be progressively sinking deeper into the mud”. This has resulted, they said, in “the rise in the curve of violence both by the state agents and non-state actors among our own people”.
The Bishops, saying that the State must ensure the safety of all, criticised “the scope of Sharia law in public life at variance with the letter and spirit of the Nigerian Constitution”.
They also launched an appeal to Nigerians to continue to live according to the values of compassion and solidarity, inviting them not to fall victim to “charlatans” who use religion for their own interests.