The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to resign following the recent killing of 16 Catholic faithful including two priests in Benue by people suspected to be herdsmen.
In a statement issued by the Conference, the Bishops wondered why the security agencies would deliberately look away when citizens are being attacked and killed.
“How can the Federal Government stand back while its security agencies deliberately turn a blind eye to the cries and wailings of helpless and harmless citizens who remain sitting ducks in their homes, farms, highway and now, even in sacred places of worship?” the CBCN said in a statement signed by Augustine Akubeze, president of the association and Camillus Umoh, the secretary.
The statement titled ‘When will this barbarism end?’ condemned the killing of two priests and 17 worshipers by suspected herders on Tuesday in Benue.
“Today, we Christians feel violated and betrayed in a nation that we all continued to sacrifice and pray for. We collectively feel abandoned and betrayed. We collectively feel abandoned and betrayed,” the clerics lamented.
They advised President Buhari to consider “stepping aside to save the nation from total collapse”.
The bishops accused the federal government of failing in its duty to protect the lives and properties of its citizenry.
“We are sad. We are angry. We feel totally exposed and most vulnerable. Faced with these dark clouds of fear and anxiety, our people are daily being told by some to defend themselves,” the statement read.
“But defend themselves with what? The federal government, whose primary responsibility it is to protect lives, for its part alleges that those who ask the people to defend themselves are inciting them to take the laws into their own hands.
“It is clear to the nation that he has failed in his primary duty of protecting the lives of the Nigerian citizens.
“Whether this failure is due to inability to perform or lack of political will, it is time for him to choose the part of honour and consider stepping aside to save the nation from total collapse.”
The religious leaders accused the president of failing to call the security agencies to order while alleging that there is a conspiracy between both parties.
“We are sad and fear that the clock is ticking. The bomb must be defused quickly before it explodes,” the statement read.
“Since the president, who appointed the heads of the nation’s security agencies, has refused to caution them even in the face of the chaos and barbarity into which our country has been plunged, we are left with no choice but to conclude that they are acting a script that he approves of.
“If the President cannot keep our country safe, then he automatically loses the trust of the citizens.”