The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Most Rev. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama Bishops has attributed the protest march by youths in different parts of the country to the absence of justice and equity and the exploitation of majority of Nigerians by the few people in power. He has therefore called for a genuine national renewal to bring an end to the precarious situation the country has found itself.
In an official statement titled: Youth Protests: A Call to Genuine National Renewal and released in Abuja, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama went down memory lane on how students and other Nigerian citizens savoured the benefits of Independence for only the first six years of the country’s independence; noting that: “Those noble Nigerian political leaders who fought for our independence put the people first, and their interests were subordinated to those of the people.”
The Archbishop regretted that in the present dispensation, especially since after the military intervention in the country’s political arena; “The country started degenerating and sometimes appeared to be on the brink of collapse.” He continued: “Since the civil war, followed by various forms of violence rooted in religious or ethnic sentiments, Nigeria has not remained the same. Over the years, as if by progression, life started becoming miserable. There is no safety on the roads, people everywhere complain of hunger, unable to meet basic needs”.
He continued: Now the youths feeling tired, crushed, desperate, frustrated, demoralized are asking: stop brutality; provide good governance; remove the monster of corruption; make life more bearable and reasonable. They are crying out for a new Nigeria. A new Nigeria is not impossible. The youth protest is like the proverbial gadfly stinging us to wakefulness as religious, traditional and political leaders.”
Archbishop Kaigama pointed out that the youths must realize however that due to prolonged greed and corruption in the country, Nigeria has mostly been infested with the virus of greed and corruption. Those affected, according to him, include some leaders in places of worship, roadside mechanics, traders, office clerks and even the youths themselves. He regretted that the leaders of the country “seem to be always on a borrowing spree, and having borrowed, they don’t use the funds judiciously and fruitfully, thereby seriously jeopardizing/mortgaging the future well-being and all-round prospects of present and future generations.” He added: “Because there is a time for everything, time has come for genuine introspection, critical self-analysis and inner purification.”
Archbishop Kaigama declared: “Nigerians in public office or in private life; on the streets, employed or unemployed; in the classrooms or market, must always think of the good of other Nigerians and the common good that binds us all. The scriptures advise us to do whatever we do with honesty, noble motives and intentions and to do them in the name of God.”
He added: “Whatever good we can do, we should do it now, for we pass through this world only once. We should learn to live simple life styles. Through this, there will be enough to go around and very few will be in dire need. Truth must however be told. Things are not well. Something urgently and effectively must be done by the authorities. Dialogue is the way forward, a national conversation.”
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