. . . As Catholic Bishops Plan Protest March in Abuja
By Chioma Ndife
The Auxiliary Bishop of Awka Catholic Diocese, Most Rev. Jonas Benson Okoye, has urged Nigerians to rise up in their numbers and ground all activities in the nation to signal the request for a more secure country.
Bishop Okoye, who made the call ahead of a planned protest march in Abuja by Catholic bishops in the country on Ash Wednesday, decried what he termed the dreadful security situation in Nigeria, which, he said, had led to incessant killing of innocent citizens and destruction of property.
The bishop said it was time for all concerned Nigerians to unite and rise up in their numbers and record their displeasure over the happenings in the country, noting that such action would awake the leadership of the nation from its deep slumber.
He said the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria had agreed to embark on a march to demonstrate once again their displeasure over the incessant killings going in the nation, especially the killing of the seminarian and the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria.
Bishop Okoye said that the march to be embarked upon by the Catholic bishops would not solve the whole situation but could serve as a catalyst for the adoption of measures to address the situation.
He doubted the seriousness of the Nigerian government to address the situation, blaming it on nepotism and recourse to mediocrity.
The auxiliary bishop disclosed that the time was ripe for the citizens to put all activities in the nation on hold, saying that such would propel the leadership of the country to rise up to their responsibility of defending the life and property of Nigerian Citizens.
'Holding the nation down entails blocking up all major roads to prevent movement of people and ensuring that nothing moves. Such activity could span days, weeks, months, and even years, in order to address the situation permanently and restore sanity in the nation,' Bishop Okoye said, noting that such extreme action could bring about the needed reaction from government, the way it was done in Europe.
The Catholic prelate urged Nigerians to rise up and act, lest their quietness be misconstrued as love for terrorism, bloodshed and violence.
He wondered why it was easy for the president to forgive terrorists that slaughtered the people entrusted under his care but would be fast to declare those expressing their opinions about the events in the country as dangerous elements that should be arrested and detained.
Bishop Okoye said the country would be better if all sections received equal treatment in the allocation of quota on admission, employment, infrastructural development and access to opportunities.