Anthony Cardinal Okogie, the Emeritus Catholic Archbishop of Lagos has expressed concern that the country's political leaders give precedence to their political fortunes over the security and welfare of the people of the country. The Cardinal's condemnation was contained in a statement issued in Lagos, recently.
While condemning in strong terms, kidnapping and other criminal activities taking place in different parts of the country; the Cardinal also berated the uncaring attitude of the Federal Government, Federal and State Legislators of the areas where the spineless killing of innocent citizen were carried out by cattle herdsmen in Benue State
According to the Cardinal: “Nigerian citizens living in states where herdsmen and kidnappers are operating have senators and governors representing them. In the case of Benue State, at the time this is being written, apart from the governor, no word has been heard from any senator or Assembly man or woman from Benue State.” He queried: “Why is it that in a democracy, where every citizen is represented at the local, state and federal level, those who were voted into office to represent the citizens are completely ineffective?
Noting that, it is the responsibility of government to protect the life of every citizen, Cardinal Okogie stressed that “a truly responsible government acts proactively”. He continued: “Treating matters of security with levity does not form part of the job description of a Commander-in Chief. When Nigerian citizens are slaughtered like cows, as we saw recently in Benue State, in a recurrence of herdsmen's butchery, those who lead us must be held accountable.”
Calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to show leadership in this perspective, the Emeritus Archbishop of Lagos emphasized that “a government that fails to protect the citizen cannot convince Nigerians that it is alive to its responsibility”. The cardinal described the present situation in the country as “the unmitigated tragedy of spectacular failure of government
His remarks “Instead of a serious attempt on the part of the government to mend its ways, its spokespersons find a hobby in insulting Nigerians with dissenting voices, while preparations and propaganda for re-election have already begun.” He continued: “it is reprehensible that while Nigerians are disturbed at the butchery in Benue, the President and his party are campaigning for votes in Abia State.” He added: “Politicians who truly rely on the votes of the people to be in office respect the people because they know that the day of reckoning shall surely come.”
Cardinal Okogie reminded President Buhari of his statement when he took the oath of office at his inauguration that: “he belonged to everybody”; wondering how long the people of the country would have to wait for this expression to be concrete and reflective in the administration of the country.
The Cardinal in the statement articulated some of the misfortunes that have been befallen the country of recent stating that “ Nigeria wobbles from one major crisis to another. These included the fuel scarcity problem being experienced in all parts the country since December 2017; the gory incidents of the slaughtering of some Nigerians in Rivers State on New Year's eve; the attack on Christians and vandalization of some churchesin Ilorin Kwara State and the atrocities of “terrorist herdsmen in Adamawa, Taraba, Kaduna, Benue, Plateau, Delta and Enugu States.