Insecurity: Govt should embrace dialogue across religious ethnic lines ― Kaigama

•Concerns about coup shows things are not right with leadership •Mbaka: Canon Law 285 forbids catholic priests from partisan politics •Pantami has an explanation to make over past comments on terrorism

The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama has called on the government to embrace dialogue across religious and ethnic lines to find a lasting solution to insecurity.

Archbishop Kaigama said this during an interactive session with religion correspondents in preparation for World Communications Day.

He said “at the moment, insecurity is the greatest challenge facing our country. Boko Haram has menacingly ravaged the land, the herdsmen/farmer menace has festered and spread and has today developed into banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, and brutal killings. As many Nigerians cry out, the Presidency and the Congress in the United.”

He said Nigeria is said to be the third country most impacted by terrorism, and l called on the Government to do the needful in ensuring that terrorists are checkmated, criminals rounded up, bandits dismantled, and kidnappers put out of business.

While fielding questions from journalists on the recent military coup scare in the country, the Archbishop said all Nigerians want is a stable democracy, a democracy that is productive and sensitive to the need of the common man, a democracy that addresses hunger, addresses basic necessities.

“That people are even hinting about military take over maybe is a symptom that something is not right, but I thought it is a vocabulary that would never be mentioned again in the history of Nigeria.

“But if it is being discussed, whether real or imaginary, then it means we need to be attentive, especially those in leadership.

“I am not involved in that and I don’t want to be involved in that, all I want to be involved in is the process of making sure our people live happily in unity and in peace, that our people get the basic necessity of life to be able to live well when they live well, I tell the issue of violence and all these criminal activities will drastically reduce”, he noted.

On the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami who was linked with some statement which he made in the past where he supported terrorists, Kaigama said in as much as the Minister said he has repented from those views, he still has explanations to make to Nigerians.

“He is a minister of the Federal government, I don’t decide what should happen, but I think the Minister has a lot of explanation to do to the Nigerians,” he noted.

He admonished religious leaders to desist from making utterances that could incite their followers because they believe they are untouchable.

“There was a time we were told that some leaders in this country want to convert this country to another religion, these leaders came out and said it is not true, now we hear a minister talking in such manner that is offensive to Nigerians and he is saying it is not true, we give the Minister the benefit of the doubt.”

“But I say it is quite a serious thing that leaders of religion should weigh their utterances, I think we are used to talking recklessly in this country because those who claim they have religious authority believe they have a direct link with God and they can say anything and get away with it,” he said.

Speaking on the recent development involving a Catholic Priest in Enugu, Father Ejike Mbaka, the Archbishop said during Priestly ordination, Catholic Priest takes an oath to be obedient and respect their Bishop and his successors.

“Father Mbaka is a catholic priest under a catholic Bishop, he was ordained a catholic priest and he took an oath during ordination “I promise obedience and respect to you my local ordinary and your successors”, this was the oath he took in front of everyone, which means that the oath is valid till you die,” he explained.

The clergy further noted that Catholic Canon Law 285 forbids Catholic Priests from partisan politics, but they are free to discuss politics but not to participate.

“If he is a catholic priest, he must go by what the Catholic church teaches and stands for. Father Mbaka is a priest and he should realize that catholic priest if forbidden by Canon Law 285 which prohibits any clergy from engaging in anything that is foreign and unbecoming to the Catholic Clerical state.

“That means we are prohibited from embarking on anything that is alien, strange, foreign to our clerical status and what the Catholic church teaches us, as clergy, we are not allowed to dabble into politics, it doesn’t mean we can’t be prophetic in condemning criminality and corruption, we can do that, that is a prophetic mission. Partisan politics is not part of our calling.

“If a clergy embarks on such unbecoming and foreign conduct, the church has a solution and the church knows what to do.

Commenting on economy and corruption, Archbishop Kaigama said there is a strong perception that the nation’s economy is heading for the doldrums and unless the menace of corruption is scotched, it will only be a matter of ‘when’ and not ‘if’ before this is actualized.

“Everywhere, people have the penchant for cutting corners, in order to beat laid down rules and procedures.

“Each Government declares a vicious war against corruption, only for it to end up being swallowed up by the same monster,” he said.

He regretted that till now Nigerians were yet to witness a concerted effort by the government to ensure that public officials accused of greed and grafts are brought to book without delay or debate.

“What is more, the necessary loopholes through which monies are siphoned from the public treasury are yet to be plugged, giving credence to the assertion that there is no credible template created upon which the war on corruption is to be fought,” he added.

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