“A situation where equal citizens are treated unequally because of ethnic, religious, political and social affiliation does not augur well for peace and peaceful co-existence.”
The 61-year-old archbishop said that priests in the country “live in challenging and even frightening times.”
“We pastoral agents are subjected to all kinds of hardship but never distressed. We see no way out but never despair. We are pursued but never cut off. We are knocked down but still have some life in us,” he commented.
“We carry with us in our body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus too may be visible in our body.”
Addressing clergy, he said: “Be sure of this, the God who called us and entrusted His work to us is with us because He is Emmanuel. And this is his assurance to each of us.”
He called on Nigeria’s security forces to “wake up from their slumbers” and go after “religious fanatics, bandits, kidnappers, terrorists, AK-47-wielding herders and opportunists who are criminals in every sense of the word, killing and maiming innocent Nigerians regardless of religion, ethnicity and political leanings.”
But he also expressed appreciation for security officers who often put their lives on the line to defend Nigeria’s citizens, saying that “without them, the situation would have been worse.”
“There is always room for improvement. Our security agents need to work harder especially in the area of intelligence gathering, sharing, and surveillance,” he said, urging the government to invest in the country’s security personnel.
“Government should of necessity invest more in this area by adequately equipping them and take good care of their essential needs to motivate them,” he said, noting that citizens required better security to take advantage of the country’s infrastructure.
“These infrastructures can only be useful when there is peace and security enabling free and secure movements,” he said.
“The protection of human life and security of property are of paramount importance to the country today more than anything else.”
(Story continues below)
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On May 31, during the Vigil Mass for Fr. Bello, Bishop Kukah faulted the Nigerian government for laxity in ensuring security for citizens, reported ACI Africa.
A version of this story was first published by ACI Africa, CNA’s African news partner, written by Magdalene Kahiu. It has been adapted by CNA.