President Muhammadu Buhari has called on Nigerians to stop protecting and supporting those facing trial for looting the public treasury.
Buhari, represented by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), spoke on Thursday night at the end of a four-day plenary session organised by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria held at Holy Cross Catholic Church, Gwarinpa, Abuja.
He explained that the magnitude of corruption perpetuated by those facing trial remains a serious challenge to managing the nation’s natural resources.
He said, “Our nation has a large number of extremely vulnerable and poor people. At the last count, it was over 100 million extremely poor people that is why we cannot afford governments that are corrupt, because the resources that are meant to satisfy many are consumed by only a few.
“We must hold those who are corrupt accountable; corruption is a crime against humanity, we must not make excuses for those who are corrupt. We as a government hold ourselves accountable for anything that we do.
“We want to put a system where anyone who holds public office is held to account for whatever he does in public office so that resources of this great nation will satisfy all of us and will be used for the common good.”
He added that the current administration was keen to ensure fairness among people of all religions, people of different faiths and people of different ethnicity.
“Today, the President has done away with the way religion and ethnicity being used to promote discord and to advance personal interests,” Osinbajo said.
“The president has lived up to his word, when we look at Boko Haram insurgency, and the suicide bombing. When a bomb goes off in any of the markets, it does not ask whether you are a Christian or Muslim; all of us most condemn evil. Evil is evil.
“This year has been declared as a year of Mercy. We are all beneficiaries of the mercy of God, we would not have been in the positions we find ourselves if not for the mercy of God. All of the great heros we know are mere men, sinners in the hand of a Mercy. ”
In a communique, signed by CBCN President, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, and Secretary, Most Rev. William Avenya, the Bishops tasked the Buhari administration to ensure that all culprits involved in the pilfering of the nation’s treasury are severely held accountable.
“We call on government to use appropriate legal processes to thoroughly investigate the crimes of the past, transparently prosecute accused persons, and hold the guilty accountable in accordance with the laws of the land.
“Nonetheless, legal efforts are not enough. We enjoin all to seek positive and effective way forward through our common spiritual and religious values, namely, prayers and spiritual and moral rebirth as basis repentance, raparation and reconciliation”, they stressed.
The CBCN bemoaned the growing crime rate in the country, saying, “We are worried by the intractable culture of conflicts and criminality in our society.”