The Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Abeokuta, Most Rev. Dr. Peter Olukayode Odetoyinbo has called on those agitating for the disintegration of Nigeria to jettison the idea, rather, they should work for its unity, progress and development under a united entity.
He condemned the issuance of ultimatum to some Nigerians to vacate a section of the country.
Bishop Odetoyinbo, who said these in his 2021 Easter Message to Nigerians noted that “the calls for the disintegration of the country or secession by some nationalists in the name of restructuring must be re-evaluated particularly when it is tainted with hate and resentment”.
He said, “every Nigerian must have a sense of belonging and should be free to live in any part of the country”.
“Such rights should be exercised with respect for the rights of other citizens and the constitutional provisions of the government. A detribalized Nigeria should be our dream where people are not judged by their tribes but by the quality of their person, character and competence”.
Speaking on the challenge of insecurity facing the country, Bishop Odetoyinbo noted that “the menace continues as a regular trademark in our country due to lack of respect for human and family life, as violence is constantly visited on innocent Nigerians by perceived enemies of our nation both local and foreign.
“Dearly beloved, let me also use this occasion to call your attention to the raging evils around us: the evils of kidnapping, banditry, child trafficking, molestations, terrorism and other related vices that have rendered our nation unsafe”.
“These are the evils that the light of Christ should dispel from our hearts, if only we realize the dangers they pose to our unity and common heritage”, Bishop Odetoyinbo said.
“Under whatever guise they may claim, we urge them to embrace the light of Christ and stop the raging destruction of lives and properties”.
“Even when the government seems to be doing a lot to manage the insecurity situation in the country, we hope to see more proactive efforts rather than reactive”.
He added, “we must, as a nation, jettison bigotry against peaceful and law abiding citizens who live in our communities, irrespective of their individual tribes”.
“We must address as a matter of urgency, the rate of poverty in our country if we want peace to reign. By so doing, our people will not become willing agents in the hands of exploiters, oppressors and enemies of our nation”.
Speaking on the activities of the Judicial Panels of Enquiry set up by the various state governments to address police brutality and the purported violation of human rights of Nigerians, the local ordinary of Abeokuta Diocese appealed to government at ensuring that justice is done to the victims
He said, “while we greet with delight the activities of the Judicial Panels of Enquiry set up by the various state governments to address police brutality and the purported violation of human rights of Nigerians occasioned by the EndSARS protest, we like to also recall that during the protest, the government both state and federal made some promises”.
“As we await the full implementation of such promises, we hope that efforts to ensure justice delivery to victims of police brutality will also include a thorough evaluation of the causes and effects in all the cases raised and the delivery of justice beyond monetary compensation, as this will help to address both present and future cases of human rights violation”.
“Just as Jesus Christ brought the message of peace to humanity by His sacrificial love for mankind, we all must be willing to make sacrifices for one another and for the good of our country. We must ensure justice, equity and fairness to every Nigerian irrespective of tribe and status”.