Catholic Church Calls for Restructuring of Nigeria, Says Killings Too Much

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The leader of the Catholic Church in Nigeria, Most Rev. Adewale Martins, has told President Muhammadu Buhari to address issues of insecurity, true federalism, provision of basic amenities and infrastructure. The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos stated this while fielding questions from journalists after a Mass to mark the 2019 World Communications Day. Martins said: “I believe that it is on the lips of everyone in this country that insecurity and the spate of insecurity is a major issue that must be addressed. It must be addressed because the killings are getting too many, the kidnappings and nobody accounting for them are getting too many.

“And indeed, it is becoming so bad that people are beginning to think of how they will defend themselves or protect themselves. If our government does not address this issue of insecurity, it can lead to destabilization of this country because by the time different people begin to want to protect themselves, and take their own lives into their hands, we are going to run into a situation of anarchy.”

He added: “Whatever it is they may have been doing before, it certainly is not enough. And more needs to be done, even if it means changing of personnel, if it means re-engineering the structure of the security, it should be done. “Such is what may give danger to the corporate existence of our nation at this point in time.’’

According to Martins, the second area which is important for President Buhari to address is the agitation for true federalism in Nigeria, pointing out that true federalism is a potential for growth. “A time there was, when the federal character of the nation was evident in the way governance was carried on. But a time came when the military came in and things just turned around. We have gone back to civilian regimes for many years now and we are still running the same kind of structure in which the federal government has everything within its power range. “I think that it is important to reconsider the structure of our nation. And I was glad when it was reported that the president said it was one of the issues that he was going to address. Everyone is waiting with rapt attention as to how that would be done,” he added.

The Catholic leader pointed out that the All Progressives Congress once set up a committee to look at the issue of restructuring. “They came out with a report that never saw the light of day, at least the people never knew what it is,” Martins said. “That report seems to have died just as soon as the president said that that was not the problem of Nigeria.’’

However, the archbishop said he was glad that the president was considering looking into the issue of the structure of the nation. He stated: “It is important, it is to my own understanding and the understanding of many people in this nation that we should reconsider the structure of our country. This is in order that we will be able to reach the goal, the potential that we have.

“It simply cannot work if all authorities, all resources are concentrated at one point and everybody else has to tow in order to access the resources that belong to the entire nation. It doesn’t help democracy. It doesn’t help our total development; so, that is the second thing that government needs to look into.’’

Martins also urged the president to ensure that functional social facilities and systems were available, explaining that the “social facilities that people need, housing, good education, health facilities that are capable of really helping our people live their lives to the full must be available”. Continuing, he noted: “I believe our country needs to spend much more money on that and bring out policies that ameliorate things from the way they are now. I believe that by the time these things are put into top gear, there is more than enough to make this country better.”