“We call on the federal government to continue to explore the most effective means of dialogue with a view to restoring our country to normalcy”, said the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria in a statement issued at the conclusion of prayer retreat, held after a state of emergency entered in force in the north-eastern regions presided by the Boko Haram.
In the statement issued in Abuja following the initiative, entitled “Rescue Nigeria from Collapse”, the Bishops say that over the past two years they have witnessed “an unprecedented escalation of violence and criminality across the country”. “What started as a mere clash between law enforcement agencies and members of the Islamic sect commonly labeled as Boko Haram, has since spiraled into what can, at best, be described as a low-intensity war especially in some northern states of the country”.
The Bishops also express “hope” that the declaration of the state of emergency in the States of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa “will achieve the desired objectives”, however not rejecting the idea in principle of an amnesty for members or former members of Biko Haram. “Genuine amnesty should mean offering pardon to repentant militants and not appeasing criminals and their sponsors to stay calm”.
The statement however traces a tie between the Boko Haram and problems that for decades condition social and economic development in the country. “It is clear that what our country is witnessing is the cumulative effect and the corrosive impact of corruption. It is evident that unless our political leaders summon the courage to use the relevant institutions of State to confront this monster, it will devour our entire nation”, add the Bishops.