Catholic bishops in the country, under the aegis of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, visited President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday with a clear message: all is not well with the country.
The bishops told the President that those they looked after as spiritual leaders were being abducted or displaced by members of the Boko Haram sect, therefore turning the congregation into refugees in their own land.
The group’s president, Bishop Ignatius Kaigama, told State House correspondents, after a closed-door meeting with Jonathan in Abuja, that that was their message to the President.
He said, “We feel that things are not right. Territorially, our land is being taken away; the people we look after are displaced, their homes, their villages and towns are captured and they are internally displaced, being refugees in their own land.
“We thought this is not right. We have families that are just stranded. We thought that the President should know. As Catholics, we have laid a good structure for relief and taking care of such situation, we want the government to collaborate with us.”
Kaigama added that the meeting with the President was based on the bishops’ concerns about the situation of security in the nation as well as political developments.
He said the meeting with the President was aimed at reminding him of what he was already aware of.
“We just wanted to remind him of things he already knows, there was nothing we said that was new, we just wanted to lay emphasis and we wanted him to know we are concerned.
“The President is already doing his bit; he has assured us that he is on top of the situation.
“They are reviewing strategies and all that and by the grace of God this terrorism that we are witnessing will soon be a thing of the past. This is the assurance we are coming away with,” he stressed.
Kaigama said they told Jonathan to involve them in the process of registering displaced people based on their knowledge.
He said, “So, we are telling government that we are aware of the wonderful effort they do, the relief they give through NEMA and other agencies, the effectiveness of the distribution is our concern.
“We are here with long years of experience, as a Catholic church we don’t discriminate, in fact 90 per cent of the people we give relief to are not Christians or even Catholics, so we should be brought on board.