The Nigerian Bishops are showing support for the anti-corruption campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari. In various statements and interviews the efforts of the recently-elected President has been endorsed by different groups of the Catholic bishops. According to the Vatican News Agency – FIDES – different bishops have spoken out in recent days on the matter.
“Corruption has done us very deadly harm as a nation and has messed up the lives of most Nigerians. President Buhari must emphatically win the war against corruption as he is doing with terrorism and this can only happen if we all vow to be individually corruption-free and those who have corruptly enriched themselves in the past, to make comprehensive restitution”, declared Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of Jos and President of the Episcopal Conference of Nigeria, in his opening speech of the 13th Annual General Meeting of the Archdiocese of Jos.
“Every correctly identified living corrupt Nigerian, no matter how high or influential and no matter how long ago he or she practised the art of corruption should be brought to the “altar” of justice and made to suffer for being so insensitive and unmerciful to the aspirations and well-being of Nigerians. This will no doubt be a deterrent to other Nigerians who might be contemplating to corruptly enrich themselves”, the Archbishop said.
In the south-west, the Bishops of the Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province (Oyo State), intervened on the issue at the end of their second plenary Assembly.
“We call on our compatriots to cooperate with the current administration to bring sanity back into our country by showing common determination to reject corruption, nepotism, favouritism and to enthrone in our country a regime of justice and equity, where merits are respected and the rule of law exalted”, the Bishops said in a statement issued after their meeting.
The support of the Bishops comes at a time when many notable civil leaders are telling the President to row back on his efforts to bring to book many politicians, military and others who have enriched themselves at the expense of the masses. Among them are the opposition People’s Democratic Party and the National Peace Committee.
Nigeria is placed 136th on the corruption ranking of 176 countries. 85% of Nigerians think that corruption in their country has increased between 2011 and 2013. Corruption is considered a major cause of poverty that afflicts 40% of 179 million Nigerians. According to Global Financial Integrity, 157 billion dollars were illegally transferred from Nigeria to other countries abroad in the last decade.
President Buhari, who took office on May 29, has made the fight against corruption one of the central points of his campaign and now his presidency.