Cardinal Anthony Okogie, emeritus Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, has lamented the country’s insecurity, saying it is turning into a killing field.
Okogie, speaking at his 85th birthday celebration and 50th Episcopal ordination anniversary on Wednesday in Lagos, also stated that the country was on the verge of becoming a failed state.
He said, “The words of Psalm 85 form the prayer of a patriot for his afflicted country, a fervent prayer for revival and restoration. It recognises that national restoration is entirely man-made, but given by God. Indeed, what other prayer, but for mercy and restoration is appropriate for our beloved country, Nigeria in this trying time of all forms of depressing occurrences?
“It seems that Nigeria has become a killing field, as insecurity and terror reign from one end to the other, and there seems to be no end in sight at present. A few weeks ago, on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of this administration, given the severity of the status quo of our socio-economic and political situation, it was shocking that the government claimed that the Nigerian people never had it so good.
“It is evident that Nigeria has practically become a failed state; a country fails when it is no longer able to protect its citizens from harm and secure their welfare. A country fails when instead of reassuring its citizens by actions and policies that the future is secured, it becomes a state most people are planning to flee to other climes where their governments are truly functioning.”
According to Okogie, the country’s problems have gotten worse under President Muhammadu Buhari’s present administration (retd.)
“It is true that our problems did not start under this administration, they seem to have worsened economically and politically in this past six years. Insurgency in the North-East is still ongoing and insecurity has spread nationwide in spite of the military being deployed everywhere.
“The avalanche of banditry and kidnapping that have overwhelmed parts of the North-West and North-Central cannot be described. The entire security apparatus often seems clueless or helpless. The situation in some parts of the South-East also lives more to be desired; innocent citizens are being killed, properties are being destroyed, people are no longer safe in the land. Unknown gunmen has become a favourite vocabulary in our mouths,” he said.
The Catholic Archbishop of the Lagos, Bishop Adewale Martins, lauded Okogie for being an inspiration to the younger generations.
“His Eminence has been very concerned about the situation in our country. He built on the foundation that has been there and has made it more solid during his years of governance and we hope that we can continue to build on that foundation. We thank him for the many ways he has been inspiring, encouraging and advising us,” Martins said.