Nigeria Catholic Diocesan Priests Association, NCDPA, has observed that over the years, Kaduna State under the leadership of Governor Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai witnessed nothing other than divisiveness, exclusionism, and blatant disregard for the rule of law.

In a remark at the closing ceremony Mass the Annual General Meeting of the Nigeria Catholic Diocesan Priests Association, the provincial chairman, NCDPA, Kaduna province, Father Williams Abba, said Kaduna State is blessed to have the most brilliant politician as a governor.

He said, “This is a fact very many in the country and outside the country can attest to. Regrettably, the governor, rather than deploying this God-given resource to positive use in uniting the state, what we have witnessed over the years have been nothing other than divisiveness, exclusionism, and blatant disregard for the rule of law.”

Fr. Abba added, “Kaduna State has witnessed avoidable bloodbath. And these crises are not just blamed on the current administration. We have had ethno-religious crisis spanning over 30 years. We all hoped that the current administration will deploy wisdom, tact and compassion to nip in the bud, factors responsible for the needless mayhem. As a governor, he was sworn to protect all, irrespective of religion and ethnicity. His words and body demeanor must always tally. What breeds tension, hatred and conflict in the state is not the content of sermons given in Churches and Mosques or longer hours of fellowship. We agree that some preachers have held opinions that were/are incendiary.

“What breeds violence are deliberate and unjust policies of government that can clearly look at a section of the state and say “to hell with you”. Such behaviour do not augur well for the well being of the state and the overall peace and development of the country.”

He noted that when a nation is governed well, and those who govern do so justly and fairly, the fruits are evident: security and prosperity.

“The unconscionable acts of banditry, kidnapping and other forms of terrorism, stem from poor governance. We have enormous resources, human and natural. We have no business being where we are today as a nation. We have brilliant and patriotic Nigerians that can drive the process of the Nation’s renaissance. And they cut across the divide,” he observed.

Fr. Abba enjoined Governor El-Rufai to engage stakeholders across the state irrespective of tribe and religion with a view to engaging them.

“Such stakeholders are a necessary channel of bridging the gaps. Listen directly to the people. The era of people feeding the governor with the wrong narrative about people from a certain ethnic and religious divide is entirely false and criminal. We all love peace and development. If everyone sees the sincerity and commitment in government policies, no one will agitate. Agitations arise where there is discontent,” he added.

He explained, “Poverty is not just about the shortage of food, water, and a roof over the head. Being poor also means the lack of power and a voice. What we have witnessed in Kaduna State in the last years is a dangerous phenomenon that calls for a rethink. People have been arrested and kept in prison without recourse to the rule of law. If anyone breaks the law, deliberate efforts must be put in place to apply the law while taking cognizance of the fundamental human rights of the accused. The recent example of the Adara elders proves this assertion right.

“We call on the state government and speak to its conscience as a matter of urgency, expedite action in dispensing justice to anyone found in this unfortunate web. Freedom of expression guarantees everyone’s right to speech and right openly without state interference, including the right to criticize the injustices, illegal activities, and incompetence of government without fear.

“We are citizens, not subjects. We have the right to criticize the government without fear. And indeed any government that wants to be popular with its citizens must open its doors and be accommodating of dissenting opinions. As religious men, we do not seek to curry the favour of government; we seek to speak the truth. Future generations will hold us accountable for our deafening silence.”


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