By Daniel Tyokua
The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, Ignatius Kaigama, has asked the federal government to act fast by providing jobs for the unemployed Nigerians.
He said the rising cases of unemployment had plunged people into extreme hunger, poverty and frustration.
Kaigama gave instances of the gory state of unemployment in the country, drawing an analogy of a family with five graduates, with none having a job.
He decried job recruitment processes in the country that has ‘little room for merit and competence’
The Bishop’s concerns were made public seven days after the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the 19 Northern States and the Federal Capital Territory (Northern CAN) lamented current insecurity crippling the economy.
Northern CAN had, in its statement by its Public Relations officer (PRO), Rev. Jechonia Albert, said, “without mincing words, Northern CAN wish to state that the current state of the Nation has plunged the vast majority of the people into hunger, poverty, frustration and despondency.
“Amid increasing insecurity, bad economy and undemocratic tendencies among the leaders, is there anything really worth celebrating? Certainly none!
“We are particularly concerned about the security situation which appeared to have overwhelmed the government”
However, Kaigama in his homily at St. Kizito’s Parish at Kuje in Abuja, said, “In a society where there is little room for merit and competence, where one’s chance of getting a meaningful job is determined in many cases by where you come from or which faith you belong to, these fears are justified.
“Thousands may go through the rigours of interviews, while others on account of their tribe, religion or political association, get selected even without an interview!
“A young Nigerian girl was very happy because she sat and passed various exams to start work in Britain. She did not have to rely on anyone of influence, but her intelligence.
“I hope we shall get to a day when jobs, promotions, admissions or recruitments will be available purely on merit and not because a Senator or Minister or Governor is one’s godfather or godmother.
“We pray for our confirmandi today, to be solid and shinning witnesses with unshakable trust in God, because they are receiving the Spirit of liberation, not the spirit of fear.
“For us in Nigeria and Africa at large, the spiritual, social, political and economic storms that we face today are many. Our boats may be sinking, but we must hold onto Jesus even when He appears to be sleeping or quiet about our petition or situation. We must cry out like the disciples of Jesus, “We are perishing”.
“Sometimes we ask why those we think we are more intelligent or more efficient than at work seem to do better or get promoted and we are not. Just continue like Job to remain righteous, strong in faith and good in conduct.
“Leave the rest to God. Do not feel that God is absent from your situation or is deaf to your prayers. In Isaiah 49:15 we read that even if a woman forgets the child of her womb, “I will not forget you,” says the Lord.
“When you feel enslaved by fear especially of evil spirits, witches and wizards know that you are “Christopher”, a bearer of Christ. Behave like the man arrested by a desperate bribe-seeking police man and told he had committed an offence by driving alone in his car! The man said he was not alone. That he is carrying God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The policeman responded, “Aha, you have overloaded your car”.
“We fear many things ranging from snakes, kidnappers, bandits to people of our village “sending powers” after us in the city. Some ladies and young men fear not getting married. Many fear remaining jobless after university (I think of the five graduates in one family with no employment).”
He said people always remember God whenever they were gripped by the phobia of snakes, kidnappers, bandits, plane crash, evil spirits, witches and wizards.
According to CAN last week, “Thousands of Nigerians, especially, in rural communities have been rendered homeless by bandits. On a daily basis across the country, communities are being raided, people are being killed or abducted by rampaging bandits and other criminal elements.”
The central association of Christains feared a food crisis in a situation where farmers cannot go to farms though the rains are here for fear of being killed or abducted by bandits.
Northern CAN also expressed concern with the frequent attacks on schools and the abductions of students and pupils by bandits, especially, in states like Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and Niger.
“We fear that these attacks, if not checked, many parents will be discourage parents and children would be force to abstain from school, given the recent cases in Kaduna, Zamfara, Katsina and Niger states, where parents of abducted school children paid hundreds of millions of naira to bandits for the release of their children.
“We fear that if nothing is done to stop the attacks and abductions in schools, many parents may not send their children to school again.
“This will bring about serious set back to the quest by the north to bridge the wide educational gap between it and the southern states of Nigeria.
“We join other Nigerians to once again, call on the federal government for the umpteenth, time to urgently address the security situation once and for all to liberate Nigerians from criminal gangs and their reign of terror.
“We appreciate the efforts by the security agencies despite the challenges they also face in protecting Nigerians.
“Many of them have lost their lives while others were injured in the line of duty, partly as a result of lack of equipment to confront the criminals.
“President Muhammadu Buhari, has repeatedly promised to address the security situation. He reiterated this during his broadcast on Democracy on Day, promising to protect Nigerians.We urged the President to go beyond rhetorics and match his words with action this time around in order to inspire confidence among Nigerians.”
On democracy, the body said, “The larger majority of Nigerians cannot breathe because of certain undemocratic tendencies of our leaders.
“Against this backdrop and the prevailing economic and security challenges, celebrating June 12 as Democracy Day makes no meaning to the Nigerian populace hence not worthy of Celebration.”