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DON'T DIALOGUE WITH BOKO HARAM, CATHOLIC BISHOPS TELL JONATHAN

By NBF News
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The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has expressed dismay at the return of crisis in Jos Plateau State and its persistence in Borno and called on President Goodluck Jonathan not to dialogue with the Islamist sects, engaged in killing people.

The bishops, in a communiqué in Abakaliki stressed the need for both federal and state governments to urgently nip the trend in its bud. Just, as the body of Bishops blamed Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for venturing to introduce Islamic Banking in the country at this time of the nation's political problem.

The communiqué, which was issued after a week long conference and signed by Arch Bishop Felix Alaba-Job, president of the conference and Bishop Alfred Martins, secretary of the conference observed that the Islamic banking had continued to strain the nerves of the people and 'not only for the manner it was introduced but the timing, which coincided with the insurgence of terrorist activities across the nation.'

It noted that the issue of non-interest banking, which might be good against the backdrop of mounting poverty amidst so much wealth, got entangled with tensions of religion. The conference called on the Federal Government, Legislature, CBN and other economic stakeholders to engage in proper dialogue to project the issue in the right perspective.

'The dialogue should seek to eliminate all areas of tension, encourage non-interest banking that opens up the economy and devoid of any divisive religious trappings,' while advising that government should identify and deal comprehensively with fundamental issues such as: 'land ownership, pastoralists/farmer relationship, youth restiveness, indigeneship, settler problem and failure to implement previous reports of inquiries.'

It noted that the recently released United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland had once again, graphically exposed the inhuman and systematic degradation of the Niger Delta region. Just as the bishops lent their support to the Nigerian workers' clamour for the implementation of the new minimum wage, stressing that the nation had enough resources to ensure fair wages to its citizens.

A requiem high mass was used to conclude the meeting at the St. Patrick's Catholic Church Kpiripkipri Abakaliki and amongst those at the service were Governor Martin Elechi of Ebonyi State and some government officials