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Catholic bishops fume, Bello ‘late’ apology


The Catholic Bishops of Nigeria (CBCN), on Sunday, became furious over the statement by the governor of Kogi state attacking the organization after its visit to President Buhari.

The Bishops expressed their displeasure with the state of the nation to Buhari at the meeting, citing Bad governance and imbalance in the system.

Bello, on the other hand, after a juma’at service on Friday in Aso rock, spoke to state house correspondents about the bishops, saying that they were angry because sources of free money had been blocked by the government.

Reacting to Bello’s comments, the CBCN President and Archbishop of Jos, Ignatius Kaigama, said millions of Catholic members would deal with Bello.

“I don’t even want to dignify that reckless accusation with an answer. If the president met us, understood us and was courteous to us, why will a governor come up with such generalisation, a very wild generalisation, and rubbished everyone?

Let our people deal with him, and we have millions of our people to tackle the governor. I don’t think any bishop will comment on such statement that has no prudence.”

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Mean while, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has told the governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, to address the rot, which he had allegedly brought upon the state, instead of making unguarded comments.

The association advised Bello to focus on rescuing his state from the grip of kidnappers instead of “trying to be the President’s errand boy.”

The media aide to CAN President, Pastor Bayo Oladeji, said that Bello had the rights to express himself, but insisted that what the bishops told the President was the truth about the situation in the country.

He added that the CAN leadership, had raised similar issues with Buhari during a visit in November last year, adding that what the President told the delegation was what he re-echoed during the Catholic Bishops’ visit.

According to him, “If he (Bello) says some people were looking for free money, he should keep quiet if he has nothing to say.

“Under his watch, people are committing suicide and he has refused to pay workers.

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“If he is the one that would be running to Abuja to defend the President, then something is wrong somewhere.

“Go to his (Bello’s ) state and see what is happening there; Okene is now the headquarters of kidnapping.

“If the welfare of his people is not his concern, he shouldn’t force the President to follow in his steps. If he wants to become the President’s errand boy, he should resign and relocate to Abuja.”

However, the Kogi state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, on Sunday apologised to Catholic Bishops in Nigeria over a statement credited to him in the media stating that he has “tremendous respect for the Catholic Institution”, and would not do anything to disparage any religious organization.

The Governor, who stated this in Lokoja, the state capital through his Director General of Media and Publicity, Kingsley Fanwo, said the reports in the media that he disrespected the Catholic Church and her leaders were not true.

“My statements to the Press were misconstrued and misrepresented but I take full responsibility for this as I tender my unreserved apologies to the Catholic Bishops and by extension my Christian brothers and sisters who are displeased with my statement on tithing”

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“I recognise the enormous contributions of the Catholic Church to entrenching a social order which is devoid of corruption, oppression and in the promotion of socio-economic justice.

Bello said he was confident genuine religious leaders of all faiths are united in the President’s fight against corruption, insisting that no good religion has a place for corruption and corrupt people.

“The Catholic Church has done very well in promoting literacy and healthcare. I am quite familiar with a good number of Catholic Priests and I know their stance on the issue of corruption. Every church and religion must fight corruption because corruption oppresses the poor and destroy justice and fairness”, he said.

As the season of Lent begins, Bello prayed for God’s blessings on all Christians who observe Lent and hopes it will be a period of forgiveness and healing for the people and the country.







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