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Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, has admonished security agencies against injustice and bad leadership, calling on them to learn lessons from the 1966 coup and the Civil War.

John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese

Onaiyekan gave the warning at an Interdenominational Church Service to mark the 2019 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration at the National Christian Centre in Abuja, Vanguard reports.

He advised security agencies to remain neutral in the coming elections, noting that the blood of every Nigerian is precious and should not be wasted.

Cardinal Onaiyekan said, “Today, we cannot forget that so many have died in our series of self-inflicted killings, in the shameful chain of coups and counter coups. This seems to be the case of the untenable moral lie that might is right. In the logic of these often gory events, those who succeed rule, and grab the highest national honors.

“I do not know why January 15 has been chosen as the Armed Forces Remembrance Day. But to many people like me, it brings strong memories of that critical day, January 15, 1966. We must learn lessons from that historic event, which marked the beginning of military rule in our country. We are still to fully assess, judge and comprehend its deep meaning and consequences for our nation.

“It started a chain of dramatic events, including the three years civil war which wasted the lives of millions of Nigerians, combatants and non-combatants, men, women and children. January 15 should remind us of many pertinent lessons for our present and for our future. Perhaps, the greatest of these lessons is that morally, the end does not justify a wrong means. A good end must be pursued by a good means,” he said.

The cleric explained that the country cannot undertake national revolution by murdering unarmed persons in their sleep, adding that Nigeria cannot successfully prosecute a ‘war against indiscipline’ by locking up innocent people.

Onaiyekan noted that, “For the same reason, we cannot hope to win the ‘war against corruption’ by ignoring or by-passing basic human rights to the rule of law. Furthermore, we must imbibe the lessons of the instability of injustice, the futility of violence, and the imperative of personal conversion and social moral revolution.”

He called on the Federal Government to take serious the causes of soldiers’ death especially in the North East, so that their patriotism does not go in vain, emphasising that, “The blood of every Nigerian is precious and must not be carelessly wasted.”

The Catholic leader urged the Government to look into the Armed Force remuneration so as to improve their performance in service, explaining that timely payment of full pensions of retired security personnel will go a long way to improve the system.

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