President Muhammadu Buhari said on Thursday that his administration would not tolerate any corrupt government.
He said this while addressing the closing session of the Catholics Bishops Conference of Nigeria at a mass at the Holy Cross Church, Gwarimpa, Abuja.
Represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Buhari said that resources meant for millions of Nigerians ended up in the pockets of a few corrupt individuals.
He said he aligned himself with the communiqué of the conference that Nigerians must hold those elected into offices accountable.
“Corruption is a sin against humanity; it is a crime against humanity; we must have no excuses for those who are corrupt.
“We ourselves as a government hold ourselves accountable for everything that we do.”
“We want to embrace a system where anyone who holds public office is held to account for whatever he does in government so that resources of this great nation will satisfy all of us and will be used for the common good.”
He recalled his earlier declaration at the Bishops Conference to ensure that his duty as President would be to ensure that all religions among people of different faith and ethnicity offered their worship in peace and security.
He also recalled his pledge at that event to ensure that everyone, regardless of religious persuasion, enjoyed equal rights and equal protection.
“Today that has been the guiding principles of the President,” he declared, adding that it was in line with the provisions of the constitution.
The President noted the use of religion to spread division and discord during the last elections and thanked God that his administration had lived up to the promises of ensuring that everyone was treated fairly and equally.
Buhari thanked the Bishops for acknowledging the efforts of government against terror but noted that while Boko Haram had been decimated, there were still few incidences of suicide bombings which Nigerians should be vigilant about.
He called for a united front against the menace and other evil which did not recognise religion or ethnicity.
“It is simply evil and that is why all of us as children of God must condemn evil in all its ramifications; we must not use it as an excuse to divide; evil is simply evil and it must be so condemned,” he declared.
He urged Christians to observe the Pope’s declaration of the year of mercy because everyone was a product of the mercy of God.
He said that there was no question at all that social justice was important in the country.
“And today it is so important because our nation has a population of over 100 million extremely poor and vulnerable people who do not have the means to feed themselves,” he said.
He thanked the Bishops for the opportunity he had to be able to speak at the conference and wished the people a great jubilee year of the mercy of God.
The Chairman of the Catholic Bishops Conference and Bishop of Jos Diocese, Dr Ignatious Kaigama, hailed the effort of the government in tackling corruption and terrorism.
He said that God would not allow the devil to have the last laugh.
The Host Bishop of Abuja Archdiocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, assured Buhari that the entire catholic Bishops and the community were behind his administration’s quest to ensure social justice and rule of law.
“We are with you in the fight against corruption and insurgency and we shall win,” he said.
The Cardinal, however, urged the president to assign responsibilities to the religions in the battle as “this is a battle that the government cannot wage alone”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Bishop Alaba Job offered prayers for President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo, asking “God to grant them the will to be good and the ability to carry it out” .
Job also prayed God to grant the leaders direction, guidance and support so that “this nation will be great under your (Presidency) care”.(NAN)