By Peter Ajayi Dada
LAGOS – Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie criticised oil pipeline vandalism that led to the death of more than two dozen youths, saying if they had had jobs, their deaths might have been avoided.
The Cardinal, retired Archbishop of Lagos, urged the nation’s leaders to save the country from imminent collapse. Young people, fighting over who would get to siphon crude oil from a ruptured pipeline in Arepo, a suburb of Lagos, were roasted in a fire officials believe was triggered by gunshots.
It was not the first time people have been killed vandalising one of Nigeria’s pipelines.
Cardinal Okogie said if federal and state governments were providing jobs for unemployed youths, they would not have resorted to vandalism of the pipelines.
“Our youths are already being led astray because of the high rate of unemployment within the country,” the cardinal said in a statement released to journalists on January 13, the day after the fire.
“They are like sheep without shepherd, and yet they are being told that they are the leaders of tomorrow,” he said. The cardinal wondered how young people can lead well if they are not given good examples to follow.
In a country blessed with human and natural resources, he said, there was no reason the government should not provide its citizens with good roads, affordable housing, constant power supply and gainful employment.
He said lack of leadership was also responsible for an increase in kidnapping, corruption and insecurity, and that the nation’s politicians were busy jostling for power ahead of the 2015 elections.
‘’Nigeria is now in a dire state of disrepute. It appears there is no good government presence at the centre and state levels, and yet they claim that all is well,” the Cardinal said. – CNS