Worried by the activities of Islamic fundamentalist groups, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria has called for more vigilance by the federal government to check the rising wave of terrorism.
"Being more vigilant especially at the borders would help the country checkmate any foreign sponsors of terrorist activities in Nigeria," the Catholic Bishops said in a communique issued on 14 September at the end of their conference in Umahia in eastern Nigeria.
The Nigerian government has been battling the radical Islamic group popularly known as Boko Haram, which has been responsible for various terrorist attacks in the northern parts of the country in which hundreds of persons, especially Christians, have been killed and many churches destroyed.
The bishops' call comes on the heels of spirited efforts by the federal government to prevent the spread of anti-U.S. protests by Muslims over a film said to have insulted the Prophet Muhammad.
Noting that many Nigerians were living in fear due to the terrorist attacks, the communique called on security agencies and the government to "wake up to their duties to protect and defend the life and dignity of everybody in the country." It was signed by the President and Secretary of the conference, bishops Ignatius Kiagama and Alfred Martins.
"The patient response by Christians in the face of sustained attacks on Christians and churches is not borne out of cowardice but due to universal Christ-like love, religious maturity and genuine patriotism," the bishops stated in the communique titled "Promoting authentic development in Nigeria."