CATHOLIC BISHOPS WANT JONATHAN TO SCRAP OFFICE OF THE FIRST LADY

The Catholic Church has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to scrap the office of first lady in the three tiers of government, saying the office was a conduit through which public funds were illegally wasted.

This was contained in a communiqué by the Catholic bishops of Ibadan Archdiocese and Ekiti, Ilorin, Ondo, Osun and Oyo dioceses.

The communiqué obtained by our correspondent on Wednesday, was signed by the Archbishop of Ibadan Diocese, Most Rev. Alaba Job, and the Bishop of Osogbo Diocese, Most Rev. Leke Abegunrin.

It said, “We implore President Jonathan to restore some credibility to the (anti-corruption) campaign by taking decisive measures to reduce corruption in the country.

“He will do well to scrap the unconstitutional “first lady office” through which money is wastefully and illegally allocated right from national to local government and ward levels.”

Jonathan’s wife, Patience, together with several wives of state governors and council chairmen utilise public funds in the running of their offices which are not recognised by the country’s constitution.

The clerics decried the deplorable state of public infrastructure across the country, hinting that several lives had been lost to bad roads, epileptic power supply and ill-equipped hospitals.

Buttressing the position of the clerics, a lawyer, Mr. Lanre Akintunde, said the disbursement of public funds for the running of the offices of first ladies showed a failure of the Nigerian state and an utter disdain for the constitution.

“It is absurd that elected public officers, right from the President to the least elected public officer, are always denigrating the Nigerian nation and her people through shocking disregard for the country’s laws,” Akintunde said.

The clerics urged Jonathan to review the huge remunerations accruable to public officers across the country, stressing that the situation was capable of aggravating violent crimes, fraud and insecurity.

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