Nigeria “is in trouble, no one appears to be safe”: Catholic Bishops of Owerri Province

Members of the Owerri Ecclesiastical Province (OWEP) in Nigeria. Credit: Archdiocese of Owerri/Facebook

The Catholic Bishops of Nigeria’s Owerri Ecclesiastical Province in the territory of Imo State are concerned with persistent insecurity in their Episcopal Sees, and have said that with violent entities “on the rampage”, the West African nation “is in trouble” and that “no one appears to be safe”.

In a Wednesday, August 10 statement, members of the Owerri Ecclesiastical Province (OWEP) who include Local Ordinaries of Owerri Archdiocese, and the Dioceses of Aba, Ahiara, Okigwe, Umuahia, and Orlu say, “Great misery and pessimism have enveloped our country Nigeria.”

“Our society is in trouble. No one appears to be safe; not even those in power. Violent groups are on the rampage – bandits, kidnappers, assassins, trigger-happy security forces, illegal security entities and paramilitary groups. Innocent lives are being lost,” OWEP members say in their statement titled, “Averting the Gathering Storm”.

The Catholic Bishops in the Nigerian Metropolitan See express their concern about the fact of “great fear and anxiety in our states, along with socio-economic dislocations”.

“We cannot continue in this path,” they say in their collective statement signed by Archbishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji of Owerri Archdiocese, and add, “Our society has bled so much.”


“No doubt we know that there are those who are driven to violence by understandable grievances. Yet violence can never be a solution to our current socio-political problems. We cannot destroy ourselves in the name of saving ourselves,” OWEP members say.

In their August 10 statement issued at the end of their August 9-10 meeting, the Catholic Bishops in the six Nigerian Episcopal Sees “reiterate that the reason for the government is to protect lives and property of the citizens.”

“There have been repeated reports from many places of exaggerated use of force by government security agencies, and at times summary execution of alleged offenders,” they lament.

They add, “Our people are becoming more indigent day by day, with growing unemployment, underemployment and inflation, which have made basic commodities unreachable to many families. This is a great shame to such a naturally endowed country like Nigeria.”

“We appeal to all those behind this cycle of violence to stop. Our society should be governed by the rule of law, and not by jungle justice. Offenders should be prosecuted in the Courts to ensure justice to all,” OWEP members say.

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They continue, “We must also insist that there is no substitute to good governance for security at all levels. Therefore, the government should provide our young people an environment for positive human development and material well-being.”

“All these problems are man-made. We have often in the past decried the rampant corruption, greed and selfishness that are ravaging our society, which have sentenced many of our people to wanton suffering and early death,” the Catholic Church leaders say.

They add, “We must, once more, renew our call to those in charge of our commonwealth, to all privileged people of our society – whether in trade, industry, or government – to be more compassionate and considerate to our poor suffering masses.”

OWP members call on all “to rediscover our traditional communal and philanthropic spirit, to help alleviate the pains of our suffering brothers and sisters.”

They urge all to pray earnestly for “our states and country”, committing the situation of the West African nation “to God’s providential care”.


The Catholic Church leaders appeal to all to “remain vigilant as we recall the Lord’s admonition to us: Watch and Pray! (Mark 13:33).”

“May Mary the Patroness of our nation and province and the mother of the afflicted, continue to intercede for us. Amen,” the Local Ordinaries of Owerri Archdiocese, and the Dioceses of Aba, Ahiara, Okigwe, Umuahia, and Orlu implore in their August 10 collective statement.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.