“Quite unreal”: Catholic Priests in Nigeria on Government’s “palliative structure”

Members of the Nigeria Catholic Diocesan Priests' Association (NCDPA). Credit: Nigeria Catholic Network

Members of the Nigeria Catholic Diocesan Priests' Association (NCDPA) have described as “quite unreal” the “palliative structure” that the government of Nigeria has put in place to cushion citizens from the adverse effects of fuel subsidy removal. 

In a statement issued at the end of their 36th Annual General Meeting held in Nigeria’s Lafia Diocese, NCDPA members note, “It is ironical to initiate a supposed wonderful policy that eventually worsens the condition of the people instead of alleviating it.”

“The Government, as a matter of urgency, should work hard to alleviate the sufferings of the poor masses which have been brought about by the fuel subsidy removal,” Catholic Priests in Nigeria say in the statement dated October 27.

They emphasize, “We clearly state that the palliative structure put in place is quite unreal. As such, an economic structure that will address food prices, transportation and other social amenities should rather be implemented.”

“Arriving at the benefits of fuel subsidy removal requires proper prior and ongoing planning that would help to cushion the possible difficulties that would consequently come with it. Where such strategic planning is evidently lacking, fuel subsidy removal becomes a burden which leaves nothing to be desired,” NCPDA members further say.


They invite the people of God to “keep working hard and never allow themselves to despair or resort to criminal activities in the face of the present situation.”

“The Church, more than ever before, should remain faithful to her age-long teaching of Preferential Option for the Poor and make it concrete among the faithful at the National, Provincial, Diocesan and Parish levels,” NCPDA members say.

In their October 27 statement, Catholic Priests in Nigeria also reflect on security challenges in Africa’s most populous nation, and call for “proper security structures”. 

They say, “The Church should stand up to the challenge of insecurity which is presently affecting her pastoral ministry by putting up proper security structures as well as using all legal means available to her in engaging the Government; not excluding prayers, in combating such evil.”

“We condemn the lip-service approach of the Government to freedom of religion in the country, especially in higher institutions of learning and other institutions in the country where citizens are denied their human right of freedom of worship,” NCPDA members say.

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They challenge the government to live up to its “primary duty” of protecting life and property of Nigerians. 

“The Government should not continue to neglect her primary duty of providing for the wellbeing of the people and protecting their lives and property,” NCPDA members say, and add, “The Church on her side should always reflect her Master, Jesus Christ, who, when he saw the crowd, had compassion for them.”

“We commend our dear country Nigeria to the maternal love, care and protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen and Patroness of Nigeria and Mother of Priests. May her powerful intercession always remain with us,” Nigeria’s Catholic Diocesan Priests implore in their October 27 message.

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.