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“Life has never been so cheap”, Catholic Bishops in Nigeria Decry, Call for Responsibility

Members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN). Credit: Courtesy Photo

The rise in cases of abductions, killings, and property destruction in Nigeria is a cause for concern for Catholic Bishops who, in a collective statement, are calling upon the government to “take full responsibility for the present culture of violence.”

In a communiqué following their nine-day second Plenary Meeting that concludes Friday, August 27, members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) highlight other challenges bedeviling the West African nation, including “injustice, inequity, and unfairness in appointments.”

“Regrettably, except for the civil war, our nation has never witnessed the kind of widespread evil, wanton destruction and murderous bloodletting,” Catholic Bishops say in their communiqué shared with ACI Africa Thursday, August 26.

They note that “deaths in the hands of kidnappers, killer herdsmen, bandits, terrorist groups have made Nigeria one of the most terrorized countries in the world.”

“The abductions of school children present us with the prospects of a traumatized generation of young people,” the Catholic Bishops add.

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Nigeria has been grappling with insecurity since 2009 when the Boko Haram insurgency began targeted attacks with the aim of turning Africa's most populous nation into an Islamic State.

Members of the Islamist group have been organizing random attacks on various targets including civilians, political and religious leaders.

In their communiqué shared with ACI Africa Thursday, CBCN members “strongly advocate total respect for the sanctity of human life.”

While recognizing the efforts being made by relevant authorities to tackle insecurity in the West African nation, the Catholic Church leaders underscore the need for Muhammadu Buhari-led government “to show more strategic commitment and sincerity in this fight and take full responsibility for the present culture of violence and impunity in the country.”

“The Government must be balanced and seen to be so in its response to the challenges of insecurity in every segment of the citizenry,” the Catholic Bishops in Nigeria further say in their communiqué following the August 19-27 second Plenary Assembly held in Nigeria’s Enugu Diocese.

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They further urge State authorities at all levels “to provide the enabling environment that would make it possible for both the Government and the private sector to create job opportunities for our teeming youth population. This would surely reduce the danger of insecurity and unrest in our land.”

CBCN members also call upon all citizens of Africa’s most populous nation to be “law-abiding, vigilant, live by sound moral principles and, above all, obey the commandments of God. We continue to plead with all to shun violence and criminality.”

In their communiqué signed by CBCN President, Archbishop Augustine Akubueze, the Catholic Bishops acknowledge situations that demonstrate national unity and express gratitude to God for this “in spite of sundry agitations and struggles for self-determination.”

“We observe that the agitations and tensions are mainly as a result of bad governance, injustice, inequity, and unfairness in appointments and distribution of resources to parts of the country,” they say, and continue, “We recognize the rights of peoples to self-determination; yet we emphasize that the exercise of such rights must be within the confines of the rule of law.”

They urge the government “to ensure a just and fair trial of the arrested key players in the struggles,” and express caution saying, “To mismanage these cases is to trigger off further avoidable unrest.” 

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“We reiterate that the struggle for the ‘soul’ of Nigeria, that is presently ongoing, will not be won by ethnic cleansing, nepotism, kidnapping and banditry but by love, fairness and equity, common good and patriotism,” the members of CBCN say.

They encourage Nigerians “to toe the path of justice and conciliatory dialogue and see themselves as agents of peace and development in order to ensure a harmonious and united nation.” 

In their communiqué titled, “The Church and Prophetic Witnessing in Nigeria”, CBCN members call for resilience amid current challenges.

The rise in cases of abductions, killings, and property destruction in Nigeria is a cause for concern for Catholic Bishops who, in a collective statement, are calling upon the government to “take full responsibility for the present culture of violence.”

In a communiqué following their nine-day second Plenary Meeting that concludes Friday, August 27, members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) highlight other challenges bedeviling the West African nation, including “injustice, inequity, and unfairness in appointments.”

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“Regrettably, except for the civil war, our nation has never witnessed the kind of widespread evil, wanton destruction and murderous bloodletting,” Catholic Bishops say in their communiqué shared with ACI Africa Thursday, August 26.

They note that “deaths in the hands of kidnappers, killer herdsmen, bandits, terrorist groups have made Nigeria one of the most terrorized countries in the world.”

“The abductions of school children present us with the prospects of a traumatized generation of young people,” the Catholic Bishops add.

Nigeria has been grappling with insecurity since 2009 when the Boko Haram insurgency began targeted attacks with the aim of turning Africa's most populous nation into an Islamic State.

Members of the Islamist group have been organizing random attacks on various targets including civilians, political and religious leaders.

In their communiqué shared with ACI Africa Thursday, CBCN members “strongly advocate total respect for the sanctity of human life.”

While recognizing the efforts being made by relevant authorities to tackle insecurity in the West African nation, the Catholic Church leaders underscore the need for Muhammadu Buhari-led government “to show more strategic commitment and sincerity in this fight and take full responsibility for the present culture of violence and impunity in the country.”

“The Government must be balanced and seen to be so in its response to the challenges of insecurity in every segment of the citizenry,” the Catholic Bishops in Nigeria further say in their communiqué following the August 19-27 second Plenary Assembly held in Nigeria’s Enugu Diocese.

They further urge State authorities at all levels “to provide the enabling environment that would make it possible for both the Government and the private sector to create job opportunities for our teeming youth population. This would surely reduce the danger of insecurity and unrest in our land.”

CBCN members also call upon all citizens of Africa’s most populous nation to be “law-abiding, vigilant, live by sound moral principles and, above all, obey the commandments of God. We continue to plead with all to shun violence and criminality.”

In their communiqué signed by CBCN President, Archbishop Augustine Akubueze, the Catholic Bishops acknowledge situations that demonstrate national unity and express gratitude to God for this “in spite of sundry agitations and struggles for self-determination.”

“We observe that the agitations and tensions are mainly as a result of bad governance, injustice, inequity, and unfairness in appointments and distribution of resources to parts of the country,” they say, and continue, “We recognize the rights of peoples to self-determination; yet we emphasize that the exercise of such rights must be within the confines of the rule of law.”

They urge the government “to ensure a just and fair trial of the arrested key players in the struggles,” and express caution saying, “To mismanage these cases is to trigger off further avoidable unrest.” 

“We reiterate that the struggle for the ‘soul’ of Nigeria, that is presently ongoing, will not be won by ethnic cleansing, nepotism, kidnapping and banditry but by love, fairness and equity, common good and patriotism,” the members of CBCN say.

They encourage Nigerians “to toe the path of justice and conciliatory dialogue and see themselves as agents of peace and development in order to ensure a harmonious and united nation.” 

In their communiqué titled, “The Church and Prophetic Witnessing in Nigeria”, CBCN members call for resilience amid current challenges.

“The present times demand that we listen anew to the Lord’s command to us to be prophetic witnesses,” Catholic Bishops in Nigeria say, making reference to the Acts of the Apostles.

They explain, “A prophet is not merely one who predicts the future, but one who reinterprets the past, explains the will of God for the present, and in this way, shows the right path to the future.”

“As witnesses, we must show clearly and unmistakably that we firmly believe what we are seeking to propose to others; that we are truly living what we believe, courageously preaching what we live and are ready to defend that message, even with our very lives,” the Catholic Church leaders in Nigeria say.

They note that resilience amidst challenges “is however never a call to indolence or mere passivity.”

“As Christians, we are followers of Jesus Christ and should always adopt our Lord’s approach of prayer and concrete action as a strategy for survival,” CBCN members say.

They add, “In this way, we all are called to witness to our faith with conviction wherever we find ourselves: in the Church, at home in the family, in the market places, in the field of politics, and commerce, in public offices and in other areas of life, especially when it is not convenient.”

“As Christians, we are called to constantly hope in God who never fails. We therefore call on Nigerians to hope for a better Nigeria knowing full well that without hope we as a people cannot move forward,” they say.

“May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of all consolation and Queen of Nigeria continue to intercede for our country,” CBCN members implore in their communiqué shared with ACI Africa August 26.