Catholic Bishops in Nigeria Urge Elected Leaders to Foster “fraternity among all citizens”

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

Catholic Bishops in Nigeria are calling upon elected leaders to go beyond what distinguishes Nigerians and foster “fraternity among all citizens” in the West African nation. 

In a Communiqué issued following their first Plenary Assembly of 2022 Thursday, March 10, members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) say politics is a noble vocation meant for the common good and urge politicians to provide good governance.

“Although political parties are the platforms through which political offices are sought in Nigeria, elected officials should build fraternity among all citizens irrespective of differences in creed, ethnic group, sex, and political opinion,” CBCN members say in the Communiqué shared with ACI Africa. 

The Catholic Bishops say political office holders, some of whom form the government, need to “embrace a better kind of politics by proper application of the principles of equity and subsidiarity for programs of development.”

Making reference to Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter on human fraternity and social friendships, Fratelli Tutti, CBCN members say politicians should aim at “promoting an economy that favors productive diversity for job creation in the interest of respect for human dignity.”


In their Communiqué titled, “Human Fraternity: Path to Building Sustainable Peace in Nigeria”, Catholic Bishops in the West African nation highlight unfair distribution of social amenities and insecurity as some of the challenges that need to be addressed by the government.

They say Nigeria has “no evident fairness in the distribution of social amenities or in making appointments to offices despite the Federal Character principle enshrined in the Constitution.”

“We observe a gross lack of job opportunities, equity, gender balance between male and female, good moral standards, an adequate justice system, transparency and accountability,” Catholic Bishops in Nigeria say.

There is “no functional, stable, qualitative and affordable educational system that should be the bedrock of development,” CBCN members say about Africa’s most populous nation. 

They highlight the ongoing Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike, which has crippled an important section of Nigeria’s education sector as one of the indicators of instability.

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ASUU members have been on a four-week “comprehensive and total” strike since February 14. 

Members of the union are demanding funding for revitalization of public universities, earned academic allowances, and University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS).

In their March 10 Communiqué, Catholic Bishops in Nigeria urge the Muhammadu Buhari-led government to “quickly and permanently” address concerns of the ASUU members “in the interest of human and national growth.” 

They express their disappointment at the violence and insecurity that continues to rise saying, “We are deeply saddened that kidnapping, abductions, armed robbery, assassinations and other incidents of shedding innocent blood have continued often without prompt and adequate response from the Government and the security agencies.”

The Catholic Church leaders call on the government to bring the high levels of insecurity to an end. 


They further ask the State and the Federal governments “to do more, especially by exploring the path of dialogue even with those opposed to its policies.”

“Dialogue and friendship in society is the desirable means between selfish indifference and violent protest,” Catholic Bishops in Nigeria say, citing Fratelli Tutti. 

They encourage Nigerians to use the Lenten Season to renew their relationship with God and with one another saying, “Seek healing and reconciliation in this period as we open ourselves more readily for dialogue to achieve lasting peace.” 

“The message of Lent is straightforward: ‘repent and believe the Good News’.  As we engage in prayer, fasting and almsgiving, may the swords, clubs, guns, bombs and knives used to maim, kill and destroy our brothers and sisters be beaten into ploughshares,” CBCN members say. 

They add, “The Season is a privileged moment for interior examination and conversion as we intensify our prayers to purify ourselves and for our spiritual rebirth. It is a period of internal renewal and service.”

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The Catholic Church leaders challenge Nigerians, especially “our young people to eschew corrupt acquisition of wealth, and violent pursuit of power.” 

In the communique signed by the outgoing CBCN President and Secretary, Archbishop Augustine Obiora and Bishop Camillus Raymond Umoh, respectively, CBCN members laud the government for initiating the Constitution reform process. 

“We urge the legislature and the executive to exercise their relevant roles to give the nation an adequate Constitution that reflects our common aspiration to live in unity, justice, and peace,” they say.

CBCN members also commend the efforts of the National Assembly, the President, and everyone who worked towards the process of enacting the Electoral Act 2022

They say the new electoral law engenders a better democracy in which there would be free, fair and transparent elections if it is “well and sincerely implemented.” 

CBCN members say there is need for “sincerity and vigilance over the accuracy and objective use of the technology” that has been adopted by the new electoral law. 

Making reference to February 2023 general elections, Catholic Bishops in Nigeria call upon all eligible voters to secure their voter’s cards and come out en masse on the day of the polls to vote for leaders who can lead Nigerians to a better life. 

They also urge the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials to register only those who are eligible voters.  

“We also urge the electoral commission and other relevant bodies to organize and promote appropriate voter education,” CBCN members say in their March 10 Communiqué shared with ACI Africa.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.