Govt-University Unions “unending negotiations” Factor in Nigeria’s Insecurity: Lay Leaders

Credit: Courtesy Photo

The fact that the “unending negotiations” between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) that resulted in the closure of tertiary institutions is behind the increasing insecurity in the West African country “cannot be ruled out”, Catholic lay leaders have said. 

Tertiary institutions in Nigeria have been closed since February when members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) went on strike

In a statement published Tuesday, June 21, officials of the Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria (CLCN) say, “The unending negotiations between the unions of tertiary institutions and the Federal Government which has led to the continued closure of tertiary institutions in the country cannot be ruled out as a contributory factor to the rising wave of insecurity in the country.”

“The Council aligns with other well-meaning individuals in the call for a quick and permanent resolution of the seeming unending impasse,” CLCN officials say in the statement signed by the entity’s President and Secretary General, Sir Henry Yunkwap and Dame Chisara Egwim-Chima, respectively. 

The representatives of the Catholic Laity in Nigeria decry the “rising spate of wanton killings, kidnapping, banditry, terrorism, idolatry ravaging the nation.”


They say Nigeria’s insecurity “should be a major source of utmost concern to all people of goodwill, both the government and the governed.” 

In their June 21 statement, CLCN officials recall the Pentecost Sunday attack on St. Francis Xavier Owo Catholic Parish of Ondo Diocese, which led to the loss of 22 lives, expressing their condemnation.

“We rightly condemn the brutal massacre of worshippers of St Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State. We empathize with the immediate bereaved families and the Diocese of Ondo over the ignoble act, and pray for the quick recovery of the wounded,” they say. 

The Catholic lay leaders in Nigeria urge Dioceses and Parishes in Africa’s most populous nation to “beef up internal security arrangements to protect the church from further attacks, while looking forward to the perpetrators of the heinous act being apprehended and brought to book accordingly.”

They further call on the Nigerian government to protect lives and citizens in the country by strengthening the existing security platforms.

More in Africa

In the face of the increasing insecurity, CLCN leaders call on members of the Clergy and the Laity in Nigeria to “live Christ-like life by being exemplary and courageous even in the face of violence, terrorism and insecurity.” 

“The Church is the conscience of the society and must live up to this role by striving to bring about positive changes in the larger society,” they say.

In the one-page statement, the representatives of the Catholic Laity in Nigeria urge Catholics in Nigeria to actively participate in politics, while remaining faithful to the teaching of the Church, the scriptures, and “sacred traditions”.

They say, “Given the undoubtable uneasiness and turbulence manifestly prevalent in our society today, (the) Council admonishes all Catholic Faithful to continue to uphold the scriptural injunctions and instructions of the magisterium as well as the sacred traditions of the church as handed on by the fathers of the church.”

“We passionately urge all parishes to conscientize the people via sundry awareness programs. All eligible individuals should obtain their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) and exercise their franchise in the forthcoming elections,” they say, and add, “The Catholic Social Forum (CSF) should be up and doing in this direction.”


CLCN officials continue, “As the election year approaches, the church is challenged to produce a template for good governance which should serve as a roadmap for the people in government.”

“Furthermore, we must build a robust coalition, synergy and establish a formidable network with other relevant organizations,” the representatives of the Catholic Laity in Nigeria say in their June 21 statement.

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.