Review Nigerian Constitution, Chapter II Provisions Be “justiciable, enforceable”: Bishops

Members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN)

The 1999 Constitution of Nigeria needs to be reviewed and the provisions of Chapter II re-examined to make them “justiciable and enforceable”, members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) have said. 

In a communiqué at the end of their first Plenary Assembly for 2023, CBCN members say that as currently framed, Chapter II provisions are “not justifiable and cannot be enforced in law courts.”

“As shepherds, we call for a legislative review of Chapter II of the 1999 Constitution, in such a way as to make the provisions justiciable and enforceable,” Catholic Bishops in Nigeria say in their Thursday, February 16 message delivered at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) Resource center in Abuja Archdiocese.

In their communiqué read out by the CBCN President, Archbishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji of Owerri Archdiocese, Catholic Church leaders in the West African nation say that a review of Chapter II of the country’s Constitution “will go a long way to nurture and sustain good governance”.

During their February 11 – 17 Plenary Assembly, CBCN members reflected on the general elections in Nigeria scheduled to take place on February 25.


In their communiqué, the Catholic Bishops say that the general elections provide an opportunity to “reject evil, greater or lesser, and wisely choose good and capable candidates at all levels”.

They urge the electorate in Africa’s most populous nation to turn up in large numbers on the material day and “vote for God-fearing, honest, vibrant, and transparent leaders for a better Nigeria.”

“Participation is at the core of the realization of the common good, which good governance serves. Indeed, citizens’ participation is a key element of a good governance structure,” Catholic Bishops in Nigeria say.

They add, “We, the Bishops, have continued to voice out the need for Nigerians to be more involved and be part of the decisions over what happens in our society.”

CBCN members urge the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to participate in the promotion of good governance by ensuring that the entire electoral process is transparent, honest, and beyond reproach.

More in Africa

To ensure transparency, the Catholic Church leaders underline the need for proper counting and transmission of the results.

“We continue to enjoin the Commission to make sure that the newly adopted technologies for accreditation, transmission, and collation, are transparently and sincerely deployed and not manipulated to give false results,” they say.

They call upon law enforcement agents "to ensure the protection of persons and materials during the elections, to efficiently and professionally carry out their responsibilities without fear, favor, or partiality.”

The Catholic Bishops caution the youths against allowing themselves to be used to cause violence during the electioneering period.

Addressing themselves to political candidates, CBCN members caution against vote buying and selling, saying “this unlawful and sinful practice” frustrates and compromises the free choice of the people.


“We vehemently continue to condemn this practice and urge all politicians and the electorate to avoid this unlawful and sinful practice and embrace the values of human dignity, integrity, and decency in order to have free, fair, and credible elections,” they say.

The Catholic Bishops in Nigeria acknowledge with appreciation the planned involvement of both national and international observers, saying their presence will safeguard the integrity of the electoral process.

They urge the observers to take note of “every trace of bias and partisanship in discharging their duties.”

CBCN members also urge the Nigerian Judiciary officials to be vigilant in executing their duties and shun abuse of power and office in the event of electoral cases. They say that judicial abuse of power erodes confidence in the Judiciary.

“We, therefore, encourage all judges and lawyers to, once again see themselves as ministers in the temple of truth and justice, and work to make the Judiciary the last hope of the common man,” the Catholic Bishops in Nigeria say.

(Story continues below)

In their statement signed by CBCN president, Archbishop Ugorji and Secretary, Bishop Donatus A. Ogun, CBCN members urge the media practitioners and owners not only to seek but to speak the truth with a clear conscience.

They caution the media against sensational journalism, which they say is “presently being promoted, largely through fake news, violence, inflammatory and divisive remarks.”

“We also urge all citizens to be very discerning and circumspect about news being peddled in the social media,” Catholic Bishops in Nigeria say, and add, “We call upon Governments at all levels to ensure free and independent media that will help to achieve good governance and responsible citizenship.”

They say that the fact the elections will happen within the Season of Lent is an opportunity “to repent of our sins, to retreat from our evil ways, and to amend our personal and corporate lives.”

“Prominent in the Season of Lent is the demand for more intense prayer, and fasting not only from food and drink but also from the evils that destroy human and social life,’ CBCN members say.

They implore, “We pray God to bless us with leaders with integrity and nobility while we hope and work for a brighter, more peaceful, and prosperous Nigeria.”

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.