Insecurity, Nigeria’s “worsening economy” among Challenges Catholic Bishops Want Addressed

Members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) during their 2023 second Plenary Assembly held in Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese. Credit: Abuja Archdiocese.

Members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) have identified “escalating insecurity” and “worsening economy” among challenges the people of God in the West African nation are grappling with, and which they want the government to address.

In their communiqué at the end of their nine-day 2023 second Plenary Assembly that concluded on Friday, September 15, CBCN members also weigh in on leadership challenges in a section of African countries amid military coups.

“Escalating Insecurity in our Country and the sub-region Insecurity has remained a persisting problem in our country as insurgents, herdsmen militia, bandits, and the so-called unknown gunmen have continued to unleash terror in different parts of the country,” Catholic Bishops in Nigeria lament in their collective statement that Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama published on his Facebook page.

They decry cases of “kidnapping for ransom” that they say have persisted. They also lament about criminality, adding, “Some of our communities have been completely taken over by criminals. The result is that many have fled their homes, abandoned their farms, shops, businesses, and other sources of livelihood.”

CBCN members urge both the State and National governments to stand up to their “primary responsibility of safeguarding the lives and property of Nigerians,” and observe, “The blood of the innocent continues to cry out to God for vengeance like Abel’s.”


In their collective statement, the Catholic Church leaders in Africa’s most populous nation express their concern about the “increased suffering” of the citizens, saying that the country’s economy is “failing and worsening”.

Life is hard for an average Nigerian, they say, and add, “Nigerians have been subjected to a life of poverty, hunger, hardship and suffering.”

“The condition has been aggravated by the removal of fuel subsidy which has led to high cost of food items, transportation and meeting up with other essential needs. As if these are not enough, the hike in school fees has made it difficult for the children of the poor to continue their education,” 7 CBCN members explain.

They fault the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led government for adopting “palliative measures as a treatment of the symptom rather than the cure for the disease.”

The Catholic Bishops go on to urge government to “address the fundamental defective structures that deepened inequality and poverty.”

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“We reject the ever-increasing scandalous comfort and remuneration of elected leaders to the detriment of the poor," they say, as a way forward, “demand that the governments cut the increasing cost of running government in our country and that the money saved be used to provide essential amenities and services.”

CBCN members want the government to address the plight of young people in the West African nation, saying, “We call on governments to provide the enabling environment for the creation of more jobs for our teeming unemployed youths.”

“We equally encourage government to put in place measures that will curb the persistence of theft of oil and other minerals. At the same time, we enjoin the government to radically review programmes aimed at alleviating the suffering of the Youths,” they further say.

Turning their attention to young people, the Catholic Church leaders caution them against resorting “to violence and crime as a substitute for hard work.”

In their communiqué following the September 7-15 Plenary Assembly that was held at Chida International Hotel, Utako District in Abuja, CBCN members weigh in on the multiple military coups that various African countries have experienced. 


Since August 2020, Africa has experienced a total of seven military coups, the latest ones being the July 26 one in the West African nation of Niger that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum from power, and the one in the Central African nation of Gabon on August 30, which resulted in the ouster of President Ali Bongo from power.

Against this backdrop, Catholic Bishops in Nigeria call upon the regional body, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the continental one, the African Union (AU), “to continue to embrace dialogue and negotiation as a solution to the crises of leadership in some African countries.”

“We note that good governance and the pursuit of the common good are antidotes to the frustration that leads to conflicts and violence,” they say in their collective statement that CBCN president and Secretary, Archbishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji and, Bishop Donatus A. Ogun, respectively, signed.

On the ongoing preparations for the Synod on Synodality, the Catholic Church leaders make reference to its theme, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission” and urge Nigerians to embrace “the principles of Synodality as a true path to rebuilding our country”.

They explain, “Synodality is a way of life. It means journeying together as a people of God by way of communion, participation and mission. It fosters collaboration, forgiveness and reconciliation. Synodality is facilitated by listening, a deeper form of hearing, shared responsibility and dialogue.”

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In the spirit of Synodality, CBCN members say, “the different ethnic components, political affiliations and religio-cultural diversities should be helped to come together to work for peace, progress and development.”

“In effect, Synodality has the power to break all artificial barriers through cordiality and right relationships,” Catholic Bishops in Nigeria say in their collective statement following their 2023 second Plenary Assembly at Chida International Hotel, Utako District, Abuja.

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