Catholic Bishops Worry over Nigeria’s Worsening Poverty, Insecurity

Catholic Bishops Worry over Nigeria’s Worsening Poverty, Insecurity

*Restate opposition to same sex unions

Dike Onwuamaeze

The Catholic Bishops of the Lagos Ecclesiastical Province have expressed concern over the increasing poverty, insecurity, kidnapping and worsening general economic situation of Nigeria.

The bishops expressed their concern in a communiqué that was issued at the end of their first plenary meeting for the year 2024, which reflected on issues affecting the church and the nation.

The meeting of the Lagos ecclesiastical province, which is comprised of Lagos Archdiocese, Ijebu Ode and Abeokuta Dioceses, was held at St. Agnes Catholic Church, Maryland, Lagos.

The communiqué, which was signed by the Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins, as chairman and the Archbishop of Ijebu Ode, Most Rev. Francis Adesina, as secretary, urged the government to demonstrate  commitment to alleviating the suffering of Nigerians.
It said: “We are deeply concerned about the state of our nation as exemplified in the increasing poverty, insecurity, kidnapping, and worsening economic situation.

“We are very saddened that the living conditions of people have become worse now. So we urge government to show greater determination to alleviate the suffering of our people beyond the unsustainable palliatives being touted now.
“We sympathise with all victims of insecurity: The ongoing slaughter of people in their villages that became notorious since the killings on Christmas eve in Plateau State, in southern Kaduna among others; the activities of kidnappers in Federal Capital Territory; the unknown gunmen in South-east and so-called bandits in north etc.

“We pray God to grant eternal rest to the dead, healing to the injured and restoration to the displaced.”
The bishops called on the country’s political leaders and security agencies to improve on their efforts and bring the threats to quality of life in Nigeria to an end.
“People are already tired and dismissive of the assurances that come from government and security agencies after each destruction of life and property,” they said.

The bishops also encouraged Nigerians never to give up on praying for the country and also never to relent in holding their leaders accountable for their actions and inaction in the course of their stewardship.
“That our country is at a crossroads is to say the obvious. In the midst of all these, we must never lose sight of the fact that the true security and prosperity of our country lies in the hands of the Almighty God.

“As the bible says, ‘unless the Lord builds the house, its builder’s labour in vain,’ (Psalm 127:1).
“As we navigate the challenges of the time, we must remember that the solution to our woes begins when we recognise that in various ways, we have sinned against God and our country and we are willing to turn away from our evil ways.
“If my people … humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14),” the bishops said.

The communiqué also reiterated the views of the bishops on the burning issue of same sex unions.
“We express our total agreement with the position of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), and that of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) concerning the blessing of homosexual unions or same-sex couples.

“We affirm that the teaching of the Catholic Church on marriage as the union of a man and a woman in a stable and exclusive relationship, open to bearing children, remains the same.
“We also affirm the Church’s teaching on human sexuality and urge the faithful to be guided by it,” the communiqué said.

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