Catholic Bishops Call For Peaceful Co-existence In Nigeria

By Ukamaka Okafor, Abuja

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The Nigerian leaders at all levels have been urged to seek solutions to multidimensional problems facing the country and shun corruption, and ethnic and religious bigotry.

The Archbishop of Abuja, Ignatius Kaigama made the call during the opening Mass for the 2nd Plenary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, at Holy Trinity Church, Maitama, Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Archbishop Kaigama said that as a result of the above-mentioned challenges, victims of violent conflicts as well as people sacked from their homes due to the activities of terrorists, bandits, and kidnappers are on the rise.

He said;  “I call on Nigerians to face the real problems that confront us and stop firing religious missiles, using religion as a weapon of violence, or even taking life at the slightest provocation. Those religious leaders who make inflammatory statements in videos on social media should be cautioned by the appropriate authorities. Our Christian and Islamic bodies rather than engaging in offensive or defensive rhetoric or threats should always preach the need for holiness, peaceful coexistence, compassion, and good neighbourliness, rather than encouraging the use of verbal or physical violence. It was wise that we did not embark on a war in neighbouring Niger. War is worse than HIV, Ebola, Covid-19, and Malaria put together. ECOWAS should realise that the people of this region have seen endless bloodshed. It would be unwise to add to the stories of guns, bombs, and human casualties. We should be able to win peace through dialogue without firing a shot.”

President, CBCN, Archbishop Lucius Ugorji spoke on the conduct of Nigeria’s 2023 General election.

Archbishop Ugorji noted that the election was flawed by threats, intimidation, violence, poor logistics arrangement, lack of transparency, urging Judges in the country to promote justice.

He said; “Confidence of citizens in the 2023 electoral process was eroded by the many pitfalls and irregularities evident before, during and after the elections. Nigerians were disappointed that INEC failed to upload the presidential results in real-time as promised.”

On political unrest in some parts of Africa, the CBCN President appealed to the leadership of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, and the African Union, AU, to resist the temptation of military intervention as a solution to the leadership crisis in some African countries that have recently experienced military coups.

He said; “They should continue to explore the more peaceful option of diplomatic negotiations. Such dialogues may require due attention to the root causes of the rising incidence of military intervention in African countries in recent times. While we denounce coups, we must, however, state loud and clear that political leadership exists to promote the common good. Consequently, political leaders, who are incapable of fostering the welfare of their citizens or who work against their people’s interest and wellbeing, have no moral justification to continue in power, whether elected or not.” he advised.

The Chairperson for the Occasion, Adaora Umeorji noted that the meeting was at a time when the entire world was struggling with global economic and humanitarian crises with the Youths mostly affected by these challenges.

She expressed optimism that the Conference through its Communiqué at the end of the Plenary would be leveraged by Nigeria’s policymakers to promote national unity and cohesion.

Umeorji said; “Unemployment, youth justice, insecurity, social unrest, environment destination in this call falls on collaboration between the citizens, the church, and the government, to reverse this trend.”

 

 

Mercy Chukwudiebere