LAGOS, Nigeria (CNS) — Nigeria’s Catholic bishops called on the government to become less dependent on crude oil as the driver of the country’s economy and to strengthen investments in grass-roots businesses to reduce glaring financial inequality.
Such investments would end up strengthening local enterprises, allowing more people to access the basic necessities of life, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria said Feb. 19 at the end of its weeklong meeting in Abuja.
“The poor who have equal rights to benefit from the wealth of the country have continued to experience lack of basic human needs,” the bishops said in calling for policies that support small- and medium-size businesses.
Nigeria’s economy has weakened because of reduced revenues as world oil prices have tumbled over the past two years. The sliding value of the Nigerian naira, the country’s currency, has decreased the buying power of average Nigerians.
The bishops also called on public officials to ensure that resources meant for national development and the common good of all Nigerians are used accordingly.
They expressed concern that cultural conflicts and rising crime are hurting the country.
“We all have a responsibility to ensure that no member of the society suffers violence, marginalization and deprivation,” the bishops said.
“We call on individuals, communities and groups to be more vigilant and be proactively involved in ending these crises.”
At the same time, the bishops commended the government’s renewed push against the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeastern part of the country. Bombings and violent attacks by the insurgents since 2009 have claimed thousands of lives and have caused people to relocate to treacherous camps.
“We encourage the government and security agencies to do all they can to defeat insurgents and prevent further loss of lives,” the bishops said in calling on the government to seek alternative strategies to overcome the insurgents.
The government also must take steps to help victims of the insurgency to rebuild their properties and to engage local leaders and religious communities in its campaign to quash the rebels.
In addition, the bishops lauded the government for fighting corruption. Their statement said the government must take every step necessary to investigate past illegal activity, transparently prosecute those found to have committed wrong and hold the guilty accountable in accordance with Nigerian laws.
Nigeria needed reconciliation, mercy and peace to end tribal, regional and religious sentiments that had held its citizens in bondage for decades, the bishops said.
“We urge Nigerians to work in solidarity to correct the imbalances in resource and power-sharing,” the bishops added. “Proper social security and good governance will engender functional education, employment, health care, social justice and development, and thus curb corruption, violence and poverty.”
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103