CAN, Catholic bishops decry worsening hardship in Nigeria
President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop Daniel Okoh, has decried pain faced by Nigerians through harsh economic policies, recklessness of past governments, banditry and kidnappings.
Speaking at the opening of the 2023 Second Plenary Assembly of Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) in Abuja, yesterday, Okoh lamented that prices of basic necessities have skyrocketed beyond the reach of ordinary people, even as there appeared to be no respite.
He said the living condition of average Nigerian families is better imagined, and called on political leaders to govern with empathy and godly fear.
Okoh, who was represented by General Secretary, Apostle Samson Fatokun, also stressed the need to engage government officials for improved solutions to problems facing the nation.
He commiserated with CBCN over recent burning of a Catholic church and killing of a seminarian in Kafanchan Diocese, Kaduna State, describing the incidents as reminder that the country is yet to win its war over insecurity.
CBCN said hasty and ill-planned removal of fuel subsidy, floating of the naira, and galloping inflation, which have affected cost of food items, transportation and other essentials, have worsened hardship in the country.
It said efforts by the government to provide succor, following withdrawal of the subsidy, have not had significant impact on the lives of millions of Nigerians.
The Conference also expressed reservations over a recent ruling by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), warning that the fate of the country hangs in a balance as petitions head towards the Supreme Court.
President of CBCN and Archbishop of Owerri, Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, who spoke on behalf of the Conference at the opening of the Assembly, lamented that people have continued to live in uncertainty as a result of the harsh economy.
He added: “It is no less outrageous that at a time when millions of Nigerians are not sure of their next meal, N40 billion was allocated to members of the National Assembly for luxury cars, including bullet-proof vehicles for the leadership of the National Assembly, and a further N70 billion for furniture and repairs of lawmakers’ offices.
“Insecurity remains a major problem in our country. It is worsening in many communities as bandits, unknown gunmen, Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram militia terrorise the populace. Kidnapping for ransom continues to increase. Some of our communities have been completely taken over by criminals. This state of affairs has been compounded by incessant sit-at-home orders in the southeast, issued by non-state actors. Many have paid the supreme price for failing to adhere to such illegal orders.”
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