The Catholic bishops of one province in Nigeria have decried the wanton killing of innocent citizens of this country. In a communique released at the end of their annual meeting, the bishops regretted that Nigeria fast becoming a hostile, killing field. Their Communique which was made available to the Director of Communications of RECOWA by one of the bishop media experts of the province Bishop Emmanuel Badejo read in part, Catholic Bishops in Nigeria’s Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province (IEP) are alarmed by the recurrent and “pervasive” security challenges in the West African nation, which they compare to a battlefield characterized with hostility and killing. This message falls in line with the communique of the

In a Tuesday, February 6 communiqué following their two-day meeting, the Catholic Church leaders at the helm of Ibadan Archdiocese and the Dioceses of Ekiti, Ilorin, Ondo, Osogbo, and Oyo say, “All is not well, and positive change is needed.”

“Our dear country Nigeria is fast becoming a hostile, killing field. The ship of the nation is foundering under the weight of pervasive insecurity, economic hardship due to hyperinflation and the collapse of the naira, cybercrime, high cost of food, lackadaisical governance, and widespread corruption,” the Catholic Bishops in IEP say.

Life in Nigeria, they lament, “is fast becoming an ordeal for millions of Nigerians because pervasive poverty, driven by the harsh environment has driven many to desperation and even suicide.”

“It would be nothing short of hypocritical to put all the misery being suffered by Nigerians today down to change in the world economy,” they further say in the statement following their February 5-6 meeting held at the Jubilee Conference Centre in Ibadan Archdiocese.

They continue, “The truth is that often Nigerians are simply left to their own devices and left at the mercy of the most cruel and aggressive criminals by inept and selfish political and civil leaders. In all this, governments often seem weak or altogether absent.

“Any remedy now is even already too late for many Nigerians who have lost their lives to terrorists, hunger, kidnapping, and sundry disasters,” the Catholic Church leaders observe.

They admonish leaders “who talk and behave as if all is well to have a change of heart.”

“There is cause for alarm when corruption runs riot in every sector with scant effort from the government to arrest and prosecute its perpetrators,” the Catholic Bishops in IEP say, adding that “things are not under control when continuously, Nigerians get maimed, kidnapped and killed daily on our roads and even in their homes.”

They emphasize the “need to restructure our security apparatus and remove saboteurs where necessary so that they can collaborate and perform optimally. Disaster is imminent when people die of hunger and … have to steal or scrounge for food to survive.”

“Elected officers are elected not to make excuses about problems but to change things for the better. Away with insensitive aides who furnish the public with lies and innuendos in order (to) mitigate government failure in the face of the recurring disasters,” the Catholic Church leaders say.

They appeal for “urgent action from all our leaders to save the Nigeria ship from sinking. The much-vaunted renewed hope is turning to utter desperation in many places and there is not much time left.”

“Government must upgrade the ongoing governance by palliatives to governance that promotes productivity, accountability and which provides essential infrastructure like power supply and jobs for the populace,” they added.

The Catholic Bishops also decry the increase in “suicide and murders among Nigerians in recent times which demonstrates that the value placed on the sanctity of human life is diminishing. This is a recipe for disaster.”

“We reiterate the sanctity and dignity of human life and we call on relevant authorities and religious organizations to promote the preservation of Christian marriage and family values,” the Catholic Bishops in IEP say. They weigh in on the start of the preparations for the Catholic Church’s 2025 Jubilee Year, which Pope Francis announced on January 21, the second in his Pontificate after the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy in 2015.

In his Angelus address from the window of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace on January 21, the Holy Father said that the Catholic Church’s 2025 Jubilee Year is to be “a year dedicated to rediscovering the great value and absolute need for prayer in one’s personal life, in the life of the Church, and the world.”

“Dear brothers and sisters, the coming months will lead us to the opening of the Holy Door, with which we will begin the jubilee,” Pope Francis said, and added, “I ask you to intensify your prayer to prepare us to live this event of grace well and to experience the power of God’s hope. That is why today we begin a Year of Prayer.”

In their collective statement shared with ACI Africa and made privy to the renowned RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, Catholic Bishops in IEP call for “more intense prayer for Nigeria as the Holy Father Pope Francis has declared a Jubilee of Prayer which has begun.”

“Let us pray for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, queen of peace, and hope that our dear country may reap the fruits of hope in God and experience abiding peace which will usher in a better future for all and sundry. Amen,” the Catholic Church leaders implore.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu