CAN, Catholic Bishops Express Concern Over Worsening Hardship in Nigeria

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) President, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, has expressed his concern over the suffering of Nigerians due to harsh economic policies, mismanagement of past governments, and insecurity caused by bandits and kidnappers.

He made this statement at the opening ceremony of the 2023 Second Plenary Assembly of Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) in Abuja, yesterday. He said that the prices of basic goods have soared beyond the affordability of ordinary citizens, and that there seemed to be no relief in sight.

He urged the political leaders to govern with compassion and reverence for God, and to seek better solutions to the nation’s problems through dialogue with stakeholders. He also sympathized with CBCN over the recent arson of a Catholic church and the murder of a seminarian in Kafanchan Diocese, Kaduna State. He said that these incidents showed that the country had not overcome its security challenges.

CBCN also criticized the government’s decisions to remove fuel subsidy, devalue the naira, and allow inflation to rise uncontrollably. It said that these measures have worsened the hardship of Nigerians, and that the government’s efforts to mitigate the effects have not been effective.

The Conference also expressed its dissatisfaction with the verdict of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), and warned that the future of the country was at stake as the cases proceed to the Supreme Court.

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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