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The Catholic Bishops, weekend, called on the Federal Government to drastically reduce hardship Nigerians are presently experiencing, saying there is hunger in the land.

They made the appeal in a communiqué issued at the end of the second Plenary Meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) held in Akure. The communiqué was signed by its President and Secretary, Most Rev. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama and Most Rev. William A. Avenya respectively. On the need for government to tackle the economic meltdown facing the country, the clerics said government should be alive to its responsibility.

The communiqué reads: “We note the efforts of the Nigerian government towards the growth of the nation’s economy. Yet, the economy has gone into a recession. Many people have lost their jobs and those fortunate to retain theirs are not adequately remunerated and some are not paid as and when due. “There is hunger in the land.

Vanguard reports that the Catholic Bishops urged the government to take proactive and practical steps towards reversing the recession.

“As a result partly of the fall in the oil prices, it has become inevitable to, without further delay, diversify the economy, engender fiscal and monetary policies, stimulate and mobilize investments, and engage in a productive rather than a consumerist economy. We advise the Federal Government to consider devolution of powers to create a healthy economic competition in the federating units. We call on Nigerians to moderate their taste for foreign goods, reduce waste and be more prudent in expenditure”.

In the meantime, we expect the government to quickly evolve appropriate palliative measures and empower by job creation the teeming unemployed youth. “Our country is generally passing through an unfortunate phase whereby sanctity and dignity of human life is constantly undermined. “We also call on government to drastically reduce poverty and remove everything that condemns the less privileged to life of avoidable suffering and make them easy victims of human trafficking.

“At the same time, we enjoin the Federal government to address the root causes, and by dialogue and other peaceful means, end the crises in the Niger Delta”, the clerics stated. We also call on government to protect the victims and bring to book the perpetrators. “We observe with dismay the growing inequality and lack of respect for basic rights in our nation. “Cases of discrimination on the bases of religion, ethnic group and political affiliation still abound. This is evident in the recent government appointments and provision of social amenities. “We enjoin governments at all levels to eschew all forms of marginalization and give everybody a sense of belonging.

We equally call on Nigerians to respect one another’s rights including rights to life and religious freedom. “We urge the government to use appropriate democratic machineries to protect citizens’ rights, reject and avoid making policies that would lead to the breach of these rights.”

On need to curb spate of violence in the country, the clergymen said, “It is highly regrettable that our nation has continued to witness many forms of violent activities and cases of violation of human dignity.” “We call on governments at all levels to devise adequate practical measures to tackle all forms of violence and assault on the human person. “We condemn totally the acts of vandalization of oil installations in the Niger Delta and destruction of public property.


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