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Nigerian Christian leaders paint grim picture of country, urge action on hardship, insecurity

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The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), on Sunday, delivered a scathing assessment of the nation’s state at their 2024 First Plenary Assembly in Abuja.

Their statements highlights the growing concerns about widespread hardship, insecurity, and the government’s ability to address these critical issues.

The Catholic Bishops, led by Archbishop Lucius Ugorji, characterized the current situation as the “worst of times” for the nation, particularly regarding security and the economy.

Both CBCN and CAN expressed deep concern about the crippling hardship impacting communities, with hunger reaching crisis levels.

Both organizations urged sincere, accountable, and collective efforts to overcome these challenges and build a more secure and prosperous future.

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The Archbishop drew attention to the stark realities facing Nigerians, emphasizing the persistent insecurity and economic turmoil, despite substantial security votes. “If we cast a cursory glance at the present state of our nation, we are inclined to conclude that this seems to be the worst of times for our country in the areas of security and the economy,” Ugorji said.

“Unarmed citizens are brutally slaughtered on our highways, in their homes and even in the sacred precincts of places of worship. Killer herdsmen, bandits and unknown gunmen seem to be on rampage.

“Many communities across the nation have been taken over completely by criminals. Families have lost their ancestral lands to armed invaders and land-grabbers,” the Archbishop lamented.

The CBCN challenged the government’s claims of savings from fuel subsidy removal, questioning the lack of operational refineries which leads to continued reliance on fuel importation. It said: “In withdrawing the fuel subsidy, the government assured Nigerians it would save a lot of money to be injected into other national development sectors.

“Rather than give evidence of money so far saved from the withdrawal of subsidies for which Nigerians are being afflicted with untold hardship, all we hear is the government’s accumulation of more and more foreign debt to balance its budgetary deficit, thereby mortgaging the future of our nation and generations yet unborn.”
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> In a show of ecumenical support and solidarity, the President of CAN, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel Okoh, commended Archbishop Ugorji for his unwavering commitment to addressing issues such as bad governance, insecurity, injustice, and economic hardship. Okoh said Ugorji’s “consistency in providing insight and guidance on issues that border on bad governance, insecurity (including food insecurity), injustice and extreme economic conditions is an inspiration to us all.”
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> Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, acknowledged the challenges but reiterated the government’s commitment to tackling security and economic issues.
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> Akume emphasized the government’s intention to improve the quality of life for all Nigerians.
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