THE Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) at the weekend advised the Federal Government to tackle ongoing economic challenges ravaging the country.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the second plenary meeting held in Akure, Ondo State, the Bishops urged the Gvernment to find solutions to economic problems across the country.
Signed by its President and Secretary, Most Rev. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama and Most Rev. William A. Avenya respectively, the Bishops said: “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”.
The Communique added: “There is hunger in the land. We, therefore urge 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”.