Nigeria faces looming crisis, becoming a 'killing field,' bishops say

February 18, 2024 at 7:00 a.m.
A woman is pictured in a file photo wearing a rosary during a Good Friday procession in Lagos, Nigeria. During an event in the Capitol complex in Washington Jan. 30, 2024, Nigerian Catholic leaders called on the U.S. State Department to designate Nigeria as a "country of particular concern," or CPC, in response to violence in their country perpetuated against predominantly Christian communities. (OSV News photo/Akintunde Akinleye, Reuters)
A woman is pictured in a file photo wearing a rosary during a Good Friday procession in Lagos, Nigeria. During an event in the Capitol complex in Washington Jan. 30, 2024, Nigerian Catholic leaders called on the U.S. State Department to designate Nigeria as a "country of particular concern," or CPC, in response to violence in their country perpetuated against predominantly Christian communities. (OSV News photo/Akintunde Akinleye, Reuters) (Akintunde Akinleye)

By CAROL GLATZ
Osv News

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Nigeria's government must urgently address the "evil of kidnapping" and the "looming crisis" in the country, two Vatican officials said.

"In addition to putting measures on (the) ground to secure lives and properties, the state, with the support of the Church, should seek ways of repositioning the nation on the path of economic growth, political stability and religious cohesion," said a letter from the leaders of the Dicastery for Evangelization's Section for the First Evangelization and New Particular Churches.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, pro-prefect of the dicastery, and Nigerian Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu, secretary of the section, sent the letter to Archbishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji of Owerri, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria.

Fides, the news agency of the dicastery, reported on the contents of the letter Feb. 16.

The Dicastery for Evangelization "offers its deepest and heartfelt solidarity to the Nigerian people, who are grappling with a crisis that is expanding in scope and intensifying in proportion," the officials said.

"Nothing can justify the evil of kidnapping," they wrote, noting that "among those tragically caught in the crossfire of these reprehensible acts are members of the clergy, religious and lay faithful."

"The physical violence and accompanying mental torture that go with kidnapping undermine the pillars of civil and social harmony, as they traumatize the individuals involved, their families and the society in general," the cardinal and archbishop wrote.

"We call on the government of Nigeria to act swiftly in addressing this menace and halting the looming crisis," they wrote, adding, "Our hope is that this Lent will prove spiritually fruitful for each believer and every ecclesial community in Nigeria."

A total of 3,964 people have been kidnapped in Nigeria since May 2023, according to SBM Intelligence, a risk management consulting firm, Fides reported.

Meanwhile, the Catholic bishops of southwestern Nigeria said, "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," they said in a statement republished by Vatican News Feb. 15.

The bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Ibadan, which includes the Archdiocese of Ibadan and dioceses of Ilorin, Ondo, Oyo, Ekiti and Osogbo, said daily life "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 "hypocritical," they said, to blame "all the misery being suffered by Nigerians today" on just a changing world economy.

"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," it said. "We plead for urgent action from all our leaders to save the Nigeria ship from sinking."


Related Stories

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Nigeria's government must urgently address the "evil of kidnapping" and the "looming crisis" in the country, two Vatican officials said.

"In addition to putting measures on (the) ground to secure lives and properties, the state, with the support of the Church, should seek ways of repositioning the nation on the path of economic growth, political stability and religious cohesion," said a letter from the leaders of the Dicastery for Evangelization's Section for the First Evangelization and New Particular Churches.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, pro-prefect of the dicastery, and Nigerian Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu, secretary of the section, sent the letter to Archbishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji of Owerri, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria.

Fides, the news agency of the dicastery, reported on the contents of the letter Feb. 16.

The Dicastery for Evangelization "offers its deepest and heartfelt solidarity to the Nigerian people, who are grappling with a crisis that is expanding in scope and intensifying in proportion," the officials said.

"Nothing can justify the evil of kidnapping," they wrote, noting that "among those tragically caught in the crossfire of these reprehensible acts are members of the clergy, religious and lay faithful."

"The physical violence and accompanying mental torture that go with kidnapping undermine the pillars of civil and social harmony, as they traumatize the individuals involved, their families and the society in general," the cardinal and archbishop wrote.

"We call on the government of Nigeria to act swiftly in addressing this menace and halting the looming crisis," they wrote, adding, "Our hope is that this Lent will prove spiritually fruitful for each believer and every ecclesial community in Nigeria."

A total of 3,964 people have been kidnapped in Nigeria since May 2023, according to SBM Intelligence, a risk management consulting firm, Fides reported.

Meanwhile, the Catholic bishops of southwestern Nigeria said, "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," they said in a statement republished by Vatican News Feb. 15.

The bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Ibadan, which includes the Archdiocese of Ibadan and dioceses of Ilorin, Ondo, Oyo, Ekiti and Osogbo, said daily life "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 "hypocritical," they said, to blame "all the misery being suffered by Nigerians today" on just a changing world economy.

"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," it said. "We plead for urgent action from all our leaders to save the Nigeria ship from sinking."

Have a news tip? Email [email protected] or Call/Text 360-922-3092

e-Edition


e-edition

Sign up


for our email newsletters

Weekly Top Stories

Sign up to get our top stories delivered to your inbox every Sunday

Daily Updates & Breaking News Alerts

Sign up to get our daily updates and breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox daily

Latest Stories


Bishops' spring meeting opens with focus on anti-poverty arm, Eucharistic revival, mental health
The first day of the U.S. Catholic bishops' public meetings...

Despite knee issues, St. Rose’s Huisman wins another MOC gold in shot put
As his high school throwing career winds down, it’s tempting to wonder how great Josh Huisman would be ...

10 things that make for a great Catholic dad
Being a Catholic dad is both a great privilege and a big responsibility.

Ecumenism and papal primacy: Vatican releases status report on dialogues
The reason why the 2024 edition of the Vatican yearbook has re-inserted...

Pope says synodality should be 'permanent way of acting in the church'
– Pope Francis said he hopes the spirit of openness and dialogue ...


The Evangelist, 40 North Main Ave., Albany, NY, 12203-1422 | PHONE: 518-453-6688| FAX: 518-453-8448
© 2024 Trenton Monitor, All Rights Reserved.