The Catholic Bishops have warned politicians in West Africa’s sun region of their endless thirst for personal aggrandizement and the acquisition of wealth at the expense of the people.
This is contained in a statement issued at the end of the 4th General Assembly of the Meeting of Episcopal Conferences of West Africa (RECOWA), held in Abuja.
The meeting on the theme “Fratelli Tutti: path to build fraternity and lasting peace in West Africa” brought together Catholic bishops from the 16 countries of the West African sub-region.
In the statement read by the Bishop of Oyo Diocese, Bishop Emmanuel Badejo on behalf of the newly elected President of RECOWA, Bishop Alexis Touabli YOULOU, also called on Christian politicians, businessmen and others to live their vocation Christian in the fight against corruption, ethnocentrism, sectionalism.
The statement reads: “As a Church, we call on politicians, other leaders and even our people to bring order to their relentless thirst for self-glorification and the acquisition of wealth. We urge Christian politicians, traditional rulers, technocrats, professionals, especially those in the media, businessmen and women, and indeed all our people to live their Christian vocation in the fight against corruption, the ethnocentrism, sectionalism and all forms of injustice in society.
We strongly denounce the policies and practices of our governments and leaders that facilitate and enable the exploitation and marginalization of our people and endanger the future of our children. Tragically, some individuals engaging in acts of violence and terrorism have aggravated the state of insecurity in our sub-region. We call on all to never tire of exposing and eradicating such evils among us.
The statement further said that the bishops recognize the dangers inherent in our current society.
“We are counting a lot on the glimmers of hope that resonate in various spheres. We remain convinced that none of the problems afflicting our sub-region are insurmountable. However, we must work together, with like minds in politics, religion, economics, social life, media, in synergy to fight against all forms of man’s inhumanity to man.
Regarding the concrete considerations of the bishops, the communiqué indicates that “in our deliberations, it has become evident that Fratelli Tutti can help us in our responsibility to engender effective pastoral governance and greater social friendship in West Africa and in the whole world.
“We are all reminded, bishops, priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful, that we are, as Jesus pointed out, the salt of the earth Mtt. 5, 13 sec. As many of our fellow citizens are suffering, we are urged to show greater Christian commitment to lessen their sorrows and give them reasons to go on living.
“The past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic have made us realize that ultimately we are all one family. It opened our eyes to the fact that we cannot face our problems alone or in isolation. Therefore, we must guard against the culture of indifference and individualism.
“We must always come together in solidarity to work for our common good. The example of the good Samaritan in the gospel should compel us to admire the attitude of the Samaritan towards the Jewish brother. We remember that the priest and the Levite passed in front of him, indifferent to his needs.
“We are really touched by the risk taken by this Samaritan. It was Pope Francis who juxtaposed the role of those who alleviate the suffering of others and those who merely pass by the suffering of others. We Bishops therefore urge Christians and all people of good will in our sub-region to overcome various barriers in order to reach those in need.
“We feel called to give a stronger witness to our Christian values. Our people are hungry, dehumanized and suffering; our youngsters are exposed to deadly adventures on the high seas in their attempt to discover greener pastures in countries overseas. We are called to give hope to these people.
Regarding the new leadership of RECOWA, the statement noted that “at the end of our deliberations, we held elections and the following established themselves as leaders of the meeting for the next three years; Mgr Alexis Touabli YOULOU, diocese of Agboville Côte D’ivoire, President, Mgr Joseph Kwaku AFRIFAH-AGYEKUM, bishop of Koforidua, first vice-president and Mgr José Lampra CA, Bissau, second vice-president.
“Also elected to lead the secretariat of the meeting are Father Vitalis Anaehobi, Secretary General, Nigeria, Father Vincent de Paul BORO Assistant Secretary General and Father Célestine Sagna, Second Assistant Secretary.”