We, the Catholic Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Provinces of Lagos and Ibadan, gathered at the Pastoral Institute, Bodija, Ibadan, Oyo State, thank Almighty God, Father of all graces, for the success of our first meeting of the year 2009. We thank God especially for the meaningful and practical ways in which our Saint Augustine Regional Pastoral Institute, Ede, Osun State, has impacted the lives of our people in the areas of spiritual formation, social empowerment and political orientation.
As an outcome of our deliberations, we issue the following communique:
We give all glory to God, who, by the power of the Holy Spirit, fulfilled His promise of sending us a saviour in Our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph I :3). We call on all Nigerians in position of leadership in politics, religion and the society, including the family, to in like manner fulfil the promise of their privileged calling in sincerity and truth.
2. NEW MINISTERS
We congratulate the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar' Adua, for the recent appointment of new ministers to his cabinet. We urge the new ministers to see themselves as servants of the people rather than lords and to do their work with dignity and commitment.
3. OUR ANXIETY
We express our concern on the appointment of the new Minister of Health, Professor Babatunde Osotimehin, who, though professionally competent, is from his antecedents, a promoter of methods of birth control which go against religious values and morals dear to Christians, Muslims and adherents of African Traditional Religion among others. We therefore, call on Christians and people of goodwill to be alert to any move or policies that undermine the dignity and sacredness of human life from conception to natural death.
We enjoin Doctors and all medical workers to better understand and resist the religion and culture of secular humanism that is threatening the medical profession. They should uphold the Hippocratic ethical principles of their profession and defend the sacredness of life.
We call on all our legislators to prove themselves worthy of their exalted position and make laws that defend life rather than destroy it. Our country, Nigeria, is already experiencing more than its share of violence and injustice under the pretext of ethnicity, religion and politics.
4. THE JOS CRISIS
We deeply regret the massive loss of life and property which occurred in the recent mayhem in Jos, Plateau State. It is sadly not the first of its kind in Nigeria and it is one crisis too many. We enjoin government at all levels to provide succour for all the victims and bring all culprits to book without fear or favour. Only thus can we build a just and equitable society in Nigeria. Let government invest massively in education and provision of skill and employment to forestall the hiring of idle hands by unscrupulous individuals and groups who do not mean well for Nigeria. Without justice and development there can be no true peace.
We thank all well-meaning Nigerians who have worked for the growth and development of Nigeria. We encourage all who continue to do their best for this nation not to lose heart but to work with faith and hope in God for a better future.
May Mary, our loving Mother, in this special Year of Saint Paul, intercede for our nation before God. May all people of goodwill in Nigeria experience a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit so that they may continue to spread the love of God in thought, word and deed.
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