Catholic Bishops in Nigeria have raised concerns about the prevalent high-level corruption in the country, calling on the government to prioritize economic improvement and poverty alleviation as essential measures to curb its pervasive impact. The Bishops also expressed deep distress over the ongoing mindless bloodletting and kidnapping incidents in Imo State, which has experienced heightened unrest in recent times.
During a thanksgiving Mass at Maria Assumpta Cathedral in Owerri, held in honor of the 2024 Armed Forces Remembrance Day and Governor Hope Uzodimma’s re-election, Most Rev. Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), highlighted the multifaceted nature of corruption as a complex reality involving moral decay, defilement, and loss of integrity.
Ugorji emphasized the urgent need to address corruption, which has permeated various aspects of public life, spanning bribery, embezzlement, abuse of office, nepotism, looting of public property, and more. He characterized corruption as corrosive, polluting, debasing, and infectious, expressing concern over the detrimental impact on the lives of millions of people, pushing them into grinding poverty and undeserved suffering.
In the fight against corruption, Ugorji underscored the importance of recognizing its economic dimension, suggesting that efforts to minimize corruption should coincide with initiatives to improve the overall economy. He urged the government to enact laws targeting bribery and corruption while simultaneously addressing the root causes, such as improving working conditions, creating job opportunities, equipping youth with market-driven skills, and providing spiritual and moral enlightenment, particularly for the younger generation in schools.
Addressing the Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration, Ugorji emphasized the significance of honoring those who lost their lives in various wars and armed conflicts. He stressed that these individuals sacrificed their lives to preserve the lives of others, calling for a solemn remembrance of their contributions.
The Catholic Bishops’ statements reflect a broader call for comprehensive and strategic measures to combat corruption and insecurity, urging the government to address the root causes and provide lasting solutions for the well-being of the Nigerian populace.