Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, and the Archbishop emeritus of the Abuja Archdiocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, have frowned at the recent increase in electricity tariff and price of petrol, calling on the federal government to find a way of making life livable for Nigerians.
Speaking yesterday at the maiden General Assembly of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, Kaigama said Nigerians are in agony and suffering, adding that the various increases in prices of commodities is making life intolerable for Nigerians and appealed to government to show mercy on Nigerians and take strategic steps to ameliorate their suffering.
“Government should look on Nigerians with the eyes of mercy and do something, people are in agony, they are suffering.
We call on the government to give priority to alleviating poverty and improving life situations among Nigerians,” he added.
Kaigama urged Nigerians to eschew selfishness and tribal sentiments and shun the situation where everyone is for him or herself and cares only for those who are friends, family or from the same tribe, region, religion or political party, to the extent that they subordinate the common good to selfish interests and even consider others as “outsiders,” thereby triggering the feelings in certain quarters of being neglected, abandoned or marginalised.
He said with the current economic crisis
occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a huge increase in poverty levels, assuring that the church, in its evangelisation effort, would continue to encourage families and parishes to take care of the young ones.
Onaiyekan, who observed that the Company and Allied Matters Act 2020 (CAMA) should not be completely thrown away, however, advised Christian and Muslim leaders to work together to ensure that the disputed portion of the Act is removed, while the rest of the Act should be allowed to do the job it is intended to do.
The cleric described the advice of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo that any one aggrieved by the content of the law should approach the National Assembly for amendment as valid and wise.
Speaking further, Onaiyekan noted that CAMA is not only meant for churches, as it deals with management of funds by various organisations, adding: “I can imagine a lot of things that are good that might have been worked upon very carefully. We don’t throw the baby with the bath water.
“It is a pity that if CAMA intended to deal with churches, those who produced the Bill did not think it wise to involve the churches to avoid the current controversy the Bill has generated.
“We shouldn’t kill the content of the Act because of just one or two sections that are unacceptable to churches. The offensive section can be removed from the Act, while the rest of the Act should be allowed to do the job it is intended to do.”
On the increase on electricity tariff and the pump price of petrol, Onaiyekan said: “President Muhammadu Buhari said he will do all he can to make life worth living for Nigerians and all he could do was those increases. But you can judge for yourselves.
“We wouldn’t be complaining of fuel price increase if salaries were increased. Government should find a way of making life livable for Nigerians.”
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