Bishops who attended the just-ended second Ordinary Plenary Assembly 2016 of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa, have issued a communiqué expressing worry over the growing insecurity on the African continent.
The communiqué was read by Bishop Anthony Fallah Borwah of Liberia on behalf of the 120 Bishops, Cardinals and Archbishops from countries in the West African sub-region who attended the event.
The assembly, which commenced on 22nd and ended on 29th February, was held in Accra under the theme, “The New Evangelization and Specific Challenges for the Church, Family of God in West Africa.“
The Bishops condemned terrorist attacks which hit countries such as Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Cameroun and Chad and which led to wonton destruction of property and huge loss of lives.
The Bishops, while re-echoing their commitment to support nations spiritually through intercessory prayers and advice, strongly called on governments to protect the gains made on the road map towards peaceful co-existence of all, irrespective of religion or race, as well as put measures in place which will crack the whip on terrorist groups.
They further warned politicians to defuse political tensions caused by the manipulation of constitutions, the electoral process and other actions which have the tendency to disturb the peace of the various countries.
The communiqué further called on governments to be mindful of the effects of bad governance, corruption, social injustice and failure to respect religious freedom.
The Bishops also used the platform to extend their deep sympathies to families who had lost their relatives through terrorist attacks and those killed by the Ebola epidemic.
“In the spirit of the year of mercy and of reconciliation, we urge them to commit act of appeasement and clemency. We call on families to rediscover their vocation as God planned and willed through the union of man and woman and to be open to paternal and maternal responsibility,” the communiqué stated.
The clerics admonished the youth not to lose hope but believe in the possibility of being successful in their lives.
As various countries in the sub-region are preparing for presidential elections, the Bishops also encouraged all political actors to preserve the democratic gains of their respective countries by adhering to what is constitutionally mandated.