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CHURCH VITAL TO PEACE, JUSTICE AND DEVELOPMENT IN WEST AFRICA SUB-REGION
Apr 21, 2018








ABUJA, NIGERIA -

The Catholic Church as a major stakeholder has a vital role to play in ensuring peace and stability in the West Africa sub region; hence the Catholic Bishops of the sub-region have decided to put in place the RECOWA Peace Committee (REPCO), with Bishop Lucius Ugorji of Umuahia Diocese of Nigeria as its Chairman.

 

This assertion was made by the President of the Regional Episcopal Conferences of West Africa (RECOWA), Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Nigeria, during the inauguration of the RECOWA Peace Committee at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) Resource Centre, Durumi, Abuja, Nigeria, recently.

 

The inauguration ceremony which was preceded by a one-day training workshop for all the members of the committee, was attended by dignitaries from all walks of life including members of the Diplomatic Corps, government officials, priest, religious and representatives of Catholic organizations. The programme was facilitated by Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD).

 

According to Archbishop Kaigama, the prompt for proactive measures on the part of the Church necessitated the need for “a regional structure for the prevention, mediation, resolution and transformation of conflict; and a regional liaison office to collaborate with the ECOWAS Commission and relevant institutions and also a body to participate in election observation”.

 

The RECOWA President stated further that “the body is composed of three Cardinals representing the linguistic zones of the region – Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone, as well as Bishops, Priests and Lay persons with necessary expertise”. He added: “With this body, the Church in West Africa offers a helping hand and engages the political, social and economic leaders of our region to address the above mentioned challenges and to bring about justice and peace, stability and development.” He noted that the Church, through the Peace Committee will collaborate with other stakeholder groups to bring about lasting peace in the respective countries of the region.

 

Archbishop Kaigama who is the local ordinary of Jos Archdiocese; giving a brief on the formation of RECOWA stated that it is the amalgamation of the Episcopal Conferences of Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone speaking countries of the sub-region; adding that it was conceived out of the conviction “of the necessity of a greater regional integration and organic pastoral solidarity transcending the linguistic and historical differences.”

 

He described the presence of the members of the Diplomatic Corps at the ceremony as a good sign of collaboration between the political and religious orders in the common pursuit for justice, peace, stability and development.

 

Members of the RECOWA Peace Committee include: Arlindo Cardinal Futardo of Praia, Santiago, Cape Verde; Philippe Cardinal Quedraogo of Quagadougou, Burkina Faso; and John Cardinal Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria and Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, President of the Regional Conference.

Others are: Nicodeme Barrigah -Benissan of Togo; Rev. Fr. Innocent Jooji of Nigeria; MadamYoum Marie Noelle D. Sene of Senegal; Mr. Elyse Quedraogo of Burkina Faso and Sir Emmanuel Habuka Bombande of Ghana.


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