The Catholic Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA) has urged the heads of government of the region to take actions on the spate of insecurity in the region.
The Metropolitan Catholic Archbishop of Abuja and President, RECOWA, Most Rev. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, made the call on Wednesday in Abuja at a press conference.
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According to him, historically, before it came to be known as RECOWA, the Bishops of West Africa had two different organs of collegiality based on linguistic differences.
He said that as RECOWA, the Church has been able to raise concerns and work together on issues bordering on justice and peace.
He said, “The English speaking were in one group known as Association of Episcopal Conferences of Anglophone West Africa (AECAWA established in 1977) while the French speaking formed another conference, known as Conférence Episcopale Régionale de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (CERAO established in 1963).
“RECOWA was established with the primary aim of enhancing the Church’s mission in the region; maintaining and fostering relations among the constituent Episcopal Conferences. The General Assembly of RECOWA brings together Catholic Bishops from the 16 West African countries,” Kaigama represented by the Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Rev. Fr. Zacharia Nyatiso Samjumi, said.
He also said that the CBCN would host their counterparts in the region under the aegis of RECOWA, in Abuja from Monday, May 2, to Monday, May 9, on developments and concerns in the region.
He said that the theme of the Conference is ‘Fratelli Tutti: Path to building human fraternity and sustainable peace in West Africa’, which is in line with Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, released in 2020.
He said “From Senegal to Nigeria, RECOWA has been a strong voice against land grabbing, child trafficking, illegal migration, terrorism, placing the issue of climate change on the concurrent list to curb desertification and many others.
“It is expected that these issues will still form part of the agenda at the 2022 plenary, which is expected to bring together over 150 Bishops.”
He added that the RECOWA General Assembly will pay attention to the common humanity ‘Fratelli Tutti’, as part of effort to go beyond geographical and linguistic differences to appreciate those issues that speak to the people more on the understanding that everyone are brothers and sisters.
He said, “It means that we are all connected as humans, not only in our aspirations to actualize our universal values, but also in our struggles, headaches and fears. The appeal to our common humanity is to come to terms with the reality that all human beings are in need of one another, to live fully human.
“Driven by the awareness of our common humanity, RECOWA plenaries discuss peculiar issues that affect the lives of millions of people in West Africa and explore how best the Church can support governments toward improving the living conditions of the people. RECOWA has various organs that address the issues of interfaith dialogue, security, good governance, justice and peace.”