Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "We strongly denounce the policies and practices of our governments and leaders that facilitate and allow the exploitation and marginalization of our people and endanger the future of our children", say the members of the Conference Regional Episcopal Church of West Africa (CEREAO/RECOWA) in the statement issued at the end of the Fourth Plenary Assembly held in Abuja, Nigeria, during which the Bishop of Agboville (Ivory Coast) His Exc. Msgr. Alexis Touably Youlo was elected new President of the Conference (see Fides, 7/5/2022).
By denouncing "certain individuals involved in acts of violence and terrorism which have aggravated the state of insecurity in our region", the bishops of West Africa affirm that "our people are hungry, they are dehumanized and they suffer; our young people venture to risk their lives on the high seas in an attempt to discover greener pastures in countries outside our continent. We are called to give them hope".
For this reason, the members of CEREAO/RECOWA urge "Christian politicians, traditional rulers, technocrats, professionals, especially those in the media, businessmen and women, and indeed all our people, to live their Christian vocation in the fight against corruption, ethnocentrism and all forms of injustice in society".
The theme of the Plenary Assembly was: “Fratelli Tutti: a path to build fraternity and lasting peace in West Africa”. In this regard, the final communiqué states that "Fratelli Tutti can help us in our responsibility to generate effective pastoral government and greater social friendship in West Africa and throughout the world".
Taking as an example the two years of the coronavirus pandemic, the bishops underline: "The last two years of the Covid-19 pandemic have made us recognize that we are all one family. The pandemic has opened our eyes to the fact that we cannot face our problems alone or in isolation. Therefore, we must guard against the culture of indifference and individualism. We must always unite in solidarity to work for the common good".
CEREAO/RECOWA brings together the bishops of 16 West African countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Niger , Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 9/5/2022)