WCC tasks FG on security, social justice


WCC tasks FG on security, social justice

By Aluta News


The World Council of Churches (WCC) has urged the Federal Government to ensure security, social justice and religious freedom for all Nigerians irrespective tribe or region in the country.

The Moderator of the WCC Executive Committee, Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm made the call at a news conference in Abuja at the end of the committee meeting.

The theme of the committee meeting is “Insecurity, Environment Degradation, Injustice and the Church of God in Nigeria.”

Bedford-Strohm said that the executive have noticed with excitement, the beauty of Nigerian people and the religious vibrance of the country.

He said that the committee is impressed with the ecumenical relations and the inter religious relations among Christians and Muslims in Nigeria.

“We encourage the government to pursue such a path of religious inclusion seeking justice, peace and security, prosperity, dignity and justice for all Nigerians regardless of language, ethnicity, social status or any other characteristics.

“We have heard stories of persecution because of Christian faith, we have heard about the Boko Haram in the north; our hearts goes out to the victims be it Christians or Muslims or other people who are victims of criminal bandits.

“We appeal to the Nigerians authority to exert maximum efforts to bring security and stability to the affected communities to ensure religious freedom to all Nigerians.

“We encourage all ecumenical initiatives for peace and religious cohesion; we also talked about the grave economic injustice in Nigeria.

“A significant number of people are malnourished, they do not have enough to eat and we appeal and urged the government to do everything possible to overcome that deep economic injustice,” he said.

In his remarks, the General Secretary, Rev. Jerry Pillay said that church leaders got together after the World War II to established the WCC in 1948 which has now existed as an organisation for 75 years.

The general secretary said that the WCC is made up of about 352 member churches with no fewer than 600 million people in 120 countries.

He said that the aim was to bring churches and Christians together in unity, preach Christ Jesus and address some of the problems like wars and social issues confronting the world.

Pillay said that the scope of the WCC also covers cooperation and collaboration with other faiths like Muslims, Hindus, Jews and other religious communities in ensuring justice, reconciliation, unity for all people.

He called for immediate ceasefire fire in the war between Israel and Hamas and for the immediate release of Israeli hostages still being held by Hamas.

“We are living in very difficult times, in times of wars and tension; we are facing war in Ukraine, Sudan, Maymah and so many other parts of the world.

“The situation between Israel and Palestine is very difficult at the moment since the attack of Hamas on Israel on October 7, there has been a continuous retaliation by Israel and so the situation in Gaza is really bad.

“The council has condemned the attack by Hamas and likewise we continue to condemn the ongoing attacks by Israel on the Gaza because we see its effects on the killing of thousands of people.

“Today, over 11,000 persons have died mainly women and children and the devastation of the Gaza; the WCC calls for respect for human life and human dignity from all people.

“In that spirit, we have called for immediate ceasefire, we call for peaceful conversations and dialogue so that resolutions for peace can be established.

“We call on the United Nations to investigate alleged war crimes and we also call for humanitarian access for the people who are suffering in Palestine and we are asking for access to medical supplies, food, water which are important for the contention of life,” he said.

Pillay urged the international community to join the WCC to call for a ceasefire and for the immediate release of Israeli hostages.

On her part, Rev. Merlyn Riley, the Vice Moderator of the committee called for urgent attention on climate justice.

According to her, most people will agree that we are facing a climate crisis and we are witnessing the extent to which adverse weather condition is affecting us across the world.

“Greater level of drought which we right here in Africa, we see flooding taking place and we recognise the fact that we really cannot continue like this.

“If we do, those who are impacted the most will not have any quality life, their life will continue to deteriorate and so as WCC, we recognise this to be a challenge of the church and of the government.

“We are calling for greater responsibility that we pay greater attention to the level of production of fossil fuels and we are calling for an urgent reduction in the production of fossil fuel.

“We are calling for greater attention to renewable energy as alternative way of finding sources of energy for all population, that we give greater attention to global warming.

“We are also calling for greater climate financing because for countries that are poorer and most vulnerable to adopt renewable energy, there is a need for financing to do so.

“As the COP-28 is approaching we want to ask that the commitment that has been given to climate financing will be approached with seriously and be embraced by all countries concerned.

“We are also calling of a United action, climate change impacts every single person and therefore we would hope that during the summit more persons will come together collectively and let there be less hesitation on the part countries that over the years has not bought into the idea of climate change,” she said.

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