Nigeria’s poverty is threatening human rights like COVID-19, says Kaigama

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The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, Ignatius Kaigama

ABUJA – The Catholic Archbishop of Diocese, Ignatius Kaigama has criticised what he described the poor social security system in the country, which, he said, negatively affects millions of Nigerians.”

He also said that like Coronavirus, poverty has constituted a serious  threat to human rights, values and entire existence. 

According to him, while those cannot work during the COVID – 19 period in Germany, are given 60 per cent of their salary, those whose small private businesses were crippled, got economic help to cushion their hardship.

The cleric stated these in his Homily on Sunday delivered during the Lenten Campaign of Archdiocese under the auspices of the Justice, Development and Peace Commission with the theme: “Nigeria, insecurity and COVID – 19 pandemic: The way Forward.”

He also called on Nigerians to pray that governments takes more concrete and immediate measures to ensure a holistic national security, adding, “may God save us all harm and help all Nigerians to live in peace and harmony.”

Kaigama said, “Like Coronavirus, poverty is menacingly threatening our rights, values and entire existence. Parish priests or St. Vincent de Paul officials will tell you how many requests for material assistance they receive daily. aside, I too receive requests many qualified but unemployed youths; requests to pay house rent; school fees, dowries, and even for funerals, as well as requests to buy cars! 

“When you go to the periphery of our cities you see people suffer the lack of basic infrastructure and worry so much about the safety of their lives and property.

“Our poor social security system negatively affects millions of Nigerian security personnel, youths, retirees, disabled persons, and families of retired or deceased workers living and contributes to the rising crime rate, leaving the authorities in a quandary. 

“Youths are turned into beggars and some embrace crime or violence or other criminal activities. Pensioners sometimes regret their faithful service to their fatherland as they languish in poverty, especially during tough times like these.

“I understand that in Germany, those cannot work during this COVID-19 period are given 60 per cent of their salary and those, whose small private businesses are crippled, get economic help to cushion their hardship.

“Humanitarian activities of Church-based organizations such as the Catholic Relief Services (USA), Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (Britain), MISSIO and MISEREOR, ACN in Germany have supported many poor people in Nigeria. 

“Their income comes largely Catholics who take up collections yearly; some of the organizations are supported by their Governments to reach out to us without religious or ethnic discrimination.

“Despite all the Catholic Church has done and continues to do through social services, schools and hospitals, Government collaborative support of the Catholic Church needs radical improvement.

“As you give to support the poor, please pray also for the safe release of all kidnapped persons, especially the over 300 abducted school girls in Jangebe, Zamfara State. 

“We pray that our authorities will take more concrete and immediate measures to ensure a holistic national security. May God save us all harm and help all Nigerians to live in peace and harmony.”