The Catholic Bishop of the Abuja archdiocese, Ignatius Kaigama, has urged the federal government to collaborate with the church to ensure a clean and healthy environment for Nigerians.
Mr Kaigama made the call Saturday at an event to mark the beginning of a seven year climate improvement programme by the diocese, with the theme: “Care for our common home.”
Mr Kaigama said local and international environmental realities had proven that “nature has been wounded and the church must be part of its healing” process.
“We are interested in collaboration. We just hope that the government will return the gesture and embrace us. We must work together for beautifying the earth, for creating harmony and order in our society.
“When we are doing it our way, providing the quality schools and clinics that we are able; sometimes we suffer a lot of interference from the ministries. They disturb us with taxes and so on. They believe that we are making money. But they forget that we have been doing this for years and our work is with the poor,” Mr Kaigama said.
Speaking at the holy mass to mark the event, Omokugbo Ojeifo, an Abuja based Catholic priest, said that climate change could have been responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic and its ugly effects on the world.
He urged churches, organisations, schools and families to take seriously the need to adopt renewable sources of energy and avoid wastes, among other measures as steps towards improving our environment.
“What matters are the little concrete actions that we take today. What can we do to cut down the waste of food and water? Do we conserve energy by turning down electrical appliances before leaving our homes? Parishes should be made to ask how they can promote renewable energies in their parishes and institutions,” Mr Ojeifo said.
According Mr Ojeifo, the various steps expected to be taken by the diocese would revolve around seven themes.
“Our response to the cry of the earth, our response to the cry of the poor, the ecological economy, the adoption of a civil way of life, ecological education, ecological spirituality and community engagement.”
He added that the diocese has categorised the society into seven groups to enable the implementation of the seven year plan for climate change.
The groups include families, parishes and dioceses, schools and universities, hospitals, businesses and farms as well as religious institutions
He said the diocese has prepared a plan to ensure that the various groups play their roles in ensuring a safe climate for Abuja and Nigeria in general.
Saturday’s event was in furtherance of a 2015 encyclical on global climate change by the Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis, under the theme ‘Laudato Si Mi Signore,’ which means; ‘praise be to You my Lord.”