Catholic Bishops from the 16 West African countries, on Saturday in Abuja, said the sub-region will overcome its current challenges.
However, they insisted that political leaders must halt policies and practices that permit the exploitation of the people.
The clerics also resolve to work with critical stakeholders to remove all obstacles to peaceful coexistence, development and productivity in the region.
The Bishops under the auspices of the Reunion of the Episcopal Conferences of West Africa (RECOWA) said this in a communique made available to journalists at the end of their 4th General Assembly, which was held in Nigeria’s capital city.
The religious leaders, who acknowledged that West African countries were battling the common challenges of insecurity, corruption, and sectional marginalisation among others, nonetheless said there is no need to despair because tough times do not last forever.
They said, “We recognize the inherent dangers in our current society, but we remain optimistic that none of the problems bedevilling our sub-region is insurmountable.
“However, we need to work together, with like minds in politics, religion, economics, social life the media, in synergy to fight against all forms of man’s inhumanity to man.”
The communique was signed by RECOWA President, the Most Revd. Alexis Touabli Youlou, further stressed that all stakeholders must sustain the advocacy for positive change in society.
To this end, it added: “As Church, we call on politicians, other leaders and indeed our people to order in their never-ending craving for self-aggrandisement and acquisition of wealth.
“We urge Christian politicians, traditional rulers, technocrats, professionals, especially those in the media, businessmen and women, and indeed all our people to live out their Christian vocation in fighting corruption, ethnocentrism, sectionalism, and all forms of injustice in society.
“We strongly denounce the policies and practices of our governments and leaders who facilitate and permit the exploitation and marginalisation of our people and endanger the future of our children.
“Tragically, some individuals engaged in acts of violence and terrorism have aggravated the state of insecurity in our subregion. We, therefore, call on all never to grow weary in denouncing and rooting cut such evils in our midst.”
The Catholic Bishops also said that at the end of their deliberations, they held elections and the following emerged as the leaders of RECOWA for the next three years:
“Most Reverend Alexis Touabli Youlou, Bishop of Agbovilie in Cote D’Ivoire, President; Most Reverend Joseph Kwaku Afrifan-Agyekum, Bishop of Koforidua in Ghana, first vice president; and Most Reverend José Lampra, Bishop of Bissau in Guinea Bissau, second vice president.
“Also elected to the secretariat of the reunion are Father Vitalis Anaehobi, Secretary-General, from Nigeria.”