AFRICA/NIGERIA - "The defense of human dignity is an obligation of faith," say the Bishops

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - The defense of human dignity is an obligation of faith and every action committed against it is an act against God. This is what the Bishops of Nigeria said in a statement issued at the end of their Plenary Assembly under the theme "Faith and Dignity of the Human Being." The document was sent to Fides Agency, signed by His Exc. Mgr. Ignatius Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos, and by His Exc. Mgr. Alfred Martins, Archbishop of Lagos, respectively the President and Secretary of the Bishops' Conference of Nigeria, the offenses against human dignity are: murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, suicide, mutilation, physical and mental torture, undue psychological pressures, subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, trafficking and selling of women and children, and degrading work conditions. These crimes, say the Bishops, "poison civilization and debase its authors more than their victims." Moving on to reviewing the situation in Nigeria, the Bishops say that "Nigeria is facing serious threats to human dignity." These include: poor governance, insecurity, corruption, moral collapse, violations of citizens' rights "on the basis of ethnic affiliation, religious belief, gender, geographical origin." "These and other discriminatory practices are currently a threat to human dignity in our land," says the statement. Finally the Bishops denounce violence committed against innocent people by Boko Haram and other armed groups: "We denounce the fact that Nigeria is a place where people arbitrarily kill in the name of religion, a land where freedom of religion is limited only to certain people." (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 01/03/2013)