Senior Catholic archbishops have asked the Federal Government to reverse the latest increment in the prices of petrol and electricity.
The archbishops, while condemning the increase in fuel price, said it would cause more Nigerians to suffer.
They spoke during the First General Assembly of Abuja Archdiocese at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria, Pro-Cathedral, weekend.
It would be recalled that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company, PPMC, recently increased the ex-depot price of petrol from N138.62 to N151.56 per litre.
Consequently, petrol marketers jerked the price of the product from N148 to between N158 and N162 per litre.
Earlier, electricity distribution companies, DISCOs, in the country had begun implementation of a new cost-reflective electricity tariff plan.
Reacting, Archbishop Emeritus, His Eminence John Cardinal Onaiyekan, lamented that the price increase did not come with a boost in the average income of citizens.
He said the government had previously assured Nigerians that it would make life better for them, adding, however, that the reverse was now the case.
He said: “Mr. President, in the same breath, was telling us he was going to do all he can to make life easier for Nigerians and one of the things he can do is those increases.
“Let the Federal Government put the fuel price increase and electricity tariff increase in a wider context. We wouldn’t complain about the fuel price increase if the salaries are also increased.
“The problem comes when you leave the people with nothing to eat. I don’t think the government is supposed to be doing that. They should find a way to make life liveable for Nigerians.”
Similarly, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Abuja, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, asked President Buhari to give more attention to policies and programmes that would reduce poverty and hardship.
He said: “With the current economic crisis occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a huge increase in poverty levels.
“So, we call on the government to give priority to alleviating poverty and improving life situations among Nigerians.
“I can only beg on behalf of the poor and the needy that government should have mercy on us. We are at the grassroots and I meet people who are really poor and in need and with all these increases, it makes life more intolerable.
“As a priest, I can only pray that God will do something for the poor and the needy, but God doesn’t operate in a vacuum; He uses our leaders, the president, governors and local government chairmen. I know they can do something.
In the same vein, the Archbishops called on Christian and Muslim leaders to join hands in advocating a better life for all Nigerians.
“We must shun the mentality where everyone is for himself or herself and cares only for those who are friends, family or from the same tribe, region, religion or political party, to the extent that we subordinate the common good to selfish interests, and even consider others as outsiders, thus triggering the feelings in certain quarters of being neglected, abandoned or marginalized,” they said.
On the controversial section 839(2)(11) of the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAMA Act (2020), the Senior Bishops said the provisions should either be corrected or expunged.