Honorable Antony Blinken
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
2201 C St., NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Blinken:
I write to you in my capacity as Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. When considering Africa, the growing violence and demise of governance in Nigeria continues to be of highest concern to our Committee. In continuity with my letters to you last year on March 19 and June 24, I wish to vigilantly convey the steady and growing concerns and aspirations of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN). Neither Africa, nor the world, can afford Nigeria to become a failed state. It is our shared hope that the United States will partner with Christian and Muslim leaders and their institutions along with likeminded members of civil society working to end the senseless violence in Nigeria and pave the way for free, fair, and credible elections in February 2023.
The President of the CBCN, the Most Reverend Lucious Iwejuru Ugorji, recently opened the CBCN General Assembly (the governing body of the bishops) saying, “We are passing through what might be deemed as the darkest chapter of our history as a nation…” The final statement from the general assembly (attached) decries the wanton violence committed by terrorists, insurgents, kidnappers, and bandits, and attacks on places of worship like the parish in Owo, Ondo State in June which I released the following statement to bring attention to this disturbing development. These attacks threaten religious freedom and the longer they continue, the more divided Muslims and Christians will become. Economic turmoil compels the country’s youth to leave in search of opportunities despite the perilous journey to Europe, or the United States.
Still, the Nigerian Bishops look to the future of Nigeria with hope. This hope is contingent on credible elections next year. I appreciate you hearing this renewed plea to work for credible elections in February. Specifically, I urge you to consider the invaluable insights of the CBCN which extend well beyond their public statements and with whom we work closely in support of Nigeria prevailing through their current crisis to a better future.
Most Reverend David J. Malloy
Bishop of Rockford
Chairman, Committee on International Justice and Peace
Attachment: CBCN Statement, The Threshold of a New Dawn in Nigeria