No fewer than 150 Catholic Bishops from 16 countries of West Africa are expected to converge on Abuja for a conference on peace building in the region.
This was contained in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja by Rev. Fr. Michael-Nsikak Umoh, National Director, Social Communications of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria.
Umoh said the conference was scheduled to hold from Monday to May 9 in Abuja.
He said that the General Assembly of the Reunion of Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA) would also hold from Monday to May 9, at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Abuja.
The event has the theme: “Fratelli Tutti: Path to Build Brotherhood and Sustainable Peace in West Africa.”
“The conference will address global issues affecting the church and nations, among them are insecurity, unemployment, peace building and evangelism,” he added.
Umoh said that RECOWA plenaries would discuss peculiar issues that affected the lives of millions of people in West Africa and explored best ways the Church could support governments toward improving the living conditions of the people using its various organs that addressed issues of interfaith dialogue, security, good governance, justice and peace.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that RECOWA has had two different organs of collegiality based on linguistic differences.
The English speaking were in one group known as Association of Episcopal Conferences of Anglophone West Africa (AECAWA established in 1977) while the French speaking formed another conference, known as Conférence Episcopale Régionale de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (CERAO established in 1963).
However, in 1996, the Bishops of the two bodies recognised the need for a united West African nation on ecclesiastical sphere, following ECOWAS arrangement on the geopolitical platform.
They recognised the need to come together as a people, join forces and pool resources together for consolidated pastoral programmes in the West African region.
In view of this, they agreed to form one single Episcopal Association that would bring all Bishops of West Africa on one platform.
This culminated in the first formal meeting which was held on July 1, 1997 at the headquarters of the SECAM General Secretariat in Accra, Ghana. (NAN)