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STATEMENT FROM VIVAT INTERNATIONAL NIGERIA Posted January 2018
“THAT ALL MAY LIVE IN DIGNITY”
At the end of the VIVAT International Workshop on Working for Justice, Promoting Peace, Preserving Lives held at Eucharistic Heart of Jesus (EHJ) Domus Fidei Conference Centre, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria, May 1-5, 2017, we, the participants from VIVAT member congregations, religious and lay associates, NGOs from Nigeria and other parts of Africa, affirm the inalienable rights and dignity of every human being.
Following presentations by specialists and robust engagements by participants, we strongly believe that a resilient and continuous engagement with VIVAT International will produce a better structured, mutually beneficial approach that will aid the spirited efforts of the religious tackling socio-economic challenges in Nigeria.
Despite her rich ecological endowments and available security apparatus that could guarantee food sovereignty and social security, Nigeria is still plagued by hunger, social insecurity and climate change. Industrial agriculture is a major cause of ecological destruction. These interconnected issues impact heavily on the situation of human rights of the citizens of Nigeria.
Though our people are hungry, the introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the distribution of GM seeds are not options for consideration. We strongly object to further introduction and distribution of GM seeds and foods in Nigeria. This country has vast and fertile lands for organic agriculture. We, therefore, realise that we need to respond to this challenge in addressing this issue to support our farmers and make farming more productive and attractive for young people.
We recognize that, though we have been responding to these problems in our ministries, our tools of engagement have not been adequate to address the situation. In this regard, we need more radical strategies and a stronger collaborative network that will tackle the underlying systemic problems.
Among other themes that emerged, food sovereignty, social insecurity, violence against women, ecological degradation and climate change stood out more visibly for the participants. For all these, we are committed to developing advocacy tools of engagements following a plan of action.
We see VIVAT International as a viable and valuable option for future engagements. We call on all our Major Superiors to support the formation in Nigeria of a National branch of VIVAT International.