By Emmanuel Addeh
Prominent Christian leaders from various denominations across the country have urged the federal government to urgently embark on a review of the constitution and take convincing steps to reconsider the 2014 national confab report.
In a communiqué issued at the end of a consultative meeting of the steering and facilitation committee for the proposed national prayers and peace summit, which held in Lagos, the clergymen argued that the recommendation would serve as a way out of the country’s rising socio-economic and security challenges.
They urged the government to create an environment for fairness and equity for every Nigerian, stressing that it would help prevent a resurgence of the last #EndSARS protest that rocked the country.
The, meeting was under the auspices of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) , an agency under the presidency and was the first in the series of consultations, with others proposed for other parts of the country and with leaders of other faiths.
“The federal government should urgently revisit the report of the 2014 constitutional confab, pay attention to security and scale down the activities of insurgent groups.
“The government is paying lip service to the various issues of security, hunger and social justice. It should instead create an environment of fairness and equity for all and sundry,” the church leaders stated.
During the meeting which had the NCPC Executive Secretary, Rev. Yakubu Pam, in attendance, the church leaders further called on the government to resolve its issues with lecturers in the country’s universities to enable the youths return to school.
Some clerics who were in attendance included: Most Rev. Benebo Fubara Fubara-Manuel, President, Christian Council of Nigeria; Mrs. Laurenstia Mallam, Catholic Women Leader; I. M. Mukail, Youth leader, St. Mary’s Catholic Church Magboro; Ambassador Nnaemeka Akpee, National Youth President, Kingdom Ways Living Church and Pastor Wole Oladiyun, Senior Pastor, Christ Living Spring Apostolic Ministry.
Also present at the meeting were Pastor Chioma Ndeobi , Senior Pastor, Straight Gate International Church, Ikeja; Apostle Paul Ndeobi, General Overseer, Straight Gate International Church, Ikeja and Rev. Peace Goodday, Lead Pastor, Christ Believers Church.
Others were: Bishop Olufemi Bankole, Presiding Bishop, the Redeemer Apostolic Mission; Rt. Rev. Best Orike, CCN Church Bishop, Methodist Church of Nigeria; Most Rev. Alfred Martins, Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, who was represented by Rev. Fr. Vitalis Ezeigwe; Very Rev. Evans Onyemera, General Secretary, Christian Council of Nigeria and Pastor J. T. Kalejaiye, Redeemed Christian Church of God.
The communiqué listed others who attended the meeting as Superior Evangelist Mathew Oshoffa, Celestial Church of Christ; Mary Manzo, Evangelist, World Royal City Church and founder, Mary Elika foundation as well as Prof. M. A. Fadeyi, Presiding Bishop, Christian Faith Assembly Inc.
At the meeting, the leaders agreed that the church should set up a monitoring team in all the states to look at the level of general adherence to budget implementation.
Part of the release read: “Following deliberations, the leaders issued a communiqué yesterday with the following resolutions: The church should impress it on the federal government to take a cue on how the church leadership in Nigeria had embraced effective and efficient provision of services in the areas of education, electricity and healthcare, all with resources of the church.
“The church should set up budget monitoring teams at both federal and state levels to enhance national growth. The federal government should take urgent steps to direct universities in the country to resume academic activities in order to reduce youth restiveness.
“That the church should be co-opted to play a defined role in promoting grassroots development and that a role be provided for traditional rulers to enable them promote peace and development.”
The clergymen further urged the government to carry out a survey on Nigeria’s demography in order to pin-point key areas of needed social investment, noting that “ truth is the only factor that can heal the wounds in our country.”
They added: “The federal government should place high premium on human life, as the primary responsibility of every government is the promotion of the welfare of its citizens.
“Government should re-evaluate our educational system that places too much emphasis on paper qualifications, but instead promote the acquisition of technical skills that can engender more development.”
On the EndSARS crisis, they advised the church leadership to “liaise with its identified or perceived leaders and advise them to jettison any plan of embarking on a second protest, but to instead enter into dialogue with the federal government.”
The leaders admonished the church not to fail to play its expected strong spiritual role in building the conscience of the nation so that truth and justice can always be promoted.
“The church should preach the full gospel of Jesus Christ by speaking truth to the leadership of the country as everything that emanates from the pulpit collectively shape the social and political outlook of a country,” the group stressed.
Earlier, the NCPC Executive Secretary, Pam said that the meeting followed President Muhammadu Buhari’s support for the agency’s peace building, stressing that after extensive consultation with well-meaning Nigerians and stakeholders, the NCPC had started working towards the national summit.