Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia
The Aba Diocese of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, has waded into the contentious sacking of workers by the Abia State Government, and urged the state Governor, Alex Otti, to reverse the policy.
Thousands of workers, comprising those employed at the end of last administration and those considered to be drawing salary as “ghost workers” were “cleaned out” from the government payroll.
But the Church, rising from the Third Session of its 17th Synod, said sacking of civil servants “worsens the hardship in the society and fuels all vices associated with unemployment.”
The stance of the Church on the retrenchment exercise was contained in the communique signed by the Bishop of Aba Diocese, Anglican Communion, Rev. Christian Ugwuzo, and the Clerical Synod Secretary, Venerable Innocent Ogbonna.
It made it clear that it was not in support of the last minute mass employment carried out by the outgone administration of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.
However, the Church noted that sacking workers would not right the wrong already done, hence it counseled Otti to retrace his steps and allow the affected workers to keep their jobs.
The Church also reminded Otti of his campaign promises of improving the welfare of the people, adding that kicking workers out would negate his vision for a better Abia State.
The Synod was constituted by 12 bishops, 147 clergymen and 203 members of the House of Laity, who also participated in the activities marking the golden jubilee anniversary of the diocese.
“The Synod urges the present government in Abia State to explore opportunities for development in such areas as building modular refineries in oil producing areas of the state, and establish air and sea ports,” the communique read.
It also advised Otti to engage in “promoting tourism and local industrialisation in order to boost the economy, create employment opportunities and generally improve the lives of Abians and other residents.”
The Church Synod also lashed out at the federal government over the abrupt removal of petroleum subsidy with its attendant hardships, inflation and deepening of poverty.
It, therefore, called for “an urgent intervention of the federal government in the education sector” to end the prevailing situation of going to school in tears.