Head of the Abuja Ecclesiastical Province of the Catholic Church, His Eminence John Onaiyekan, has urged state governments to return all missionary schools to their original owners in order to stem the steady decline of standards in the education sector.
Onaiyekan stated this at the weekend, in a sermon he delivered during a Thanksgiving Mass and Reception organised for him by his alma mater and Old Boys of Mount St. Michaels' Secondary School, Aliade in Benue State.
He said: "The takeover of missionary schools by state governments was wrong as it has not helped the sector in any way whatsoever, given the steady declining standards in that education.
"That is why it has become imperative for state governments to return the missionary schools to their rightful owners without further delay. What government need do is to collaborate with the owners of such schools and assist in whatever way possible, because you cannot take over what does not belong to you.
"The missions should be allowed to run the schools, so that we can properly bring up our children in the right way possible; until this is done, the schools will continue to yearn for a return to their original owners just as the standards in our education sector will continue to deteriorate."
Onaiyekan also gave insight into how the Catholic church may select its new Pope as he declared that the selection of a new Pope to replace the ailing Benedict XVI would be based on the cardinal laws of the church and not on any other consideration.
He added that the "Cardinals will be directed by the will of God in the selection process so that at the end of the day, whoever emerges will be God's chosen."
While taking his reading from the book of Matthew 16:13-19 he said: "We (Cardinals) will follow laid down canon laws when we go to the conclave to select a new Pope."
He noted that despite the unexpected resignation of Pope Benedict Benedict, "the Church is standing firm and matching on."
Earlier in a courtesy call on Governor Gabriel Suswam, Onaiyekan had lauded the stat government for ensuring a cordial relationship with the church.
In his response, Suswam urged parents to bring up their children in the fear of God so that Nigeria could produce more Cardinals in the near future.