21 September 2017

Nigeria: Educate Nigerians On Restructuring, Anglican Church Leader Charges Govt

The Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Nicholas Okoh has called for increased education on the possible impact of restructuring to enable Nigerians make an informed decision regarding the matter.

Mr. Okoh was speaking at an event to mark the 12th General Synod of the church in Port-Harcourt on Wednesday.

The cleric who noted that the calls for restructuring and even the break-up of the country have increased in the recent times added that Nigerians need to have a better understanding of restructuring if it is considered the way forward.

"In recent times, more than ever before, there have been calls from different parts of the country for a breakup or for restructuring. It is not everybody that understands this language of restructuring. We think that it may be necessary to adequately explain the full import of restructuring to those in the grassroots so that Nigerians may know what to really expect.

"Furthermore, is the restructuring going to be along the demarcation of the current six geo-political zones or along the old regional divisions of the country? Also what areas will devolve to the regions and what really will remain with the federal government. These and many other crucial questions need to be answered properly to enable the common people to know the difference between where we are now and where we are going, should restructuring be the way forward", Mr. Okoh said.

The call for a constitutional amendment that allows for restructuring was strengthened by recent agitations of groups especially the Independent People of Biafra, IPOB from the South-east who want to sever their relationship with the rest of the country.

The Senior Special Assistant to Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari on National Assembly Matters, Ita Enang, said on Sunday that the President has asked the National Assembly to handle matters arising from such agitation across the country for restructuring, in compliance with provisions of the constitution for such an amendment.

"I cannot as the chief executive, as head of government, do a thing that is different from what the constitution says. I have no power to amend the constitution.

"The person(s) who have the power to amend the constitution is the legislature and they are handling the process," Mr. Enang quoted the President, as saying.

But the Senate had in July voted against the constitutional amendment for some elements of restructuring when 48 out of 95 members present at the plenary voted against devolution of powers.

Meanwhile, the Anglican Bishop commended the effort of the government in restoring Christian and Islamic studies, according to the old school curriculum but warned against the re-introduction of the controversial curriculum in schools.

"The secondary school curriculum has generated quite a lot of controversy this year. Education is too important to be toiled with. We appeal to those who design our curriculum to be careful to avoid anything that will compromise our curriculum in any way. They must be aware especially that religion is a very sensitive aspect of our lives. And any attempt to toil with the faith of the people will have a negative outcome. So we hope that this will not be revived some few years after."

The Nigerian government had in July moved to ensure the restoration of the religious subjects as separate courses, following public outcry that greeted its decision to collapse the subjects under one course of study. The curriculum was initially revised in 2014, putting both Christian and religious studies as sub-themes under one subject.

Mr. Okoh also called on religious and traditional leaders to avoid speaking in support of corrupt public officials.

"In a situation where somebody is caught doing evil and traditional rulers, as well as church leaders, go to beg so that he can take away what he has stolen and steal continue in the same way, should be discouraged. It's not a healthy situation", Mr. Okoh said.


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