Nigeria: Anglican Primate to Tinubu - Act Fast, Nigerians're Starving

12 February 2024

Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba, has implored President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to urgently tackle the growing hunger and economic hardship facing Nigerians.

In a communiqué issued after the Church's Standing Committee meeting in Abuja yesterday, signed by key church figures, including Primate Ndukuba, the Dean, Most Rev Blessing Enyindah and General Secretary, Ven. Gershinen Paul Dajur, the primate stressed the critical state of national affairs and called for repentance and resistance to apostasy.

The document spotlighted government's plans and policy directions, the fight against corruption, judiciary concerns, the faltering economy, and the neglect of quality education.

It also condemned ongoing attacks across several states and urged the government and security forces to uphold their duty to protect citizens and their property.

The communiqué, which also reiterated the need for a civil and democratic constitution that truly represents the populace, and ensures no group was sidelined or oppressed, read: "The standing committee meeting of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), therefore, calls on the President and government to rise to the occasion of the challenging issues facing the nation:

"All corrupt public office holders and their collaborators should be brought to book and disciplined accordingly. We call on the judiciary to do more to guarantee justice in the country.

"The Nigeria economy has been a subject of great concern due to its diverse and biting challenges. It is currently at its lowest ebb since independence with macro-economic indicators moving in discouraging directions. Monetary policies have been inconsistent, non-supportive of economic growth, ineffective and cost-push inflation has been out of control resulting in high food prices. Nigerians are hungry.

"We, therefore, call on the government to have a rethink on its penchant for external borrowing, give proper attention to fiscal policies, and diversify its economic base by harnessing our abundant natural resources.

"The standing committee meeting decries the constant attacks in Plateau, Zamfara, Ekiti, Ondo, Benue, parts of Imo and Anambra states and other parts of the country.

"It, therefore, calls on the government and statutory security agencies to rise to their responsibility of protection of the lives and property of the citizenry, giving heed to the call for effective community policing.

"We note with dismay the failure of government to provide quality education for her citizenry, which has compelled Nigerians to seek admission in other countries, thus spending huge sums of money in foreign countries, thereby weakening the naira.

"The standing committee renews her call for a totally civilian and democratic constitution made by a sovereign representation of her people and not the continuous amendment of a military formulated constitution. This will reflect the birthing of the government of the people in a new Nigeria."

During an extensive interaction with journalists, Archbishop Ndukuba addressed multiple pressing issues, including the purported involvement of religious organizations in sponsoring terrorism.

He called on the EFCC to operate independently and hold religious bodies accountable without generalizing.

"Religion is expected to be a source of solutions, not to add to societal issues. It's commendable that these issues are brought to public attention, but that's not sufficient.

"The EFCC should be permitted to perform its duties without interference, allowing religious organizations to be held accountable.

"We must avoid blanket judgments of all religious groups and instead focus on actions that promote national unity and progress. All citizens should have the freedom to pursue a good life.

"No reasonable religious person, whether Christian or Muslim, would support terrorism. Yet, the depth of our problems is revealed when identities are weaponized, leading to societal collapse. Those responsible must be held accountable," he stated.

On the potential Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, strike, the Primate advocated dialogue over conflict and suggested governmental measures to meet national requirements, including a cabinet reshuffle.

While highlighting the injustice of silencing public expression, he said: "Nigeria is a free country, and people should have the right to express themselves.

"I hope the government will implement policies that address the nation's needs, even if it requires a cabinet reshuffle. The people are hungry, and a hungry man is an angry man. It's unjust to silence their expressions.

"The government and the NLC leaders should pursue negotiation instead of confrontation. The release of those arrested during protests would serve to calm public anger, as selective justice is detrimental."

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