Methodist bishops have ended their thirty-ninth council in Lagos with a call on government at all levels to tackle poverty, insecurity and the closure of public universities.
At a news briefing at the Methodist Church of the Trinity, Tinubu Square, Lagos Island, the Prelate Methodist Church Nigeria, Dr Samuel Uche, said that the church was sad that public universities had been shut down since February.
He said the political class did not care about the fate of the poor children, and that was why the universities were still shut since February 14, 2022
Dr Uche, who echoed the decision of the Council as it is in the communique, said the children of the poor should not allow the politicians to use them to incite violence before, during and after the elections.
“Similarly, the Council laments the seeming inaction of the Federal Government over the current ASUU strike action, which has kept innocent students at home for more than two months. The Council says it becomes more paradoxical and deeply disturbing that while public universities are shut down, politicians jostling for the Presidential ticket of their political parties are busy acquiring nomination forms, some valued at
N100,000,000:00 (One hundred million naira) without recourse to the critical issue on ground. The Council believes this action is a slap on the face of Nigerians, especially parents whose children are forced to sit at home helplessly and haplessly, and it does not only show a high level of irresponsibility but lack of empathy, care and concern.
The Council warns that if the situation is not addressed, the Nation risks a series of End-SARS-like protests, which are already brewing in some States, which it strongly believes the Nation cannot afford at the moment when the economy is just recovering from the global COVID-19 pandemic which had an adverse effect on the world economy,” the communique reads.
Dr Uche said the government needed to address unemployment to solve insecurity and that moral decadence resulted from parental neglect of their responsibilities to children.
He said unemployment was at the root of insecurity, whereby educated young people with postgraduate degrees could not get any meaningful job.
“Still on the level of insecurity in the country, the Council advises President Muhammadu Buhari to revisit the country’s security architecture and rearrange it for efficient delivery. While recognising that so much has been spent on military hardware, change in personnel in some required areas, and meaningful spending on technology such as CCTV, Drones and other important technological advancements are steps that cannot be delayed further in the fight against terror and crime generally.
“The Council wonders why it is possible for kidnappers to use phones for their operations and despite efforts such as the registration of phone lines and NIN, such people cannot be traced and tracked and same for internet fraudsters and online scammers popularly known locally as ‘yahoo boys’, who receive proceeds from their criminal activities in Banks but yet cannot be identified despite BVN and various CBN Monetary Policies guiding Bank transactions. The Council opines that something drastic must be done to change the narratives and stop innocent Nigerians from losing their hard-earned money to these criminal elements who are presently operating without any restraint.”
While reading the communique of the Council, the Secretary of Conference, the Right Reverend Michael Akinwale said the bishops condemned the rising cases of killing and moral decadence in the society.
The Right Reverend Akinwale said the Methodist bishops noted that the time for the blame game had passed and that the government must do more to end hunger.
“On the State of the Nation, Council notes with regret the level of hunger and poverty being experienced by Nigerians especially the hoi polloi, the widening gap between the elites and the common people and a middle class which seems to have faded away. The Council says the time for blame game is gone rather, what the critical nature of the time we are in calls for is a collective action that will salvage the situation without any delay because no productive action could be a recipe for danger,” the bishops said.
The Methodist Bishops called on the people to actively participate in the 2023 elections and to do so by choosing credible leaders.
“On The 2023 General Elections, the Council of Bishops urges this be done in the atmosphere of love and harmony and not one filled with violence and wanton destruction of lives and property. It urges Nigerians to come together and rise above personal, sectional, religious or partisan interests and give room for a free and fair election. The Council further urges Christians to join politics, and also, all those eligible to vote must make it a point of duty to pick up their permanent voters cards (PVCs) to have a voice and a say in who governs us.
“The Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), should ensure that all necessary machineries are put in place to have credible, peaceful free and fair elections at all levels.”