The Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the leadership of the Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh, Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria with his wife Mrs. Nkasiobi Okoh, President of the Women and Girls’ Organisations in attendance, met at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library Complex Abeokuta, Ogun State, from 20th-24th February, 2017. One Hundred and Fifty-Seven Bishops, One Hundred and Forty-One clergymen and Eighty-Four members of the House of Laity were present. At the opening ceremony, the Standing Committee welcomed His Excellency, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, The Executive Governor of Ogun State of Nigeria, the former Head of Interim Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan, as well as the immediate past Primate, The Most Rev Peter J. Akinola and Kabiyesi, Oba Michael Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, the Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbaland who delivered goodwill messages. The opening session was also graced with the presence of the mother of the Acting President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mrs. Olabisi Osinbajo.
THE THEME OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE
The theme of the Standing Committee meeting was ‘I AM WHO I AM?’
At the end, the following Communiqué was issued:
At a time like this in the history of our country when we seem to be hopeless, crying for who will deliver us from the bondage of economic recession, insecurity in the nation, deterioration of our social amenities, inadequate medical system, substandard educational system, and political tension, the Standing Committee reminds all:
- That God’s unconditional faithfulness is the perfect assurance that we have a future which no one or system, and not even the raging sin within, and troubles without can destroy.
- That we surely need the intervention of God to deliver and help us. To that extent we need to cry out to God at all times in repentance for God cannot answer us in sin.
- That we all must bear in mind that Yahweh is constantly with his people, in all circumstances and will ensure that the believer is safe both physically and spiritually.
GOODWILL TO THE PRESIDENT
While praying for the quick recovery of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari and his safe return to the country soonest, the Standing Committee urges Nigerians to imbibe positive disposition towards our national leaders especially in times of health challenges as they are also human.
FEEDING OF PUPILS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
The decision of the Federal Government to keep to her electoral promise by providing a meal each day for pupils in public schools is a welcomed development. The Standing Committee advises that this act of benevolence be extended to all States of the Federation. However the Committee strongly believes that investing more in quality education with a view to producing sound minds should be the goal of policies in this critical sector.
ALLOWANCES TO POOR PEOPLE
The Standing Committee appreciates the Federal Government’s demonstration of concern towards the down trodden through the recent payments made to the poor in the society and recommends that extra efforts be made to put in place the machinery that will guide against diversion and abuse of funds, ensure its sustainability and possibly, formulate long lasting economic policies that will create jobs for the teeming youths of our great country. Government is further enjoined to ensure that this exercise must not turn out to be a source of political compensation.
RESTORATION OF PEACE TO THE NORTH EAST
In appreciation and recognition of the concerted efforts of the Federal Government against terrorism that has seen peace and normalcy now returning to the North East of Nigeria, the Standing Committee requests the Federal Government to provide adequate security for the returning displaced people, to prevent the chances of repeat attacks. As much as the Standing Committee rejoices over the news of some members of the Boko Haram sect surrendering themselves, Government is advised to ensure that these calibre of persons do not find their ways into our national security organizations.
The Standing Committee restates its support and commitment to the zero tolerance for corruption policy of the Federal Government. It recommends that the war should be spread across all tiers and arms of Government while those with the mandate to act should eschew personal interest, political vendetta and bitterness so as to ensure, that there is true sense of justice in their actions. It is also believed that setting up of SPECIAL COURTS to try cases of corruption with time limit to such cases, as it is with electoral matters, will be the best way forward.
It has now become a common knowledge that some individuals in the same country bear arms freely and others cannot. Also certain, is the experience that the spate of kidnapping is not abating. The Standing Committee views these acts as unconstitutional and discriminatory besides the fact that it is capable of perpetuating crimes increasingly and threatening permanent peace. The Committee therefore calls for a firm and deliberate policy devoid of any sentimental considerations to disarm and stamp out the menace of these herdsmen. The Federal Government should muster the political will to achieve this.
SOUTHERN KADUNA KILLINGS
The continual merciless killings of innocent people especially Christians in Southern Kaduna, is becoming unbearable and intolerable. Most disturbing is the continuing ineffectiveness of the State and Federal Governments in controlling and bringing to an end these acts of terrorism. As a matter of urgency the Standing Committee calls on governments at all levels to take drastic actions that would usher in lasting peace and solution to this unending conflict.
ON ESCALATING PRICES OF STAPLE FOODS IN NIGERIA
While identifying with Government on her robust Agricultural policies and the improvement so far recorded, the Standing Committee expresses great concern over the very high cost of food in the country and urges the Federal Government to do something fast in this respect while at the same time calling on the citizenry to embrace agriculture and go back to the farm.
By the indications of several economic indices, the Nigerian economy is evidently buffeted on every side and this trend is most disturbing. With deep concern therefore, the Standing Committee calls on the Federal and State Governments to introduce interim food relief and subsidy intervention that will cushion the effect of hunger and poverty in the land bearing in mind the policies as they are presently may not be beneficial to the citizenry if they die and do not live to enjoy it.
The effect of the present economic recession in the country is taking a very heavy toll on the citizenry. This is no doubt largely due to long years of failure to plan strategically. The Standing Committee accordingly, urges that bold steps be taken to reduce hunger and poverty in the land to reduce anger and frustration which are gradually building up. The need to guide against the consequence of civil unrest at this stage of our national development is further emphasized.
The Standing Committee is terribly worried that even in the face of the prevailing economic situation across the country the life style of most public officers are not affected. A situation where long convoys, retinue of attendants and lavish social outings indicative of insensitivity to the good and greater number of the citizens who are living between hunger and death is highly bemoaned. The Committee therefore calls on the government to reverse this trend and give the impression that our leaders are ones with those they are leading.
ON THE NATIONAL YOUTH SERVICE CORPS (NYSC)
At its inception this scheme stood out with great promise for nation building as it was well funded and managed. The Standing Committee however notes with disappointment that today it is tottering as it faces inadequate funding, security challenges, scheduling delays with the attendant call up gaps. The need to review the scheme and strengthen it is hereby advocated.
The Standing Committee fully resolves to uphold, support and further extend the principles and mission of GAFCON and hereby renews commitment to its vision.
The ‘I AM WHO I AM’ is the God of all nations who is in charge of all situations and circumstances. He moves in mysterious ways and hides His face behind frowning providence. Knowing Him, obeying Him, fearing Him and working with His precepts is key to attracting His intervention to the numerous problems facing us as a nation. The assurance that He is the Almighty who alone created the whole universe out of nothing should inspire and encourage us not to despair in the face of the prevailing challenges. Thus the assurances of the Psalmist must renew our confidence that, God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea. Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. (Ps. 46:1-3 & 10).
+ Nicholas D. Okoh
Primate of All Nigeria
Download Pdf:Communique(Egba SCM, 2017)