Communique Issued At The End of The Bishops And Wives Retreat At Bariga LagosJanuary 18, 2023
- NGOZI ADIGHIBE
- September 27, 2016
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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, met at the Cathedral Church of St. Faith, Awka, Anambra State, from 19th-23rd September, 2016. One Hundred and Forty Bishops, One Hundred and Sixty clergymen and Eighty-Two members of the House of Laity were present. At the opening ceremony, the Standing Committee welcomed His Excellency, Chief Dr. Willie M. Obiano, The Executive Governor of Anambra State, the former Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme as well as the Roman Catholic Bishop of Awka, The Most Rev’d Paulinus Okafor, who delivered goodwill messages.
THE THEME OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE
The theme of the Standing Committee was ‘Who is on the LORD’s side?’
(Exodus 32:26). At the end, the following Communique was issued:
Given that the Church, the Nation and the World have continued to grapple with so many challenges leading to increasing attitude of compromise, corruption and the likes, which separate us from the living God, the Standing Committee reaffirms as well as reminds the Church and all Christians:
- To always be guided by the scriptural stance which provides that all true Christians must take a stand with God in response to the question: who is on the LORD’s side? (Exodus 32.26)
- That standing on the fence or between opinions is as good as not standing with God which carries with it disastrous consequences. (1Kings 18.21)
That all who have truly believed, as they stand with. God, must speak out and engage the world as SALT and LIGHT against evil, darkness and championing the extension of Christ’s kingdom on earth.
“CHANGE BEGINS WITH ME” CAMPAIGN
The Standing Committee commends the Federal Government on her efforts towards bringing attitudinal change that will help our nation progress positively, and calls on all Nigerians, particularly the Church, to ensure the success of this initiative. We must restore queuing culture, healthy disposal of waste, healthy driving culture, etc.
COMMENDATION: ANAMBRA STATE
In appreciation and recognition of the good works being done by the Executive Governor of Anambra State, Chief Dr. Willie M. Obiano, in faithful payment of salaries, agriculture, infrastructure and economy of the state, the Standing Committee joyfully commends His Excellency and calls on other States to take a cue from this testimony.
As parts of the Anglican Communion continue to pursue a revisionist theological agenda and negate the place of God Word written, the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion restates its position that Christian marriage is a lifelong union between a man and a woman. That homosexuality and same sex relationships are not acceptable alternative or lifestyle, as our Church is a Bible believing Church. In many parts of the Anglican world, apostasy is the new orthodoxy. The Standing Committee believes now is the right time to ask the Anglican world, “who is on the LORD’s side?” Therefore the Standing Committee resolutely and unanimously supports the Primate of all Nigeria as he confronts ungodly and unbiblical developments within the Anglican Communion and calls all Anglican Christians, lay and ordained to a life of repentance, holiness and faithful dedication to the Lord Jesus Christ. No voice that speaks in anyway contrary to this faith from within Nigeria or abroad speaks in the name of this church.
ON NATIONAL SECURITY AND HERDSMEN
In spite of the promise made by the President that the herdsmen and similar threats will be firmly and decisively checkmated, the continuing menace and terrorizing of vulnerable communities have remained unchecked all around the country. Accordingly, the Federal Government is hereby urged, as a matter of urgency, to go a step further to disarm herdsmen, so that Nigeria can return to a state of peace.
The Standing Committee is disturbed by the spate of conflicting judgments from courts of coordinate jurisdictions on cases with similar facts and issues. This issue has lingered for such a long time; it has damaged the image of the judiciary. The National Judicial Council (NJC) is, therefore, called upon as a matter of urgency to take a critical look at these anomalies and apply sanctions where applicable.
ON MILITANCY AND NATIONAL ECONOMY
That our national economy is being adversely affected is no longer a secret. That oil production has nose-dived by 50% as a result of militancy in the Niger Delta can no longer be dismissed. Consequently, the Standing Committee calls on the Federal government to endeavour to review and strengthen its strategies in addressing this deteriorating situation while the aggrieved groups are enjoined to embrace dialogue and lay down their arms.
THE VALUE OF NAIRA AND THE NATIONAL ECONOMY
Considering the fact that the value of the Naira against the US Dollar has continued to decline, the Standing Committee calls on the relevant agencies, namely: CBN, the Ministry of Finance and the Economic Team at the Presidency to critically reappraise their current strategies and actions for better results, so as to arrest the current economic depression.
THE ISSUE OF UNPAID SALARIES ACROSS THE NATION
The Standing Committee notes with displeasure the great embarrassment caused by the huge proportions of salaries, gratuities and pensions owed across the country and the unbearable hardship it creates; the Standing Committee pleads with the Federal and State Governments to as a matter of national emergency attend to and clear the backlog of salary arrears.
ON CASES OF COLLAPSED BUILDINGS
The Standing Committee has observed with pain the use of substandard materials and the non-enlistment of the services of professionals in the construction industry thus leading to cases of repeated collapsed buildings in Nigeria with its attendant loss of innocent lives. All the relevant authorities are accordingly called upon to fully implement the existing laws and regulations pertaining to construction industries in order to curb this ugly trend.
ON TRANSPORT AND AVIATION
Undoubtedly, the crisis in the Aviation sector is compounding the economic situation of our nation. The attendant result is that pressure is put on our roads with its consequential increase in loss of lives. It is therefore most urgent that attention be given to this sector and action be expedited on the President’s promise of a new National Carrier. Opening our water ways for the movement of goods and services will be a great blessing to our Nation.
While identifying with the entire citizens of this nation on the challenges associated with economic recession as is being witnessed by all and sundry, the Standing Committee calls for a careful planning and proper management of individual and national economy to be able to come out of these difficult times. The Standing Committee advises the Federal Government not to sell National assets which are difficult to replace, but to appeal to Nigerians, individuals, companies, etc. to pay freewill tax to the Federal Government, to raise funds.
THE STATE OF THE FEDERAL ROADS
Having known that good and accessible roads are critical for agriculture, communications, commerce and development, the current deplorable state of roads across the nation has remained a matter of grave concern. The Standing Committee hereby calls the attention of the Federal Ministry of Works, Housing and Power to give a fresh attention to this matter most urgently.
ATTACKS ON CHRISTIANS
The Standing Committee expresses with deep concern the plight of Christians who are suffering in the hands of Islamic extremists in Nigeria and around the world, e.g. Kano, Katsina, Kubwa, Zamfara, etc. This increase in hostility towards Christians is preventing some of them from freely engaging in worship and Christian ministry. The Church of Nigeria respectfully asks all Christians to pray faithfully for God’s grace and protection for those who are persecuted and calls on all governments to ensure freedom of worship and where necessary, the protection of Christians who are under pressure around the world.
WHO IS ON THE LORD’S SIDE? “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perisheth, though it be tried by fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” (lPeter
1.7). As a Church and as a nation, let us take our stand in righteousness and integrity so that here and hereafter, we would remain on the LORD’s side; Amen.
The Most Rev’d Nicholar D. Okoh,
Primate of All Nigeria (Anglican Communion)