Saturday, February 24, 2024

Baptist Convention urges FG to address challenges to save Nigeria from crises

Uba Group
To save Nigeria from the multiplying challenges staring the people in the face, the Federal Government has been urged to be proactive by carrying stakeholders along in problem solving.

The President, Nigerian Baptist Convention, Rev. Israel Akanji, made the call on Monday during the presentation of the Communique issued after the 109th Nigerian Baptist Convention in session held at the Baptist International Convention Centre, Lufuwape Village, Kilometer 54, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

The communiqué was issued in view of the happenings in the Baptist Convention, the nation and the world at large.

Akanji, while presenting the communique, lamented the unabating security challenges in Nigeria, the protracted ASUU strike, the lingering hijab crisis in Kwara State and also called for decorum within the polity with the approach of the 2023 general election.

The communiqué read, “The security challenge in Nigeria has escalated beyond imagination and all efforts by state authorities to reduce the menace have all proved abortive. For instance, we are constantly told that so much is being done on security, but
the effect is definitely insufficient. Terrorist activities in almost every part of the country have rendered useless the Nigeria’s security architecture leading to several voices calling for various options such as overhauling the security
architecture, implementation of state policing, strengthening the Joint Task Forces and increasing security cooperation with other nations, among
other necessary steps.

“In the midst of our current situation in which motor and
rail roads are attacked by bandits and terrorists; communities are attacked and sacked; farmers are unable to go to farm, genuine herders cry of rustling; kidnapping of people and collection of ransom has become a big industry;
there are persists gruesome murder of people in their communities, (including
little children), rape and all forms of violation are on the increase and political will appears to be weak.

“There is no doubt that security is a necessary ingredient for the growth, progress and political stability of any society. Security is vital for survival. An insecure country cannot survive as a free and self-respecting member of the
committee of nations. As a denomination, we appreciate the government for the efforts made so far to curb security challenges in the country.

“In the interim, we urge government to swallow pride and engage
international help in various efforts to decapitate terrorist groups in
Nigeria. We strongly call on government to take more pragmatic steps at
dealing with the issues of insecurity in our land such as in-depth
researches of security challenges to identify the root causes
and develop actionable solutions that will curb terrorism, banditry,
kidnapping, armed robbery, herdsmen/farmers’ clashes and other organised crimes in the country.

“We strongly advise
government to cultivate the culture of good governance and invest
massively in education, skills acquisition and provision of
employment at all levels. We strongly advise government to enforce laws to check abuse of the media from disseminating falsehood, malicious and fake news.”

It called for adequate surveillance and intelligence gathering to tackle security challenges, while also tasking the government to do everything to address the issue of corruption.

The communique read that “To entrench social justice in Nigeria, government is strongly advised not to compromise corruption cases
in the country. The judiciary is urged to stop adjourning corruption cases endlessly. Government is strongly advised to put in place incentive methods, good conditions of service and social security to achieve social justice in Nigeria. We also implore government to create job opportunities for teeming
youths currently roaming the street to enable them contribute their
quota to life and livelihood.

“We observed with pain the current strike actions embarked upon by the workers’ unions in our public universities. The three unions involved in the strike are ASUU, SSANU and NASU. In the Nigerian context, a strike is seen as
the last resort when all other efforts have proved abortive. However, this
action comes with some unpleasant effects on the affected sector. ASUU strikes has done more harm than good on the education sector with students bearing most of the accruing costs from the occurrences.

“We observed that some of the demands of University lecturers are germane. One of the recurring issues is the underfunding of the education sector. We strongly advise government to quickly resolve the ongoing crisis. Each
party must be ready to understand the other and be willing to
place national interest above ego”l and short-terms political
consideration. We seriously urge government at state and federal levels to increase budgetary allocation to education in line with the UNESCO benchmark of 15per cent and 20per cent annually.”

On the coming general election, it read that “While we shall be praying that God will choose for us leaders after His heart, we seriously implore our political
parties to field God-fearing candidates in the coming general election in the interest of our common good.

“We observed with pain that due to the hijab crisis in Kwara State, the state government had closed Oyun Baptist Secondary School, Ijagbo. For 50 years, the school existed without the use of hijab because it is a Baptist Mission
School with its philosophy of education and student life. Hijab had never been a part of the dress code and in the pursuit of peace, it is not supposed to be
imposed on the school. The Baptist denomination, (like other Churches) has been providing education in Nigeria for 167 years (since 1855) and in every part of the country, spanning primary, secondary and tertiary levels. It is expected that the cordiality and inclusiveness of our operations are respected
and that the state government, which promised to find a lasting solution to the hijab crisis, should not look away from the school, which has remained
shut till now.

“It is also expected that other Christian schools in other parts of
the state should be allowed the freedom to express their longstanding philosophies of operation which contributed immensely to the
development of our country.

“Premised on the above, we hereby strongly appeal to the Governor of Kwara State, Abdulrazaq Abdulrahman, to reopen the Oyun Baptist Secondary School, Ijagbo, which was shut down over hijab
controversy, so that the students can continue with their education, and particularly, to enable the final year students to write their WAEC.”

The 2022 Convention-in-Session, held between Saturday, April 23 and Thursday, April 28, with the theme, ‘Entering into newness
with praise and thanksgiving,’ was said to have been targeted at ushering a new beginning and a new chapter for the church and the nation at large.

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