THE COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE MEETING OF THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA (ANGLICAN COMMUNION) HELD FROM MONDAY, 21ST TO FRIDAY, 25TH FEBRUARY, 2022 AT ALL SAINTS CATHEDRAL, RUMUOKWURUSI AND ST. ANDREW’S ANGLICAN CHURCH, RUMUOBIOKANI DEANERY, OBIO, EVO DIOCESE, RIVERS STATE.
Introduction: The Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican communion} met under the guidance of’ the Holy Spirit, presided over by the Most Rev’d Dr. Henry Chukwudum Ndukuba, Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of the Church of Nigeria accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Angela Eberechukwu Ndukuba, President of the Women and Girls’ organizations at the All Saints’ Cathedral, Rumuokwurusi and St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Rumuobiokani Deanery, Evo Diocese, Obio; Rivers State from Monday, 21st to Friday, 25th February, 2022. In attendance were 161 Bishops, 151 Clergy and 94 Lay delegates.
The Standing Committee was welcomed by His Excellency Chief Barrister Nyesom Wike, the Executive Governor of River State. The Executive Governor of Delta State, His Excellency, Sir Sen. Dr. Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa, delivered the keynote address and also received the Church of Nigeria Award for Courageous and Purposefijt Leadership in Challenging Situation, Other recipients of the same award were His Excellency Hon. Samuel Ortom, the Executive Governor of Benue State, His Excellency Prof. Babagana Zulum, the Executive Governor of Bornu State ably represented by Barrister Simon Malgwi, Borno State Head of Service and the Senate Minority Leader of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Enyinnaya Harcourt Abaribe, the Senator representing Abia South Senatorial District of Abia State.
Theme: The theme of the Standing Committee Meeting was ‘The Christian’s Dual Citizenship and Responsibilities’ taken from Matthew 22: 20-22. Christians belong to the present world but are as well citizens of heaven, It is imperative that they live responsibly on earth in preparation for their heavenly home. Civic responsibilities such as payment of taxes, active participation in electoral processes, good neighbourliness, discipline and obedience to Government’s good regulation are veritable means of demonstrating commitment to heavenly citizenship. Every believer is called upon, therefore, to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God, without compromising their heavenly pursuit.
National Security: Insurgency, kidnapping, banditry and all manners Of criminality continue to bedevil our country. These security challenges are matters of national concern. The insincerity of purpose exhibited by the Government in many instances have provided a thriving platform for criminal activities to destroy the lives and properties of the innocent in our country. The Standing Committee notes that the lives of Nigerians, irrespective of religion, tribe or class, matters to God, and calls on Government to increase its effort at stemming the tide of insecurity in our country.
Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Industrial Action: The Standing Committee is disturbed by the ongoing one-month warning industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). ASUU has consistently accused Government of failure to keep the terms of agreement in the past. The Standing Committee calls on Government to give urgent and holistic attention to this matter once and for all in order to avert the myriad of inevitable future consequences of a destroyed educational system.
The 2023 General Elections: The Standing Committee calls on the citizenry to pray and be actively involved in working towards a peaceful electioneering process in 2023. It urges the Government to ensure non-interference in the affairs of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at all levels, and provide a level playing ground for all the parties including the electorate.
Removal of Oil Subsidy: The Standing Committee commends the Federal Government for suspending the further removal of oil subsidy which would have worsened the level of poverty in the land. It encourages the Federal Government to show greater commitment towards rehabilitating the moribund oil refineries in the country. It further calls on related Government agencies to exercise due diligence in monitoring the importation of oil and oil related products so as to avert the importation of adulterated products into the country as was recently experienced.
National Truth Peace and Reconciliation Commission: In the light of the prevailing high level of insecurity and agitations in the country, giving rise to all sorts of violence and utter disregard to the sanctity of human life, the Standing Committee suggests that a National Truth, Peace and Reconciliation Commission be constituted that will make concerted effort to reconcile all the antagonizing groups in the country.
Infrastructural Development and Transportation: The Standing Committee appreciates the efforts and actions of the Federal and State Governments in infrastructural development, but calls on the relevant authorities to work on the road leading into Port Harcourt, as it does not befit this oil rich State. In the same vein, actions should be taken to give other areas in the country a sense of belonging.
Environmental Degradation: The Standing Committee expresses worries over the level of environmental degradation owing to oil explorations in the Niger Delta region, and calls on the Government to curb the activities of illegal refineries and harness their potentials in setting up modular refineries.
National Economy: The Standing Committee applauds the efforts made to get the nation out of recession and urges the Government to provide the enabling environment for a private sector driven economy. In this regard the need for electricity, other industrial energy sources, cannot be over-emphasized. Standing Committee urges the Government to do everything possible to lay the foundation for a virile modem economy and be extremely careful about further external borrowing that jeopardize the future of the unborn generation.
Russia/ Ukraine Conflict: The Standing Committee notes with concern the present situation in the Eastern part of Ukraine, and calls on the Federal Government to urgently commence the process of evacuation of Nigerians in Russian and Ukraine as the war between world powers in the Eastern European country escalates.
Ritual Killings and Money Making: The Standing Committee notes with grave concern, the current preponderance of ritual killings for the purposes of acquiring wealth, especially, among our youths. The Standing Committee calls upon all Government agencies, parents, the Church and schools to rise up in our common interest to tackle this ugly menace and drug related issues.
Conclusion: The Standing Committee urges believers and citizens in general to show commitment to their earthly responsibility and civic duties as part of serving God purposefully because the “earth is the Lord’s and its fullness thereof’ (Psalm 24: I).
The Venerable Gershinen Paul Dajur, General Secretary, Church of Nigeria.
The Most Reverend Dr. Ali Buba Lamido, Dean, Church of Church of Nigeria.
The Most Reverend Henry Chukwudum Ndukuba, Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria.