Primate decry economy hardship, canvass new Constitution
By Bridget Ikyado
The Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) Arch Bishop Henry Ndukuba says Nigeria needs a new Constitution for a strong and stable future.
Ndukuba said this while addressing the 2023 Conference of Chancellors, Registrars and Legal Officers organised by the church on Tuesday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the conference was tilted, “Ebenezer: Hitherto Had the Lord Helped Us’.
Ndukuba said that a Constitution will ensure true federalism and reflects the aspirations of all Nigerians is what to achieve the desired nation.
“Nigeria needs a new constitution as a foundation for a strong and stable future. We commend the National Assembly on their efforts to review the current Constitution.
“One is convinced that it is a totally new Constitution made by the sovereign representatives of all the ethnic nationalities of this country is what we need.
“The current constitution has limitations that hinders the nation’s growth and stability and to address pressing issues and lay a solid foundation for a stronger future.
“Nigeria must embark on the essential task of crafting a new constitution that reflects the aspirations and values of all peoples and cultures writhing Nigeria.
“This new constitution must reflect the nation’s identity and diversity as a unifying force that recognise and protects our diversity.
“It must strengthen federalism and decentralised aspects that will help healthy cooperation and growth among the constituting state.
“We need a new constitution that will reenforce true federalism and granting states more powers to address local challenges and drive developmental initiatives,” he said
The cleric said that integrity of the nation’s judiciary and by extension the legal arms of the church is under global scrutiny.
According to him, our learned judges, magistrate and lawyers in their hallowed chambers must know that they are under the trial of conscience and posterity in view of the ongoing election tribunals and the various cases of injustices and criminalities, unlawful arrests and remands.
He said that most Nigerians have developed doubts or have lost trust and are now pessimistic on both security infrastructure as well as the judiciary.
The primate charged Christians learned in the law of God and law of the land, to be different as the salt and the light of the earth in order to redeem the tattered image of the judiciary.
Ndukuba said that Nigeria has gone through what has turn the fabrics of many nations and plunged them into civil war but God has kept Nigeria.
The untold hardship which has come upon the citizens since May 29, 2023 is indescribably and unbearable.
“The removal of petrol subsidy and the corresponding hike in petrol price without a corresponding measure to cushion its effect on the citizens leaves much to be desired.
“It is getting worse with the treat of strike actions by Labour unions and others; we are sitting on a keg of gun powder.
“Our economy has suffered so much setbacks and the common man on the street is battered economically.
“The prices of things continue to increase indiscriminately, workers can no longer pay the cost of their transportation to work; the adverse effect of the economy on the average family is excruciating,” he said.
The primate said that the current unstable and exorbitant exchange rate of naira to dollar and other foreign currencies needs urgent attention.
He charged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to rise up to its responsibilities and ensure that the situation is arrested.
Ndukuba decried the country’s foreign rising debt profile saying that it remains a thing of concern.
He said more disturbing is the propensity of which government engages in international loan which internal generation revenue cannot pay or service our debt.
“The great monster of corruption is endemic, as Christians we must rise and make a difference; we cannot afford to be accumulating debts capable of enslaving our future generations.
“The government need to create enabling environment for the small scale entrepreneurs and businesses to strive.
“We need to check the excessive cost of governance in the country; even when they borrow money, some of it ends up in the pocket of greedy leaders.
“If we are not careful, a time will come when the cost of sustaining the retired governors will be more the resources that come to some states, this must be checked,” he said.
Ndukuba said that insecurity has been a challenge as many people have lost their homes, livelihoods, lives and property.
According to him, we are constantly under attacks in our nation and in some parts of our nation, some of our churches have been decimated, members are kidnapped, some are killed by unidentified gunmen.
The cleric said that the recent attacks in several places in the country is very disturbing saying that the lives of Nigerians irrespective of tribe or religion matters to God and to the nation.
“We have come to a point where something must be done in other to secure the lives and property of Nigerians.
“When you consider the incidences of coup de tar in some West African countries is quite disturbing; the most recent is our neighbour Niger.
“If care is not taken, when something happens to Niger, where will the people go? They will come into Nigeria, they will come with their problems and complicate the already complicated situation.
“We must sound a note of warning to those who want to hear, Nigeria must be careful of anything that leads to military intervention because it may backfire.
“We have heard a lot of problems of our own, let us not add more,” he said.
The primate expressed worry at rate of which Nigeria is experiencing mass exodus of young people and professionals.
He said the migration is a threat to the future of this country stressing need to be checked and arrest the menace.
Ndukuba said that the collapse of the nation’s educational system is becoming irreversible, the Federal Government seem to have lost heir bearing as to what to do.
“We can see this as an opportunity as a church to rise up to build; the reality is that our future is this young people and must no be jeopadised.
“This is an opportunity for dioceses to engage in building of educational institutions to educate our people and this we encourage our dioceses to do and invest massively in the medication of our people especially the young ones,” he said.