Anglican Church rejects emergency rule in Borno, others; calls for National Conference

The Primate of the Anglican Church stated this on Monday.

The Primate of All Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Nicholas Okoh, on Monday opposed the call for emergency rule in parts of the country affected by armed conflict.

Mr. Okoh said this in Abuja at a press conference on the forthcoming 2013 Synod session of the Abuja Diocese of the Anglican Communion.

He said that government should rather support a national dialogue by various interest groups to address the myriad of problems militating against the country’s quest for socio-economic development.

The Primate advised the Federal Government to pursue a comprehensive security programme to address some of the glaring signs of increasing insecurity in the country. He said that efforts by the Federal Government to resolve uprising in parts of the country in the past through emergency rule did not yield any result hence, the need for a different approach.

“I believe that insecurity should be addressed comprehensively, the Federal Government had tried this emergency rule in other parts of the country but it didn’t work,” he said.

“Thinking and reflecting is very crucial at this moment, there is need for all of us as stakeholders to meet and reflect about our country. Whatever name they want to call it, whether national conference or stakeholders’ conference, national dialogue, the point is that, there is need for Nigerians to talk about how they want to live together.”

Mr. Okoh, who spoke on a wide range of national issues, also urged the Federal Government to urgently disarm Fulani herdsmen who were terrorising farmers across the country. He warned that the situation might degenerate if something drastic was not done to address the menace of clashes between herdsmen and farmers across the country.

The cleric said that arms-build by local herdsmen and the growing tension in the rural areas was not cheering to anyone who wished the country well.

On the amnesty for the Boko Haram sect, Okoh said that the Anglican Church was opposed to Federal Government’s approach, noting that, amnesty should not be negotiated on the terms of the insurgents.

The primate said that the Boko Haram insurgency should not be seen as a northern or Islamic phenomenon but an issue of national security that required the inputs of as many Nigerians as possible. He said skewing the membership of the committee to a few persons from the north is unacceptable and will be counterproductive.

He also said that any form of negotiations with representatives of the sect should be made public and should reflect various interests across the country.

“As desirable as we must have peace, we must not have peace negotiated on the terms of Boko Haram,” he said.

“The matter of Boko Haram is not a northern issue, it is not an Islamic affairs but a national security issue. That is why every section of the country that have been touched by the crisis must have input in the peace building process.

“One would love to have a situation where amnesty is the climax of a long process of discussion and we want the discussion to be made public and not in secret.’’

Mr. Okoh urged the Federal Government to reconstitute the committee on Boko Haram to reflect the variety of voices that had been affected in the crisis.

The primate said that the forthcoming synod session of the church would come up with more suggestions on how to address some of the challenges confronting the nation.

The opening session of the synod comes up on Thursday, May 16 and would close on Sunday, May 19.



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