From Gyang Bere, Jos
Church leaders in the South-East have said that the quest for an Igbo president in 2023 should be amplified through consensus-building and mutual understanding with other regions for its actualisation.
This was contained in a communiqué signed at the end of the South-East peace meeting convened by the Executive Secretary, Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), Rev Yakubu Pam, held in Enugu State.
The communiqué, which was signed by the Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), South-East, Bishop Goddy Okafor, and other religious leaders, said peace is non-negotiable in the region.
‘The quest for Igbo presidency should be amplified through extensive consensus-buildiing with other tribes for it to be actualised in 2023,’ he stated.
‘There is need for the reform of the electoral process to enhance credibility and acceptability. It was equally agreed by the church leaders that the perennial security challenges facing the country have created a gulf between the governed and the government which has led to despondency.’
The communiqué affirmed that security and conflict resolution should be taught from primary to tertiary institutions to enable Nigerians imbibe the essence of peace.
The meeting also resolved that security should be beefed up in every part of the country and particularly the borders to curtail the migration of criminal elements into the country.
The religious leaders admonished Nigerians to learn how to build bridges of friendship and tolerance to live in peace with one another.
‘In spite of the numerous challenges that have bedevilled Nigeria, insecurity has posed the biggest problem to the citizenry mainly arising from herdsman farmers conflicts making Nigerians to live in perpetual fear, distrust and apathy towards the affairs of government.’
The religious leaders advised government to abolish open grazing without further delay as a way forward in resolving the issues.
The church leaders urged the federal government to ensure that appointment into key positions in the security agencies should be based on merit and equitable criteria, not on ethnic and religious considerations.
They emphasised that the people of South-East should be given a fair consideration in the appointment of persons at the federal level.
The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission, Rev Yakubu Pam, said the peace meeting was convened to bring church leaders together to interact and recommend the way forward for peace in Nigeria.
Stakeholders at the meeting comprising of church leaders from the five states in the South-East who converged at Sylvia Hotel Enugu to discuss the security challenges in the zone.
All the Chairmen of the Christian Association of Nigeria and some of the state secretaries of CAN in the five South-East states attended the peace meeting alongside other Christian leaders in the region.