Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) on Tuesday, highlighted what they described as the true cause of moral and educational decadence in Nigeria, which, they said, led to total lost of value and societal breakdown.
The religious leaders said the social vices could directly be traced to the failure of moral education in schools and homes, which could be direct consequences of non involvement of churches in school management.
CBCN President, Archbishop Augustine Akubueze, who spoke at the 3rd National Catholic Education Summit in Abuja, recalled with nostalgia, the impressive level of discipline years ago when schools were under the missionaries.
He explained that the summit with the theme “catholic education in Nigeria: challenges of child protection and human sexuality” was an opportunity for the church to re-evaluate its educational success and challenges thus far, and possibly proffer realistic and superior solutions to identified challenges.
Chairman of the occasion, Dr. Obiora Okonkwo, in his remarks agreed with the position of the CBCN President as regards the cause of social breakdown.
He said: “Failure of moral education in Nigeria was truly the cause of the problem. It started with the hijack of missionary schools by the state. It also robbed the church of its wings and created nuisance out of schools and we started graduating half-baked graduates.
“Unarguably, greater percentage of human sexuality education was learnt, not at home nor school, but through social media. For us to return to the path of rectitude, we must launch a new soul-search. We must search our minds to know if we are teaching our children right and in accordance with the mandate of the Church.
“In addition to that, we must work with like-minds to ensure the return of schools to the church to continue the societal transformation they begun few decades ago.
He called on the Federal Government to open dialogue with Churches and missionary societies on returning their schools to them. This will be the first step towards recreating the society and building human beings that we could proudly defend.
“It will go a long way in helping us address the moral decadence that has led to high rate of criminality, including stealing and embezzlement of public funds in our society,” he said.
Chairman of CBCN education committee, Dr. Peter Kayode Odetoyinbo, appealed to participants to commit themselves to the summit, freely criticize existing practices and proffer superior solutions to identified challenges.
He told the gathering that time has come for quality education that would help Nigerian children discover hidden treasures, ask relevant questions and demand justice where and when necessary.