President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday sought more prayers from Catholic Bishops, saying what the country needed at the moment was more prayers to be able to defeat the insurgents terrorising Nigerians.
Speaking at the opening session of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) held at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral, Area 3, Abuja, told the bishops that their prayers had kept the country united.
“We need more prayers to end terrorism. With prayers and the measures put in place, we will surmount the challenges”, the president said, even as he expressed hope that with the efforts by his administration, terrorism would soon become a thing of the past in the country.
Noting that his administration would continue to collaborate with the church to boost education in the country, Jonathan acknowledged the role played by the church and other Christian groups in the evolution and continued growth of western education in Nigeria, adding that the nationalisation of mission schools had affected the moral growth of the education sector.
He said: “I commend the state governments which are partnering with churches to improve the quality of schools as mentioned by the bishop. I also urge other state government to do so in their states. On our part, we are committed to the necessary dialogue with the church and other stakeholders that will move education forward.
“We have devoted more resources to the sector. We have increased school enrolment and improved infrastructure. We are doing our best to resolve industrial crises which are mostly due to inherited problems that are not caused by our administration.”
The CBCN president, Arch Bishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama who had earlier called for partnership between church, private sector and government to improve education adding noted that state governments including Benue, Anambra, Imo ,Ebonyi, Lagos, Ekiti among others deserved commendation for their efforts in that regard.
Noting that schools taken from religious bodies should be returned and a sizable amount sent to the schools annually by government, the Arch Bishop prayed for the spirit of forgiveness.
He said the conference should border more on accountability, education, health, infrastructure and welfare for youths and pensioners.
Kaigama saod, “The conference shouldn’t be about regional agitations, sharing of resources and division of the country,” he said. If the conference focuses on the real issues of solving the real problems, all other agitations will become unnecessary”.
He noted that Nigerian Catholic Church is not against gay rights but is against its legalisation which is an affront on the religion and African culture.
On his part, Senate President, David Mark condemned the nationalisation of mission schools, saying it was a mistake.
Blaming the nationalisation of the unity schools for the moral decadence in schools, Mark added that government must be careful in giving licenses to religious groups to run schools so that the country will not return to another mess.