The role of the church in the society is more than spiritual growth and development of worshippers. It includes moral, security and social well-being of the people. This analysis by GOLOK NANMWA examines how the authorities of the Church of Christ in Nations, COCIN, in Jos, have prepared their readiness to cooperate with government towards socio-economic development.
To consolidate on the peace currently being enjoyed in Plateau State, the state government recently appealed to the church to partner with the state government in order to fight the ills of the society and to continue in promoting the rights and dignity of all mankind.
The role of the church is to unite the people of the state together regardless of tribal differences. The church is also saddled with the issues of preaching for the purpose of spiritual and moral revival and strength among citizens.
It could be recalled that Plateau State before now was crisis-ridden for over a decade leading to hundreds of loss of lives, while properties worth billions of naira were destroyed but peace has returned to the state and security operatives and government are working round the clock to ensure that the peace is sustained.
Governor Simon Lalong made the appeal recently while delivering his speech at the 90th General Church Council of the Church of Christ in Nations, COCIN, at the church headquarters in Jos the state capital.
Lalong said, “As a government, we are open to the advice and direction that the church will give for good governance and this we have proven with our desire to be with the church on the Plateau in order to bring development to our state.
“Let me call on all spiritual leaders and members of the church to continue to be on their knees in order to sustain prayers to God to help us sustain the peace we are now having in the state.
“I acknowledge the difficulties we are facing as government in view of the current economic downturn, but this situation notwithstanding, we are very much committed to ensuring we better the livelihood of our people and give opportunity to explore the potentials we have as a state so that they can live a meaningful life”, he said.
The state government has stated that payment of salaries which have almost been surmounted would be conquered in no distant time. The church leadership, it said, has a responsibility beyond what government require of them to bring members of the church in to fill understanding of the difficulties Nigeria as a whole is going through.
The task of addressing the many economic woes facing the state is no doubt difficult and would come with the hardship that people are currently facing, but the hoped that after the toils will come a season of fruitful harvest.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Gbong Gwom, Jos, Jacob Gyang called on citizens of the state to continue to sustain the peace in the state. Gyang also advised citizens of the state to embrace farming.
He Praised Governor Simon Lalong for his efforts towards restoring peace in the state.
COCIN president, Dr Dachollom Datiri, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his efforts at tackling insecurity and corruption in the country. He said “while the scourge of Boko Haram has slightly abated, brutal attacks by Fulani herdsmen have claimed hundreds of innocent lives in several parts of the country causing a national outcry. President Buhari’s response is commendable as long as it goes beyond just politically statement.
“We commend President Buhari’s efforts in fighting corruption. It must be stressed that fighting corruption must be seen as the collective responsibility of all Nigerians, the truth is that only true disciples have capacity to successfully fight it.
“As a church, we must be deliberate in stamping out all forms of corruption amongst us. Dr. Datiri, also said the regulation of Religious Preaching bill by the Kaduna State government is totally unacceptable and COCIN will reject this bill in it’s totally”, he said.
He also said the constitution of Nigerian does not discriminate against any religion, and the move by the Kaduna state government to restrict or regulate preaching is clearly a breach of the fundamental human rights of Christians.
On National Grazing Reserve, he said Nigerian law makers must appreciate the weight of trust and responsibility bestowed on them by the electorate. They must see themselves as those who ought to work for equity and defend the common people against those who would oppress and take advantage of others. “The idea of grazing reserves is barbaric“, he said.
In this civilised world, Nigerian lawmakers must reject this move aimed at keeping some people perpetually dominated. They also condemn in strong terms the frequent attacks by Fulani herdsmen on Local Farmers in the Middle belt, South East and South West of Nigeria and described it as barbaric.
”We condemns in strong terms the frequent attacks by Fulani herdsmen on Local farmers in the middle belt, South East and South West of Nigeria as archaic, barbaric, criminal and inhuman, and the spate of kidnapping and other forms of violence that is threatening the corporate existence of the Country”.
On fuel scarcity, Datiri said the last few weeks have been gruesome as citizens have been battling the fuel crises, in the midst of this unbearable situation, and as if to say that we have not seen anything yet, Nigerians were slammed at with the deregulation pronouncement and reality.
While it is being argued that this will help end the perennial fuel cries, it is not portraying a level of insensitivity on the part of government. What measures have been put in place to cushion the effects of deregulation? It is shameful that Nigeria has to go through such unbearable experiences when our country is a major producer of crude oil, he added.
He also called on members to take advantage of the federal government economic policy regarding funding of Small and Medium size Enterprises (SMEs), more particularly the agricultural loan facilities.
“Members of the church are encouraged to form and register cooperative organisations and Non Governmental Organisations. We resolve to further improve our sources of income in order to meet up with the growing financial needs of the church.
He therefore called on members of the church to develop their own strategic plan in line with that of the General Church Council within. As a church, he said they were calling on the federal government to fulfil her promises to provide palliative measures to cushion the hardship being suffered by citizens as a result of the increase of fuel pump price.