The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria has commended President Goodluck Jonathan for his efforts in tackling the Boko Haram menace.
It, however, called for a more holistic approach which includes strengthening the security apparatus in terms of equipment and personnel as well as seeking a more effective global network against terrorism as the Boko Haram sect has been linked with external sponsorship.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the quarterly meeting of its General Assembly Executive Committee (GAEC), the Churchb urged the government to listen to the cries and advice of the National Assembly, the Church and other religious bodies and civil rights organizations.
The church in the fourteen-point communiqué, jointly signed by the Prelate and Moderator of the General Assembly, The Most Rev. Prof. Emele Mba Uka and the Principal Clerk, Rev. Ndukwe Nwachukwu Eme, reiterated its position that all the refineries in the country should be reactivated and new ones built in order to ensure the local refining of the nation’s fuel demands, thus eliminating importation and the subsidy associated with it.
This will also generate employment and guarantee prompt and adequate supply of petroleum products at affordable prices.
The Church also called on President Goodluck Jonathan to re-think his plan to ban the importation of rice which is a major staple food in the country.
The Church said that although it appreciated the reason for the planned ban which is to encourage the local production of rice, it believed that the Government should first put in place the mechanism for effective and successful mass cultivation, harvesting, transportation and storage of locally grown rice in such quantity and quality that would meet consumer demands before embarking on the ban. This, the Church added, was in order not to aggravate food shortage and hunger.
On Constitution Amendment, the Church commended President Jonathan for inaugurating the Presidential Committee on the review of outstanding constitutional issues, and again reiterated its stand that the review of the 1999 Constitution should enshrine the principle of true federalism in which each State will control the resources within its bounds.
It also called on the Committee to look into other areas like States Creation, the Immunity Clause and the need to strengthen the status of Nigeria as a secular State where all religions thrive side by side and particular religion rules.
The Church also expressed worry over the statistics released by the Ministry of Youth Development to the effect that 28. 14 million youths, representing 24% of the total population of this country are unemployed.
It called on the Government to be alive to its responsibilities in the area of youth empowerment as it is obvious that a people who neglect their youths mortgage their future.
On roads rehabilitation, the Church urged the Government to pursue vigorously its road construction and maintenance projects in the face of the very deplorable condition of roads in Nigeria.
The Church named particularly the Lagos-Benin road, the Onitsha-Aba and Onitsha-Enugu roads, the Aba-Ikot-Ekpene to Calabar road, the Port Harcourt-Enugu expressway, the Calabar-Ogoja highway and other major city and inter-city roads.
It stressed the importance of a good road network in enhancing human and goods transportation, thereby developing the socio-economic life of the people.