…urge Nigerians to support, pray for the country
By Festus Ahon & Ochuko Akuopha, UGHELLI
GOVERNOR Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State and Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Sunday, said Nigeria was in tough and perilous times, urging Nigerians to continue to pray and support the government in tackling the security challenges bedevilling the country.
Speaking at Ughelli, Ughelli North Local Government Area, Delta State during the Third Season of the 8th Synod of the Ughelli Diocese, Anglican Communion, they, however, expressed optimism that the new leadership of the security agencies in the country would bring new strategies to tackle insecurity in the country.
Okowa said: “We are doing our best and we will continue to do our best to help our people and we thank God that at the federal level, there is a change of guard as it concerns security.”
The governor who also spoke on the contributory pensions scheme, described it as a huge financial burden, blaming the inability of states to meet up with it on their inability to understand its full operationality.
Saying that the state government entered into the scheme in 2007, he disclosed that no money was paid for past services up to 2015 amounting to over N100 billion.
“I have paid a few billion but it’s a far cry from the over N100 billion we are owing. It is something we are committed to and we will continue to do the best that we can and by the time we are able to pay the accruals it will no longer be a burden to subsequent governments,” he said.
Also speaking, Omo-Agege expressed fears that the death of Chadian President, Idris Deby, who he said was a strong ally of President Muhammadu Bihari in the fight against insurgency could worsen the security situation in Nigeria before it gets better.
He said: “His (Idris Deby) demise means his ability to hold the Lybian boarders is now in jeopardy. There is a likelihood of influx of not only insurgents but also illegal arms into Nigeria, so we need your prayers, we need your support, not just for Mr President but also for the new leadership of the security agencies.
“Security is a collective responsibility and not that of government alone; I, therefore, call on the Church to continue to preach those things that will bring us together as Nigerians and not those things that separate us based on ethnic division.”
In his homily, Anglican Bishop of the Niger West Diocese, Rt. Rev’d Johnson Ekwe, urged Christians to emulate the virtues of humility and meekness of Jesus Christ and live a pleasant life, like a sweet-smelling fragrance rising up to God.
Speaking on the theme: “We are Christ fragrance unto God: A critical examination of the Christian life,” he advised politicians and those in authority to “live a selfless life to serve the interest of the people they are leading.”
On his part, the Archbishop of the Bendel Province, Most Rev Cyril Odutemu, lamented that the state of insecurity in the country has degenerated to an alarming proportion.