By Sam Oditah
The Methodist Archbishop of Umuahia, Abia State, Most Rev. Chibuzo Opoko, has commended the Federal Government for sustaining the war against corruption.
Opoko made the commendation on Monday at the end of the church 56th Annual Diocesan Synod held at the All Saints Cathedral, Umuahia.
“The uncovering of alleged looted funds hidden in odd places such as cemeteries, uninhabited huts and uncompleted buildings, proved that Nigerians are fantastically corrupt, as alleged by former British Prime Minister, Mr David Cameron.
“Corruption is endemic, it has destroyed our economy, it has destroyed us as a nation, and brought Nigeria’s image to disrepute before the international community,” he said.
The archbishop expressed concern that the monies, which were reportedly looted by a few Nigerians, would be enough to set up industries and create job opportunities for teeming unemployed graduates.
The synod, however, urged the Federal Government to sustain the war and use the recovered funds to establish industries that would provide employments for the youth.
The cleric requested that the culprits should be exposed and prosecuted to serve as deterrent to other potential looters.
Opoko also commended the whistle blowing policy which had led to recovery of looted billions of naira.
He warned that there should not be sacred cows, saying that the fight should be holistic and total rather than selective.
“If it is selective, then it is condemnable and it should cut across party lines, institutions and persons, no matter one’s social standing in the society,” he said.
The archbishop called on churches, civil society organisations, groups and individuals to join in the current efforts to stamp out corruption in the country.
The cleric also called on the federal government to initiate policies that could revive the nation’s industrial and agricultural sectors, if it
seriously wished to revamp the economy.
He specifically urged the government to encourage Nigerian industrialists by giving them easy access to foreign exchange, adding that people should also be encouraged to go back to agriculture.
Opoko said that the synod also lauded the federal government’s release of bailout funds to the states and urged the state governors to ensure proper utilisation of the funds.
The synod called for the immediate release of the incarcerated leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, as a way of promoting national unity, peace, cohesion and curbing youth restiveness.
Other far reaching issues raised at the synod are the nefarious activities of suspected herdsmen in different parts of the country, which had led to the loss of lives and valuables.
The synod appealed to the federal government to ensure the realisation of the second Niger Bridge and a reversal of its recent policy to de-list some management programmes at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike.
According to the synod, the policy was ill-conceived and would have adverse effects on the members of staff of the college, students and parents, if not rescinded.
The archbishop described the theme of the synod, “God’s word, our guide,” as apt, saying that dependence on the word of God would surely take Nigeria out of its current socio-economic and security challenges.
Highlights of the synod include conferment of the Platinum Leadership Award on the former Head of State and National Chairman, Nigeria Prays, Rtd. Gen. Yakubu Gowon and a widow, who reportedly distinguished herself in the service to God, sweeping the church premises for the past 30 years. (NAN)