Catholic bishops seek government support for mission, private schools
• PFN wants politics made less lucrative
President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Archbishop Augustine Akabueze, has implored the Federal Government to support private and mission schools in the country.Akabueze, who spoke at the third National Catholic Education Summit in Abuja, said the education sector in Nigeria is facing serious challenges, as private schools are fast taking the places of public schools.
While lamenting that most middle-class families are unable to afford the tuition fees, he added that government subsidy was needed to make ordinary Nigerians have access to quality and basic education. He also called for strict adherence to the laws on protection of minors and vulnerable adults by the church in Nigeria.
“One of the major reasons is because it is costly to hire good teachers and keep them since there is no government subsidy. “If we agree that basic education of children from primary to secondary school is a fundamental right of every Nigerian child, government must create an enabling environment through support of private and mission schools,” he said.
Also speaking, the Catholic Archibishop of Kaduna, Most Rev Matthew Ndagoso, warned against politicisation of the education sector, especially in the northern region of the country.He said the importance of child education couldn’t be over-emphasised, adding that it is the responsibility of the government to provide necessary resources to that effect.
On the relationship between the church and education institutions, he said a robust partnership is needed between government and the church to find a leeway in rehabilitating the sector that has been far neglected.“The Federal Government should follow the step of ex-governor Peter obi who handed over mission schools to their original owners for better output.
Meanwhile, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Lagos State chapter, has canvassed that politics be made less lucrative to attract credible leaders.Chairman of the body, Bishop Olusola Ore, made the call yesterday in Lagos at a press conference on the role of the church in nation building and good governance. He said: “Our political system is wrong, and if you make politics less lucrative and you don’t pay bogus salaries, people that are going there will know that they are for service, and not because they want to make money.
“If you are selling forms at exorbitant prices, people will look for money by all means because they believe that once they win, they will recoup it.”The PFN also condemned conducts of political parties in Lagos state saying they have largely ignored and marginalized the church, especially in the last four years.The body therefore expressed readiness not to allow the church to be used by any political party to gain any political advantage.
Stating that PFN is out to ensure politicians and their parties operate with the fear of God in ensuring equity and justice in the country, the group also expressed readiness to provide level playing field for all political parties during their campaigns.
While urging Lagosians not to mortgage their future by selling their votes to the highest bidder, Ore noted that the church would be guided by the manifestos of each political party and advise members accordingly.
Describing it as idiosyncratic for political parties to deceive the populace by making promises they do not intend to keep, PFN enjoined all parties to make clear their manifesto and what they intend to do in the next four years so that Nigerians will hold them accountable. They also called on INEC to continue to be alert and active saying a clear line of command should be put in place to avoid its staff frustrating the electoral process.
He said with the prevailing challenges in the country that affect the economy, security, and power, the present administration should wake up and do the needful after more than three years in power. On the heel of the mayhem unleashed on captives of Boko Haram, PFN urged government to embark on proactive measures to quicken the release of the remaining kidnapped Chibok Girls and Leah Sharibu who is detained on account of her refusal to denounce her faith.