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Diocese of Lagos West ends Synod, tasks FG on security

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The Diocese of Lagos West (Anglican Communion) has held the third Session of its seventh Synod. The one-day Synod, which was presided over by the Diocesan Bishop, Rt. Rev’d James Olusola Odedeji, lamented the violent clashes between the nomadic herders in the North and sedentary agrarian communities in the central and southern zone. It noted with dismay that the conflict is gradually spreading southwards, thereby, threatening the country’s security and stability.

The synod said the approach to the crises by the Federal and state governments had been very poor and called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the affected state governments to work together to stem the tide before it gets out of hand. It also identified the menace of armed bandits, kidnappers and Boko Haram and is worried that they have become potentially dangerous for the survival of Nigeria as a country.

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The synod said: “The increasing availability of illicit firearms, both locally-produced and smuggled in from outside, worsens the bloodshed. Over the past years, many people have been killed; for some years exceeding the toll from the Boko Haram insurgency. Many people have been forcibly displaced, with properties, crops and livestock worth millions of Naira destroyed, at great cost to local and state economies.

“President Buhari’s government, which is increasingly viewed with misgivings by many in central and southern states, should make it a priority to take firm and transparent steps to ensure better protection for both herders and farmers.

“Affected state governments also should better coordinate with federal authorities to reduce risks of violence. The Federal government’s failure to define a clear and coherent political approach to resolving the crisis, or even acknowledge its scope, is putting Nigerian citizens at risk.”

It also observed that politicians who had served two terms in office have actually ended up poorly, and therefore, recommended one term tenure of five to six years. They believe that the cost of campaign for the second term could be channelled towards infrastructural development and also reduce cost of governance. For the lawmakers, the synod suggested pay-as-you-sit policy, this according to them, would make elective offices less attractive and allow only people that can serve without much benefit attached to be in office.

On corruption, the synod lamented high profile corruption cases that are ongoing in different law courts in the land.

It called on the political class to address the root cause of corruption rather than beating the air in the name of fighting corruption. It suggested that names of convicts should enter the ‘hall of shame’ with serious consequences, like barring them from politics. The synod was also worried that aside the Boko Haram, the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) groups terrorising the northeast, banditry and kidnapping asking for ransom is on the increase.

The synod also observed that Nigeria is facing its second economic recession in fours years, and called on government to seek help from other people irrespective of their political parties.

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According to them, “our humble submission, therefore, is to extend the frontier of those that can assist the government on the right steps to take to stabilise our economy not minding the political parties those people may belong. Nigeria belongs to us all and everyone must be allowed to play our roles in this critical period so as to achieve our main goal of economic recovery.”

On power supply, the synod decried that substantial development may continue to elude Nigeria, if power continues to be in short supply. It called on government to make power supply available so as to create jobs for the teeming youths in the country.

The synod recommended measures to be taken by government to avoid clashes and killings. These include strengthening security arrangements, establishment of conflict resolution, reconciliation, mediation, and peace building mechanisms. Also suggested was the establishment of grazing reserves in consenting states and coordination with neighbours to stem cross-border movement of non-Nigerian armed herders and small arms and others.

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In this article:
James Olusola Odedeji
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