Senate President David Mark, on Friday, pleaded with the religious leaders across the country to quickly intervene in the crisis rocking the nation’s education sector.
Taking stock of the lingering Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike, he said the differences between the Federal Government and ASUU required spiritual intervention in order to end the crisis.
The Senate President said this while addressing the second Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) in Otukpo, Benue State.
This was as the governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, called for partnership between the church, government and the people in order to fast-track political development and stability in the country.
Senator Mark said this against the backdrop of the collapse of dialogue between the Federal Government negotiating team and ASUU over the latter’s demand.
He lamented the plight of the students, who have been deprived of the stable academic calender and the consequences of the ongoing strike.
“The culture of confrontation and conflict does not build harmony between and among people. Therefore, we must always seek the culture of dialogue, reconciliation and forgiveness.
“We have a duty to work hard to overcome all barriers to peace”, he said.
On the issue of insecurity in the country, the President of the Senate stated that the present state of insecurity in Nigeria was worrisome, considering the high number of innocent Nigerians that die everyday as a result of bombing, armed robbery, road accidents, ritual activities and cultism.
He charged Nigerians not to use religion for negative purposes, noting, “Religion is to unite and not to divide, to love and not to hate, to gather and not to scatter, to be just and not to be unjust.”
Senator Mark also frowned at provocative utterances by some highly placed people that are capable of tearing down the society, saying such utterances must be curtailed.
He however admonished that the present religious, economic and political turmoil should not scare anybody.
“As Nigerians we should remain resolute and focussed.
As a people, we should continue to fast and pray. I acknowledge the fact that prayer without good work is dead.
“We should also embark on serious good work at all levels to ensure good governance and a better Nigeria”, he said.
Senator Mark was optimistic that Nigerians were capable of overcoming the challenges only “if we work together and see ourselves as one people binded by a common mission and purpose.”
Earlier, Governor Suswam urged the Bishops to use the session to appeal to ASUU to shift ground as the Federal Government has made reasonable concessions to their demands to give peace a chance and return students back to schools.
In his welcome address, the President, Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, urged Christians to be loyal to biblical teachings in all their dealings.
Kaigama called for interior purifications among Nigerians, adding that with renewed commitment to the task of teaching and sanctifying, Nigeria would over-come her travails.
He charged governments at all levels to channel resources towards the welfare and security of the citizenry even as he urged the clergy to pray for leaders at all levels.
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