President of the Senate, David Mark on Sunday took stock of the lingering Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike and pleaded with the religious leaders across the country to quickly intervene in the crisis rocking the nation’s education sector.
Addressing the 2nd plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) in Otukpo, Benue state yesterday, Mark said the differences between the Federal Government and ASUU requires spiritual intervention in order to end the imbroglio.
This is 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 calendar and the consequences of the strike, pointing out that “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.”
On the issue of insecurity in the country, the President of the Senate stated that the present state of insecurity in Nigeria is worrisome considering the high number of innocent Nigerians that dies everyday as a result of bombing, armed robbery, road accident, pagan ritual activities and cultism.
He charged Nigerians not to use religion for negative purposes, “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.”
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 saying “as Nigerians we should remain resolute and focused. 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.”
Mark was optimistic that Nigerians are capable of overcoming the challenges only if we work together and see ourselves as one people binded by a common mission and purpose.
Earlier, 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.
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 will overcome 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.