Ziona, who was the head of a local Christian sect that permits polygamy, had 39 wives and 94 children.
Christian leaders across denominations are canvassing constitution review to halt the country’s rising socio-security challenges.
They also advised the federal government to revisit the Report of the 2014 Constitutional conference, pay attention to security and scale down the activities of insurgents.
They accused the government of “paying lip service to the various issues of security, hunger and social justice”.
The leaders said the government should rather create an environment of “fairness and equity for all and sundry.”
These are part of the 18 recommendations after last Sunday’s ‘Consultation of the steering/facilitation committee for proposed national prayers/peace summit with Christian leaders in Lagos.’
The, meeting, under the auspices of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim’s Commission (NCPC) – an agency of the Presidency – was the first in the series of consultations, with leaders of other faiths.
According to NCPC Executive Secretary Rev Yakubu Pam, the move was initiated following President Muhammadu Buhari’s support for the agency’s peace building initiative.
Pam, who steered the meeting, said after extensive consultation with well-meaning Nigerians and stakeholders, the NCPC began working towards a national prayer/peace summit, adding that Sunday’s meeting was a prelude to the summit.
He commended the event’s chairman, Dr. Kenny Martins, for accepting and reaching out “to a broad spectrum of Church leaders in Lagos” to attend the meeting.
Following deliberations, the leaders issued a communique yesterday..
Besides constitution review, they urged the Church to play “its appropriate role in guiding the government”, and also step up its role of “preaching peace to Nigerians, thereby promoting unity in the country.”
Some of the recommendations are: “The church should impress it on the Federal Government to take a cue on how the Church leadership in Nigeria had embraced effective and efficient provision of services in the areas of Education, Electricity and Healthcare – all with resources of the Church.
“The Church should set up budget monitoring teams (at both federal and state levels) to enhance national growth
“The Federal Government should take urgent steps to direct universities in the country to resume academic activities in order to reduce youth restiveness.
“That the Church should be co-opted to play a defined role in promoting grassroots development.”
The religious leaders canvassed a role for traditional rulers to enable them promote peace and development.”
They further urged the government to carry out a survey on Nigeria’s demography in order to pin-point key areas of needed social investment.
According to them, government must recognise “that truth is the only factor that can heal the wounds in our country.”
They added: “The federal government should place high premium on human life, as the primary responsibility of every government is the promotion of the welfare of its citizens.
“Government should re-evaluate our educational system that places too much emphasis on paper qualifications, but instead promote the acquisition of technical skills that can engender more development.”
On the #EndSARS crisis, they advised the Church leadership to “liaise with its identified or perceived Leaders…and advise them to jetlison any plan of embarking on a second… protest, but instead enter into dialogue with the federal government.”
The leaders admonished the Church to not fail to play “its expected strong spiritual role in building the conscience of the nation, so that truth and justice can always be promoted.
“The Church should preach the full gospel of Jesus Christ by speaking truth to the leadership of the country as everything that emanate from the pulpit collectively shape the social and political outlook of a country.”
Participants at the meeting and signatories to the communique included: Most Rev. Benebo Fubera Fubera-Manual,
President, Christian Council of Nigeria; Mrs. Laurenstia Mallam, Catholic Women Leader; I. M. Mukail, Youth leader, St. Mary’s Catholic Church Magboro; Amb. Nnaemeka Akpee
National Youth President, Kingdom Ways Living Church; Pastor Wole Oladiyun
Senior Pastor, Christ Living Spring Apostolic Ministry; Pastor Chioma Mercy Ndeobi
Senior Pastor, Straight Gate International Church, Ikeja; Apostle Paul Ndeobi
General Overseer, Straight Gate International Church, Ikeja: and Rev Dr. Peace Goodday
Lead Pastor, Christ Believers Church.
Others were: Bishop (Dr) Olufemi Bankole
Presiding Bishop, the Redeemer Apostolic Mission; Rt. Rev. Best F. Orike
CCN Church Bishop, Methodist Church of Nigeria; Most Rev Alfred A. Martins
Catholic Archbishop of Lagos (Represented by Rev. Fr. Vitalis Ezeigwe); Very Rev. Dr. Evans Onyemera, General Secretary, Christian Council of Nigeria; Pastor J. T. Kalejaiye, Redeemed Christian Church of God; Superior Evangelist Mathew Olatosho Oshoffa, Celestial Church of Christ: Hon. Mary Manzo Evangelist, World Royal City Church, founder, Mary Elika-Foundation and Archbishop (Prof.) M. A. Fadeyi, Presiding Bishop, Christian Faith Assembly Inc.
Ziona, who was the head of a local Christian sect that permits polygamy, had 39 wives and 94 children.
With a total of 167 members, the late Ziona’s family is the world’s largest, according to local media, although this depends on whether the grandchildren, of whom Ziona has 33, are counted.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has said the South-East producing the next president will help in addressing the feelings of marginalisation in the region.
He, however, lamented that the 1999 Constitution doesn’t support zoning, which would have boosted the chance of the region in the 2023 presidential election.
Ngige who spoke during Channels Television’s Newsnight programme stated that what suits the current situation is the 1995 Constitution by the late General Sani Abacha.
“The people in the area have perceived that they are marginalised, that they are unappreciated, whether it was done by propaganda and brainwashing or not, that is now immaterial.
“So I agree with that proposal, unfortunately, the Nigerian Constitution does not have that. This is where I quarrel with those who authored the 1999 Constitution.
“I still believe today, tomorrow, the Abacha Constitution of 1995 that espouses rotational presidency into the six zones in Nigeria, a single five-year tenure in order to heal all the wounds; the wounds of civil war, and the wound of June 12.
“Now, that constitution would have been the best constitution for Nigerians to use for the next 30 years by which the six zones would have tested the presidency,” the minister stated.
The Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States has fixed June 22 for a hearing in the suit challenging the Federal Government’s suspension of the operations of the microblogging platform, Twitter, in Nigeria.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project and 420 Nigerians, including a former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili and the co-founder of the #BringBackOurGirls movement, Aisha Yesufu, had filed a suit before the court, challenging the unlawful suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, criminalisation of Nigerians and other people using Twitter, and the escalating repression of human rights, particularly the rights to freedom of expression, access to information, and media freedom in the country.
In the suit number ECW/CCJ/APP/23/21, the plaintiff sought an order of interim injunction restraining the Federal Government from implementing its suspension of Twitter in Nigeria and subjecting anyone, including media houses, broadcast stations using Twitter in Nigeria to harassment, intimidation, arrest and criminal prosecution, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
The plaintiffs stated, “The suspension of Twitter is aimed at intimidating and stopping Nigerians from using Twitter and other social media platforms to assess government policies, expose corruption, and criticise acts of official impunity by the agents of the Federal Government.
“The free communication of information and ideas about public and political issues between citizens and elected representatives is essential. This implies a free press and other media able to comment on public issues without censor or restraints and to inform public opinion. The public also has a corresponding right to receive media output.
“Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and the full enjoyment of this right is central to achieving individual freedom and to developing democracy. It is not only the cornerstone of democracy but indispensable to a thriving civil society.
“The arbitrary action by the Federal Government and its agents has negatively impacted millions of Nigerians who carry on their daily businesses and operational activities on Twitter. The suspension has also impeded the freedom of expression of millions of Nigerians, who criticize and influence government policies through the microblogging app.
“The suspension of Twitter is arbitrary, and there is no law in Nigeria today permitting the prosecution of people simply for peacefully exercising their human rights through Twitter and other social media platforms.”
However, the court, in a notice to the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) and the respondent’s counsel Maimuna Lami Shiru, stated that the hearing would be virtual.
“Notice is hereby given that this application has been fixed for hearing of the Application for Interim Measure on the 22nd day of June 2021 at 10 am and will be heard on that day if the business of the court permits or otherwise on some adjourned day of which you may not receive further notice,” the court stated.
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