The Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor (with microphone), speaking on at the 2019 Annual Interactive Session with the Laity Council. He is flanked on his right by the Chief Chaplain of CLCNAD, Rev. Fr. Dr Michael Muonwe, and the Parish Priest of St. Charles’ Borromeo Parish, Achina, Rev. Fr. Dr. Jerry Okeke, and on his left is the Chairman of the occasion, Professor Charles Soludo.
By Sunny A. David, Awka
The Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor, has charged the Nigerian Government to live up to its responsibilities of creating enabling environment, jobs, bettering the wellbeing of the citizens, as well as providing basic amenities and security of life and property of the people.
The Catholic Prelate, who gave the charge at his Annual Interactive Session with the Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria, Awka Diocese (CLCNAD), at St Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, Achina, Aguata Local Government Area Anambra State, noted that the government had the responsibility to better society which it belonged to.
Bishop Ezeokafor decried the alarming rate of unemployment and social vices, which, according to him, was necessitated by the many idle and jobless youths in the country.
The Bishop, who kicked against the astronomical wages which political appointees received in Nigeria while many youths were unemployed, wondered why a senator in Nigeria should be paid more than a senator in United States of America.
“If the major part of Nigeria’s resources is spent on paying political office holders, where will the fund for creating employment opportunities for the many graduates that are being turned out annually from the universities come from? How can these graduates and other youths be employed and paid well as they are supposed to?” he queried.
Bishop Ezeokafor charged the government to look inwards and create employment opportunities for the youths and the many Nigerian graduates, pointing out that government belonged to society and had the responsibility of bettering it.
“Such policies of paying unemployed youths which is obtainable in other countries can also be carried out well in Nigeria. The Church is doing her best to better the wellbeing of the people through better formation and assisting in empowerment skills,” the Bishop stated.
The Prelate called on the government to give the Church the needed support and collaboration for better formation of the people, saying that when the people were given better formation, society would be better.
He noted that the Church had been doing her best to create enabling environment and empowerment opportunities for the youths.
Bishop Ezeokafor recalled that the Catholic Diocese of Awka, through the JDPC, had in March 2019, empowered a good number of youths with various empowerment tools which included hair dressing, carpentry, tailoring and barbing tools.
The Catholic Prelate noted that such empowerment and many others which the Church had been providing for the youths, were to make them responsible individuals and self-reliant.
The Bishop also charged political office holders on quality representation and accountability, saying that legislators and senators where bound by law to present their score cards to their constituents.
He said “Senators and Legislators at all levels are expected to hold regular town hall meetings with their constituents, during which they give proper account of their stewardships to the people they represent. No political office holder should continue in any representative capacity, without from time to time, giving proper account of his representation to the people he is representing.”
On the current perceived marginalization of Christians in Nigeria, the Catholic Prelate called for unity among Christians so as to ensure the protection of the Christian faith and defence of the Church. He maintained that the Freedom of religion as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution should be duly practiced, and all given their equal rights in a circular state as Nigeria.
Most Rev. Ezeokafor also urged parents to ensure they gave their children the necessary formation that would enable them to live out their Catholic faith to the end and make proper choices on issues concerning mixed marriage as stipulated by the Church.