By Nsan Ndoma-Neji, Calabar
The Calabar Diocese of the Methodist Church Nigeria on Sunday in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, urged the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to put on hold the national population and housing census, scheduled to commence in May 23, 2023.
Speaking with journalists in Calabar, at the end of the 47th Synod, organised by the church, at Wesley Cathedral, Beecroft Street, Calabar, the Methodist Archbishop of Calabar, (Amb) Chimezuo Nwankpa, JP, stated that the population and housing census can best be conducted when insecurity returns to it’s lowest ebb.
He said that any attempt to go ahead with the population and housing census would amount to arriving at inaccurate figures that may not help the country in the national economic planning.
In a communique which he read before the church, signed by the Archbishop, alongside two other signatories, Lay President Dame Prof. Mirinda Dosunmu, KJW, as well as Elder Offisong Unoh, Chairman of the Communique Committee, the church stated that there was wisdom for the Federal Government to heed to advice of the church.
The comunique which is read with the theme of the Synod, “Contending for the Faith,” which is a biblical allusion from the Holy Bible taken from the Book of Jude 1:3, stated that should the Federal Government go ahead with the exercise, Nigerians residing in hard to reach areas and those residing in crises areas of the North East, Kaduna and Benue states would be left out, as the enumerators may find it difficult to access those areas.
In the nine-point communique, the Methodist Church claimed that “taking into consideration the high level of insecurity in the country, where some areas are being occupied by Boko Haramists, bandits, and other undesirable elements, who visit mayhem and their reign of terror on the helpless inhabitants, it would be impossible for the enumerators to access such trouble spots.”
The communique continued, “Synod calls for the putting on hold of the nationwide population census, slated to commence on the 3rd May, 2023, pending when the security will improve.”
The Synod also lamented the high unemployment rate in Nigeria and advised the youths and the unemployed to engage in skills acquisition and employ same to earn dignified livelihood and escape the clutches of poverty and frustration.
The comunique frowned at the harsh economic situation in the country, where majority of the citizenry exist on the breadline and called on President Buhari to revive the economy.
The church sympathised with victims of the Ukraine-Russian war and the perennial Isreal-Palestine war and called for God’s intervention in the cessation of hostilities; even as it also tasked the Federal Government on the evacuation of it’s citizens.
The communique appealed to all aggrieved contestants in the just concluded general elections to seek redress in the law courts rather than resorting to unlawful means.
The Synod exhorted all Nigerians to show love and tolerance to one another and not allow our varies ethnicities, religious beliefs, languages et al to cause division among us.