Senate President David Mark and the governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam have jointly pleaded with religious leaders to intervene in the lingering face-off between the federal government and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) which has resulted in the closure of Universities nationwide.
Addressing the 2nd plenary session of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) in Otukpo, Benue State yesterday, Senator Mark said the differences between the federal government and ASUU required spiritual intervention in order to end the unending imbroglio.
LEADERSHIP reports that dialogue between the Suswam-led federal government negotiating team and ASUU recently collapsed over the latter’s demand.
Mark lamented the plight of the students who have been deprived of the stable academic calender 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 Senate President stated that the present state of insecurity in Nigeria is worrisome considering the high number of innocent Nigerians that die 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, saying that “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 which, according to him, are capable of heating up the polity. The Senate President said such utterances must be curtailed.
Earlier, the Benue State governor, 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 had made reasonable concessions to their demands to give peace a chance and return students to school.
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.