By Joe Akwarandu, Umuahia
The Methodist Church Nigeria has advised the federal government to halt its intention of setting up a Fulani radio station, saying it had the potentials of bringing about the disintegration of the country.
The advice was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the 58th Annual Diocesan Synod of the Methodist Arch-diocese of Umuahia at Wesley Cathedral, Umuahia. The theme of the synod was “Obedience to God, better than sacrifice”.
Orient Weekend recalls that, last week, the federal government announced that it had acquired an AM [Amplitude Modulated] frequency radio license for Fulani herdsmen. Government said the move was part of the measures to end the frequent clashes between herdsmen and farmers. The Methodist Church, however, said the move was divisive and unjustifiable.
Part of the communiqué, delivered by the Methodist Archbishop of Umuahia Archdiocese and Bishop of Umuahia Diocese, His Grace, Most Rev. (Dr) Chibuzo Opoko, read: “The synod called on the federal government to desist from using tax payers’ money to establish a radio station for an ethnic and religious group. Such is a form of corruption that the President (Muhammadu Buhari) vowed to tackle”.
Expatiating further on the issue during a question and answer session with newsmen after reading the communiqué on Monday, Opoko insisted that it was wrong to appropriate the tax payers’ money for the establishment of radio station for an ethnic group, adding that the federal government did everything to clampdown on radio Biafra when it came into existence.
According to the cleric, “It is evil and it is corruption for you to use tax payers’ money to sponsor an ethnic and religious radio. Very soon, you will be talking about Ijaw radio, very soon, you will be talking about Benin radio. Is the government going to sponsor Ijaw radio, Benin radio or Igbo radio? Because I knew when the issue of Biafra radio was there, government banned it and did everything to destroy it. But they have turned around to go and start up an ethnic radio with tax payers’ money. That is a form of corruption.
He went further: “It is not just that it should be condemned, but I call on the federal government and President Buhari, because he vowed to be a champion of corruption fight, to halt this move because the situation is creating a lot of disaffection among the people in the country.
“If not, posterity will come to know him and hold him accountable as one during whose time that this nation went to pieces”.
On other issues, the synod congratulated Buhari on his re-election “as declared by INEC and reminded him that he met this country a united one and should, after his tenure, leave this country a united one”.
The synod also “commended the president for his stance on corruption and enjoins him to ensure that the fight is total, frontal and anyone found in corruption case is made to face the wrath of the law of the land. There should be no sacred cows”.
According to Archbishop Opoko, the synod called for investigation of media reports of alleged corruption of highly placed people in government “and those culpable brought to book to restore confidence of the masses to your administration”.
The synod also discussed the issues of rampant abduction and kidnapping in Nigeria “that has become a lucrative business where ransom are paid and in some cases, the victims are also murdered,” and called on security agencies in the whole federation “to rise to this task to ensure that citizen’s lives and property are secured”.
“The synod also called on the federal government to see to the case of Leah Sharibu who celebrated her 16th birthday still under cage. Leah Sharibu today can be described as a prisoner of conscience because the report we received says Leah Sharibu was not released because of her faith in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ”.
“The synod also called on all leaders to obey the word of God and do away with pride and arrogance and deliver the dividends of their leadership to those they lead”, the communiqué added.