By Daniel Tyokua
Emeritus Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan and the incumbent Bishop of the Archdiocese Ignatius Kaigama, on Friday spoke on the controversial Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), electricity tarrif and fuel pump hike in the country.
Onaiyekan during the maiden General Assembly of the Archdiocese said that government and the National Assembly before passing the new bill into law should have involved church leaders for fair representation of the issues.
He stated that the bill was initiated by the government to regulate activities of worship centres, but needed to have reflected the views of those running such institutions.
According to him, it would have been more appropriate if the government had focused more on regulating its institutions and left the churches alone.
Onaiyekan said: “The government has enough job regulating there own institutions, but they are not regulating them well. They have enough job regulating how public funds are being spent, but they are not doing so well. They should leave the churches alone.
“If they had involved the churches, we would have had ways of making our input, then all the troubles would have been avoided.
“I was told that the document is big and the issue that is disturbing people is just one article or two. That should not kill the country.
“Let us pull out those ones and I am sure that should be no problem and it will be possible to remove those articles from the bill and let the bill continue its job.
“This is an area we should work together on. If you want to design something that has to deal with the activities of religious organizations, then you should bring them in,” he said.
He explained that reactions over the new CAMA was not helping the country, rather, it was creating unnecessary negative attention.
On increased electricity tariff and fuel price hike, Onaiyekan said that “President Muhammadu Buhari has told us that he is going to do all he can to make life easier for Nigerians and one of the things he can not do is to increase fuel price and electricity tariff.
“This should be put in a wider context. We wouldn’t be complaining if the salaries were also increased. The problems come when you leave people with nothing to eat, then, you increase prices of items that touch on the main subject matters.
On his part, Archbishop Kaigama said with the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with other challenges, there was the need for Christians, especially, Catholic faithfuls, to renew their missionary impulse and sensitivity.
Kaigama advised them to shun the mentality where everyone is for himself or herself and cares only for those who are friends, family or from the same tribe, region, religion or political party.
The General Assembly with the theme: “Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja: Together in Evangelization”, was facilited by Archbishop Kaigama.