Ignatius Kaigama, Catholic archbishop of Abuja, says the church’s offer of its 425 health facilities to the federal government to support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is still valid.
On May 11, 2020, Boss Mustapha, chairman of the presidential task force (PTF) on COVID-19, had announced the offer of the Catholic church at a media briefing in Abuja.
However, more than two months after the offer was made, Kaigama wondered why the federal government has not done much on use of the facilities.
Kaigama also disclosed that some representatives of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) held an online meeting with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo during the week to get an update on the offer.
He said they reminded the vice-president that the offer was to minimise the problem of health care during the pandemic.
“We made it clear that they could equip the facilities, train our personnel so that they will be attentive to the need of people suffering from COVID-19,” the bishop said.
“I want to say that the offer is still valid but I am not sure there is good use being made of our facilities that we have offered.
“They even identified a few facilities in Abuja, Kaduna and somewhere else. They said they were going to collaborate with us but so far, not much has happened.”
While responding to a question on the state of the country’s educational system, he called for a restructuring of the sector.
“There has to be total overhauling of the educational system. We must give serious consideration to the future of our young ones and we cannot emphasise any better that the government should consider education as fundamental to progress, to alleviating all social problems,” he said.
“Without good education that is holistic and that can shape the mind to be positive and to contribute selflessly to the good of society, we will have a wide population of young people who have no values.
“There should be drastic revolution and fundamental overhauling of the educational system in the country.’’
The archbishop also called for reforms in anti-corruption agencies to enable them perform optimally.
“We must find a way of addressing corruption; if these institutions are not serving Nigerians well, there should be a change if they are not fulfilling their mandate,” he said.
“The bodies should do their work with every objectivity and integrity. They should close their eyes and watch out for criminals in the society.
“They should follow anybody irrespective of party, tribe or religion. If they are doing this, nobody will have any issue with the bodies.
“They need to be objective, sincere and they need to be God fearing; anyone employed to work in these organisations should fear God.”
Answering questions on incessant killings in southern Kaduna and if he would support the position of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on self-defence, Kaigama said the position was in line with Catholic theology.
“We are not supporting any killing but people could defend themselves if an aggressor to wants to kill the person,” he said.
“Killing human beings is criminal and it is a grievous sin. It is totally ungodly and it so sad the way we kill in this county, it does not portray the country in good light.
“I am sad that the killings have not stopped and I am not sure that enough is being done at all levels to bring these killings to a comprehensive stop.”
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