The earlier scheduled five- day Standing Committee meeting of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion which kicked off Monday and planned to end Friday in Awka, Anambra state ended abruptly Wednesday.
According to reports, the conference which was being attended by above 170 Bishops and Archbishops was hurriedly cut short following fear that the clerics could be trapped because of the nationwide sit-at-home protest declared by the Indigenous People of Biafra for September 23.
The Primate Metropolitan of the Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Nicolas Okoh [above] had earlier in the conference expressed fear that the bishops could be trapped in the state should their meeting go on as scheduled.
He had asked the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano, to prevail on the IPOB to shelve their Friday protest so that the bishops’ conference could go on, pointing out that the IPOB sit-at-home protest would hamper their planned activities and movement.
The Primate had implored the pro-Biafra agitators to postpone their action until after the end of the bishops’ conference.
IPOB had threatened that markets, banks and other institutions would be shut down on Friday, while movement would be restricted in the South East and beyond as a protest for the continued detention of their leader , Nnamdi Kanu by the Federal government.
Urging them to shelve the planned protest, Okoh said “We are not against whatever their agitations are, but we ask them to wait until we leave Awka on Friday.
“If they go on to carry out that protest, we may be trapped in Anambra as the Niger Bridge is the only exit way from Anambra State.
“So, help us beg them to allow us to go,” the Primate enjoined the state governor, Willie Obiano.
So apparently unsure of the assurances, one of the key delegates to the conference expressed fears that, “there was no assurance that we are protected.
“We are human, so we had to put our heads together and decided to cut short the conference.
“That’s the most ideal thing to do in the circumstance.
“I will leave this evening and most others will do same. Those who cant make it today will do so early Thursday.
“There is no need waiting, it doesn’t make sense”, the source maintained.
Meanwhile, the Anglican bishops had in the summit appealed to the Niger Delta militants to stop the bombing of oil facilities in their region in the interest of the country.
This was even as they appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to convene a meeting between the Federal government and the agitators in order to address their grievances.
The clerics reminded the militants that shutting down the economy of the country would not do anybody, any good.
In his address at the conference held at the Cathedral Church of St. Faith, Awka, the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, appealed to the federal government to disarm the Fulani herdsmen who he said had murdered the peace of the country.
The address read:
“The Standing Committee wishes to make passionate appeal to the militants to spare our economy and stop the bombing of oil facilities.
“Shutting down the economy is like pulling down the roofs with all of us inside; nobody will escape the negative impact.
“We equally call on those who can reach them to join in this appeal for the greater good of all.”
“The presence of herdsmen in our countryside is not new, they have always been around.
“What is, however, new are the unprovoked attacks on their host communities sometimes justified by saying that cow is missing.
“They lay ambush and waylay people going to their farms, rape women and destroy farmlands; and their victims are at their mercy because they are armed.
“We call on the federal government to immediately disarm this people to return Nigeria to a state of peace.”
“Our roads are in bad condition all across the country.
“Since our major means of transport is road, we call on the federal government to give the required attention to the roads to reduce the inconveniences, accidents and deaths.”
“Airlines operating in the country are going through difficult times, some have grounded operations. No doubt, we need them.
“We therefore call on the federal government to expedite action on floating the national carrier or rejuvenate the private ones to enable them perform better.
The clerics added that “Further in this area is the persistent scarcity of aviation fuel which has troubled the country, disrupted many programmes, government and private.
“We call on government to solve the problem of aviation fuel permanently so that people can move about their businesses with less difficulty within the country,” the address stated.
From Chuks Collins, Awka