A Communiqué released by the Bishops of Nigeria (January, 2008)

A COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE EPISCOPAL RETREAT OF THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA, (ANGLICAN COMMUNION) HELD AT THE IBRU ANGLICAN RETREAT CENTRE, AGBARHA OTOR, DELTA STATE FROM JANUARY 7-12, 2008.

Preamble
The House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion), comprising the 120 Bishops in Dioceses within Nigeria and 7 others from our mission outreaches to the Province of Congo and the United States of America (CANA), held their annual retreat at the Ibru Anglican Retreat Centre from January 7-12, 2008, with the theme OUR LITURGICAL HERITAGE, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, with the Primate, The Most Revd Peter J. Akinola, DD, CON, presiding, and issued the following communiqué:

The Church of Nigeria
The House of Bishops received the briefing by our Primate, The Most Revd Peter J. Akinola, CON, on the forthcoming Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in Jerusalem with great enthusiasm, commending his unrelenting efforts and tenacity of purpose in the Anglican cause. We are firmly resolved to seek inspiration from the biblical roots of our faith.

We reaffirm our endorsement of all the steps taken by our Primate to broker a peaceful resolution of the Lambeth Conference 2008 impasse which unfortunately has met with subtle inflexibility. Believing
the time has come for us to explore other options, we stand with all like-minded Primates, Bishops and leaders of our communion who are organizing a Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in a pilgrimage setting in the Holy Land (Jerusalem), in June 2008 with the stated goal of informing and inspiring the invited leaders to shape this future, and to reform the church and transform persons, ommunities and societies through the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our Anglican Liturgy is a dramatization of The Bible and should therefore be held sacred without casual departures at the discretion of individuals. Our liturgy promotes fellowship, teaching, mission, and relevant spirituality. We should therefore rediscover the treasures of our liturgical heritage and make it lively.

The Anglican Communion Worldwide
The persistent controversies in the Anglican Communion call for a return to the Biblical standards of morality as the way out of the present crisis. We applaud the initiative of sister Provinces who, like us, have consecrated Bishops as a response to the great need to provide a safe habour for our disenchanted faithfuls rather than fulfilling territorial ambitions.

The Nigerian State
We salute the Judiciary for recent landmark judgments on electoral matters which in turn have restored confidence in the rule of law in these delicate times. However, we urge that pending electoral cases be determined without delay so that political office holders can get on with the task of governance rather than waiting in anxiety and idleness to know their fate while the electorate continues to hope for better living conditions.

We note with satisfaction the spirited war being waged against the cankerworm of corruption in our country by the Federal government through the EFCC in the recent past. We expect the government to exercise utmost sensitivity in whatever personnel and other changes may be considered necessary. It is important that whatever is done, the doggedness that has earned it the applause of Nigerians and the international community will not be compromised.

We are pleased to observe that the perennial fuel shortage that has often characterized our end of year festivities was well controlled in 2007. However, the power supply situation which is a major
component of the 7-point agenda of the present government should be addressed without further delay.

We call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to critically consider the security implications of the attempt by the United States of America to locate their African Command in Nigeria. We observe with deep concern the deplorable condition of our roads nationwide and call on the Federal Government and State governments to give very urgent attention to address this national embarrassment.

We commend the creativity and indigenization of movies as depicted on the African Magic Television.

However, we are concerned about the increasing cases of indiscriminate portrayal of unethical values that are capable of destroying our younger generation, and indeed African ethical values. We call on parents and the NBC to take steps to guard their wards against this social assault.

Africa and The World
We are deeply saddened by the carnage that has trailed the recent elections in Kenya and call on the international community to collaborate with the African Union that has waded into this spiraling spate of violence and democratic tragedy. We urge these warring brothers to sheath their swords and spare further blood-letting and political martyrdom in the country that had earned itself the dignity of being the showpiece of democracy in Africa.

The gruesome murder of Benazir Bhutto while addressing a political rally comes as a rude reminder of the unrelenting threat and savagery of terrorism as a means of settling political differences. We call on the United Nations to take appropriate steps to dress the deep wounds inflicted on the political psyche of the Pakistanis and other nations that are seeking to move forward politically.

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