Ebonyi State Government is set to return all Mission Schools to their original owners before the end of 2023.
Governor Francis Nwifuru indicated during a Pastoral Visit of the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Abakaliki, Most Reverend Dr Peter Nworie Chukwu to the Government House Chapel, Ochoudo Centenary City on Sunday.
Governor Nwifuru who was responding to an appeal by the Bishop acknowledged that the Catholic Church is strategic to the attainment of quality teaching and learning in Schools in the State and directed the Commissioner for
Primary and Secondary Education and the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice to immediately commence the process of handover of the Schools to the Missions.
The Governor earlier commended the Catholic Bishop for coming to bless the congregation of the Government House Chapel and assured of his readiness to carry along the Churches including the Catholic Church in his administration.
The Governor also discouraged the Church from meddling in politics, saying their primary duty should be to preach salvation to mankind.
Governor Nwifuru who went down memory lane to chronicle the turbulence during the elections thanked God for seeing him through the struggle.
“I am not ashamed to identify with the Church because I believe that God Almighty is the owner of the Church. I have always told people that I am not an ordinary person otherwise how can a former bricklayer, conductor and motorcycle mechanic become Governor of your State within a space of ten years?
“We are very much badly challenged in the area of Education and we have agreed in Exco that we are going to send 100 First Class and 2nd Class Upper Graduates to Countries of their choice to further their education when they come back they will teach in our Schools.
“We will also send 300 persons to do their Masters in any Nigeria Higher Institutions of their choice
“We have a lot of challenges in the Education sector and as far as I am concerned we are going to get it back by having quality teachers in Primary and Secondary Schools.
“We won’t hesitate, if the Catholic Church is ready to take back their Schools we are ready and not only the Catholic Church, but every other Churches whose Schools were taken over.
“I am happy that my Lord Bishop said he is going to support me, if I have physical support and now spiritual support, there is no reason I will not perform and I am very sure I am going to perform.
The Governor assured that the chapel would never be used to preach politics.
Earlier in a homily, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Abakaliki, Most Reverend Dr Peter Nworie Chukwu appreciated Governor Nwifuru for the positive steps so far taken in his administration and restated the readiness of the Catholic Church under his leadership to support the Governor to achieve his goals for the State.
He called on Cabinet members of Government to cooperate with the Governor to bequeath enduring legacies on the sands of time.
“If there is failure in your area there is a failure in the whole Government because the success of any member of the Cabinet is the success of the Governor and that of the whole Government.
“So today’s reading is an invitation for all members of the current Government to assist the Governor to achieve his goals for Ebonyi State.
The Bishop commended the past Governors of the State for opening up the rural Communities for the transformation ongoing in the State today.
“The question is what legacies will Governor Nwifuru leave behind he cannot do it alone that is why he assembled this team, your role as Cabinet member is to proffer him critical advice.
“He has started very well, I am a critical observer of what is going on, and the first thing that caught my attention was the payment of gratuity to Retired Civil Servants.
“The other thing that he has done is to reach out to the Church, the Governor is the political head of the State and the Bishop is the Spiritual Leader and that is why I am here to show that we are ready to work with his Government.
“We are going to cooperate with the Governor to turn the story around for Ebonyi State so that in no distant time Ebonyi will be a shining example in entire Nigeria.
“I challenge you to accomplish great things for our people because if you do so, your name will go down in history as a great Leader of our time.
“In the area of Education, the Church is ready to work with the Government, those Schools formerly owned by the Catholic Church that were forcefully taken away from us after the Civil War, the Governor knows our feelings about that.