Uyo,- The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Akwa Ibom on Wednesday said it was proposing the denial of communion to members without voter cards.
Archbishop Cletus Bassey, Chairman of CAN in the State, announced this at a Summit for Religious Leaders on Peaceful Elections organised by INEC in Uyo.
“We are proposing denial of communion to our members without voter cards”, Bassey said.
He said this was part of measures being put in place to encourage mass participation of Christians in the state in the forthcoming general elections.
“Our prayer is that INEC will not allow itself to be influenced by politicians.
“We are praying, as a church, that we have peaceful and credible elections this time around’’, Bassey said.
He urged INEC to involve religious organisations in the monitoring of the elections to encourage mass participation of the electorate.
“We have our members in all the 31 local government areas of the state; so formation of election observer groups should include religious bodies”, Bassey said.
Mrs Catherine Ekpo, the state Coordinator of National Orientation Agency (NOA), decried what she described as political apathy among Christians in the state.
“Apathy is widespread in the church, it is unfortunate. Christians often say it doesn’t matter, the politicians have already concluded what they wanted to do.
“They often say all what we are seeing is smokescreen, everything had been decided”, Ekpo said.
She urged religious leaders to encourage their members to collect their permanent voter cards and vote for candidates of their choice during the elections.
“Let’s tell our people to kill the spirit of apathy, tell our brothers and sisters not sit back and think they already know what they want to do”, Ekpo added.
The State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Austin Okojie, said about 300,000 permanent voter cards were yet to be collected in the state.
“As spiritual guides, you can also mobilise your followers for active participation in the electoral processes”, Okojie said.
He urged them to encourage their members to avoid violence and promote peaceful conduct before, during and after the elections.
He assured them that INEC had done all it could to ensure that the elections were free, fair and credible. (NAN)