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Blacklist: Christian Youths Reject US Position On Nigeria Over Religious Intolerance

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The Young Christian Forum of Nigeria has strongly frowned at the classification of Nigeria as a religious intolerant county by the United States of America.

Recall that the United States had blacklisted Nigeria for “engaging (in) systematic, ongoing, egregious religious freedom violations.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the measure via Twitter on Monday, saying his country will continue to act when “religious freedom is attacked”.

However, CFN insisted that Nigeria is not a religious intolerant country as asserted by the US under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

This is coming after the Federal Government earlier denounced the listing of Nigeria by the United States as one of the countries known for “systematic, ongoing, egregious religious freedom violations.”

The federal government described Nigeria as a nation that “jealously protects religious freedom as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution and takes seriously any infringements in this regard.”

Similarly, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) said there was religious freedom in Nigeria, but admitted that Christians, especially in the North, were being persecuted.

Reacting to the development during a press conference on Friday, CFN through its President, Pastor Prince Gideon, called on the United States, to remove Nigeria from the list of countries it has blacklisted over religious intolerance.

The group said there is no record of religious intolerance in the country as averred by the US.
Full text of his speech below.

The Young Christian Forum as the umbrella body of young Christians in Nigeria is taken aback by the position of the United States of America in this regard which in our considered opinion is lacking in every form of objectivity. We are consequently amazed at how such classification could be made without recourse to the religious plurality of Nigeria.

It is our considered opinion that the United States of America does not have any moral authority to label Nigeria as a religious intolerant country for the fact that there hasn’t been any instance where adherents of the various religious faiths in Nigeria have been hindered or prevented from practicing or engaging in their religious beliefs.

The Young Christian Forum sees this as an affront to our sensibilities as a people and as a country because the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria explicitly guarantees all citizens of Nigeria the right to religious freedom and this has been the norm from time immemorial.

The Young Christian Forum is not aware of any of such restrictions in Nigeria. The vibrant Nigerian press has not reported that with regards to restrictions on religious freedom or instances of religious favoritism by all tiers of government in Nigeria.

It remains a figment of the United States of America that there are religious restrictions in Nigeria. If this is not the case, we wonder how the United States of America arrived at such an illogical conclusion.

The attendant designation of Nigeria as a country of concern in religious freedom is very uncharitable and a display of crass ignorance by the American authorities in what can be termed a plot to spark mutual suspicion amongst the adherents of the various religious groupings in the country.

The United States of America must come to terms with the fact that designating a sovereign country like Nigeria as religiously intolerant is an act of sabotage that does not spell well for the psychological psyche of Nigerians.
The Young Christian Forum as a critical stakeholder in Nigeria is most embarrassed by the action of the United States of America because it is evident that there is more than meets the eyes.

It is also a dishonorable action for the American authorities to attempt to pitch the various religions against each other in Nigeria by making wild and unsubstantiated allegations that can’t be back by any fact.

The Young Christian Forum wishes to use this medium to enlighten the American authorities that their line of thought is defective and not a reflection of the realities on the ground in Nigeria with regards to the rights of Nigerian citizens to practice any religion of their choice.

This is on the heels that in Nigeria, there hasn’t been any instance where the government has placed restrictions on religious expressions. As a fact, no Christian or Muslim has been prosecuted for practicing their faiths. It is also on record that the government has shut no religious place of worship under any guise.

The Young Christian Forum consists of members from various interdenominational organizations, and to the best of our knowledge, there has not been any curricular restricting the rights of our members or citizens to worship or association. The American authorities must, as a matter of morality desists from making unguarded statements that are capable of igniting a sectarian conflict in Nigeria such as this.

We consequently demand that an unreserved apology be tendered to Nigeria and Nigerians from the United States of America because their classification of Nigeria as a country with egregious religious violations is untoward and smacks of a mockery of the sincerity of the United States of America on issues of global concern in all ramifications.

The Young Christian Forum is calling on all Nigerians to avoid any terrorist tagging by any country. We are a country of noblemen and women with a high level of religious tolerance. As such, we refuse to be painted in a bad light.

We are using this medium to call on the United States of America to begin the process of removing Nigeria from the list of countries it has designated as a country of concern for engaging systematic, ongoing, egregious religious freedom violations. Nigeria and Nigerians deserve her respectful position amongst the comity of nations as one of the countries with impeccable records in religious tolerance.

The Young Christian Forum of Nigeria is calling on the international community as well as our development partners to disregard the insinuations by the United States of America, which by and large is more political than reality.

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Bandits Lay Siege To Armed Forces Command And Staff College, Jaji

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Some criminals, suspected to be bandits, are currently laying siege around the premises of Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) located in Jaji, Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

Their mission, according to some locals in the community who spoke to our correspondent during a telephone conversation, was to abduct some staff of the college and the communities around the area.

This is coming in less than two months after bandits stormed the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, Mando, also in Kaduna and kidnapped no fewer than 39 students.

AFCSC is a training facility for the Nigerian Armed Forces, including the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force and Nigerian Navy.

A resident of the area, who simply identified himself as Adamu, told Daily Trust via telephone that the bandits have always surrounded the institution while terrorising the communities around the college.

“It is only Allah that has been saving us. They (bandits) have always rustled cows in our communities. Military operatives do engage them in gun battle anytime they come around, that is why we don’t have major casualties yet,” Adamu said.

The Commandant of the college, Air Marshal Olayinka Alade, confirmed this on Wednesday in Abuja when he visited the Army Headquarters to brief Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Attahiru Ibrahim, on the development and other issues in the institution.

Alade said the institution has decided to launch impromptu searching and clearance operations in some communities where the bandits are operating around the college having informed General Officer Commanding 1 Division.

“There are some communities around the school that have developed and because it is like part of the college, maybe they are hiding under that cover, so some bandits are there. Because of that, there is collaboration with other institution’s heads in the college. Constantly, we try to conduct an impromptu searching. We conduct search and patrol from time to time.

“What we discovered now is that, not too far ahead, some communities… it is like all these bandits have made all that place their aim, so I discussed with GOC 1 Div. From time to time, we need to carry out clearance operations,” the AFCSC Commandant said.

The Commandant further disclosed that the bandits rustled some cows behind the college on Tuesday, April 13 – a development that led to gun duel between them and the military operatives.

He, however, did not disclose whether there was any casualty, noting that he came to brief the COAS so as not to be surprised if he hears anything subsequently.

According to him, “In fact, yesterday (Tuesday), I was told that some bandits came to come and rustle some cows just behind us. There was an exercise that was carried out by the NACI. They actually encountered these bandits, they had to exchange fire during the exercise.

“Those are the things we’re trying to ensure that we are not surprised if they have come that close, then, we need to sit tight and ensure we clear that place.”

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Deputy Nigeria Ambassador to Jordan, Ibrahim Mohammed,(1st left) the Managing Director Ministry of Tourism and Antiquiies, Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat, (middle) Executive Secretary NCPC, Yakubu Pam (right) during a courtesy visit paid to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in Jordan recently

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Coalition Warns Anti-Vaxxers, Urges Nigerians To Disregard Fake News Of COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects

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The National Vanguard on Covid-19 Administration and Advocacy has urged Nigerians to treat reports of side effects from the AstraZeneca jab as fake news, noting that some elements are out to frustrate the ongoing vaccination exercise.

This follows the claim of blood vomit by a woman in Kaduna after allegedly being administered the vaccine.

While the state government has vowed to investigate the report, the National Vanguard on Covid-19 Administration and Advocacy said the assertion is the handiwork of anti-vaxxers.

In a statement signed by its Director of Public Enlightenment, Samson Abu, on Saturday, the group, though, admitted potential side effects from the jab, added that some persons are out to sow fear in the minds of Nigerians.

Abu, therefore, appealed to Nigerians to disregard all fake news pertaining to the safety, efficacy and effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to him, the supposed victim is an isolated case yet to be proven by any expert.

The group, however, urged Nigerians to continue to take the vaccine for their good and the safety of their loved ones around them

Read the full statement below:

The National Vanguard on Covid-19 Administration and Advocacy is appalled by the deployment of fake news by anti-vaccine elements in Nigeria in their bid to scare and discourage people from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine that is meant to protect against the Corona Virus and save lives.

The fake news, published with the headline “Woman vomits blood after taking COVID-19 vaccine” is a disingenuous attempt at creating a deepfake given the effort that was made to create the impression that one Hannatu Tanko was rushed to Gwamna Awan General Hospital in Kaduna State because she started vomiting blood after receiving the vaccine.

Interestingly, the same script was published by several blogs and a few undiscerning news sites without the publishers carrying out the necessary checks and without speaking with experts on what could have led to the woman’s condition.

The fake news also created the impression that there is coercion in the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine whereas people are voluntarily accepting the jab owing to their knowledge of how it protects one from catching the deadly virus. Such a desperate act could have only resulted from people that are keen on seeing the pandemic decimate humanity.

With more than half a million so far vaccinated, even if the account of the woman experiencing reactions to the vaccine were correct, the case would be an isolated one and the fact that sources claimed the woman is recovering confirms that the vaccine is safe while any unintended effect would be at worst temporary. We, therefore, find it unacceptable that the isolated and unproven instance is now being used by purveyors of fake news and anti-Vaxxers to discourage Nigerians from taking the vaccine. This is a huge disservice and unacceptable.

For the avoidance of doubts, experts’ views are required to confirm that what a person experiences after taking the jab is related to the vaccine. To do this, the experts would have ruled out that the symptoms exhibited by such are not caused by other underlying factors that coincidentally flared up at about the same time the person took their vaccine.

The National Vanguard on Covid-19 Vaccine Administration and Advocacy consequently warn detractors and anti-vaxxers in Nigeria that they have a responsibility to society to desist from sowing fear in the mind of the people especially when it is apparent that the fake news they are spreading has all the potential to hurt more people than save them.

We appeal to Nigerians to disregard all fake news about the safety, efficacy and effects of the COVID-19 vaccine and only based their decision to accept the jab or not on sound science, which would make them appreciate the benefits it offers. Nigerians, who truly value their wellbeing as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the world, should make it a personal responsibility to take the vaccine for their good and the safety of their loved ones around them.

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