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Yoruba/Hausa Clash: Nigeria First Calls For Understanding, Tolerance Amongst Ethnic Groups

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The Nigeria First movement has called for better understanding and tolerance amongst Nigerians of different ethnic groups in the country amidst heightened tension in Oyo State.

The group expressed worry over the crisis in the state where some Nigerians appear to be targeted, attacked and even killed over their ethnicity.

In a statement signed by its President/Director General, Patriot Philip Agbese, on Monday, the Nigerians said this ugly development must not be allowed to continue.

According to Agbese, from all indications, those behind the criminalities that culminated into ethnic strife may not even be Nigerians.

Patriot Agbese, however, urged Yorubas and Fulanis to immediately cease all hostilities to allow authorities to get to the root of the mayhem that has caused the loss of lives and properties.

While suing for peace, the Nigeria First movement encouraged all relevant stakeholders in the country to join forces to put an end to the growing spate of ethnic tension.

It also warned those stoking the fire of ethnic violence to have a rethink, adding that ” there shall definitely be reckoning for people that trivialize human life to the extent of wantonly causing deaths”.

Read the full statement below:

Nigeria First is alarmed, worried and concerned at the unfolding in Ibadan, Oyo  State where Nigerians are being targeted, attacked and even killed by fellow Nigerians based on their ethnicity. The ugly development, which should not have been allowed to start, was allowed to go on for too long and the entire nation must now engage the high gear to activate damage control. Our people must show more understanding and tolerance for one another.

We condemn in the strongest terms the clash in Ibadan where innocent Nigerians are being killed and their property raised as a result of their ethnic affiliation.

It is most unfortunate that the Yoruba and Hausa communities that had hitherto lived as brethren are now killing each other when each of the ethnic nationalities is as much the victims of the situation they think they are fighting. Not even the pastoral Fulani that some people are blaming are the problem as there are now strong indications – short of evidence – that those behind the criminalities that started this ethnic strife are not even Nigerians. They are aliens, who took advantage of ECOWAS Regional Integration to sneak into the country to wreak havoc.

We call on all sides to the crisis to immediately cease all hostilities to allow room for authorities to get to the root of the mayhem that has caused the loss of lives on a scale that scars the national conscience while property have also been wantonly destroyed in a manner that will haunt the economy of south-west Nigeria and even that of the entire country.

We had in the past raised alarm about how some unscrupulous elements were plotting to cause nationwide crisis using ethno-sectarian baiting as we have now seen in Ibadan. The projection of this warmonger was that the ethnic strife in Ibadan would have by now spread to other cities in the south-west in a manner that would provoke tit-for-tat retaliations and bloody reprisals in other parts of the country.

It is pertinent that the enemies of Nigeria are not provided with kindling in their bid to set the nation on fire. They are looking for how the public discourse of the events in Ibadan will further inflame passions and provide incitement that would result in more killings. Nigerians must never allow them.

As we sue for peace, Nigeria First consequently solicits for the cooperation of all stakeholders in the country to put an end to the growing spate of ethnic tension, which is traceable to the selfish agenda of some politicians.

We call on all traditional and religious leaders in Oyo state and their counterparts across the country to wade into the matter as peacemakers. They should diligently play the role that Nigerians and the whole world expect of their strategic positions so that this issue does not escalate beyond the gory developments that we have already seen.

We demand that law enforcement agents live up to expectation and prevent further loss of lives while holding those responsible for the loss of human life to account. Political office holders, even under the burden of expected neutrality, should not abuse this to stay indifferent at a time when decisive action on their part would have prevented the situation from degenerating into the kind of ugliness witnessed.

For those stoking the fire of ethnic violence, we urge a rethink because there shall definitely be reckoning for people that trivialize human life to the extent of wantonly causing deaths.

On a final note, Nigeria First call on all ethnic nationalities in the land to show better understanding towards each other while also being more tolerant as nothing is gained from violence, particularly when it is pointless. We must reset our ethnic relations to have an outcome where people see themselves first as Nigerians before devolving into ethnic blocs.

We wish our country quick healing.

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Group Hails NPHCDA Over Arrival, Distribution And Administration Of Covid-19 Vaccines

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The National Vanguard for Vaccine Administration and Advocacy (NVVAA) has commended the management of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) for the seamless arrival, distribution and administration of coronavirus vaccines across the nation.

The group, in a statement by its Secretary-General, Akor Oche, on Monday, said the agency has displayed a high sense of transparency and accountability so much so that Nigerians should expect the safety of the vaccines upon administration.

Following the arrival of the first batch of Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines in the country, the NPHCDA began the massive roll out on Friday with President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo subsequently receiving their first jabs.

By setting up a website for Nigerians to register, the NVVAA noted that the health agency eradicated all forms of encumbrances that would have marred the successful rollout of the vaccines.

The National Vanguard for Vaccine Administration and Advocacy, however, called on members of the general public to extend their support to the NPHCDA by disregarding the narratives against the suitability of the vaccine for humans.

On its part, the group urged the NPHCDA not to relent in the task of ensuring that all Nigerians are vaccinated in the coming months.

Read the full statement below:

The National Vanguard for Vaccine Administration and Advocacy is issuing this press statement to commend the management of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) on the arrival and subsequent distribution and administration of the AstraZeneca COVID 19 Vaccine across the country.

It is indeed commendable that the NPHCDA put in motion mechanisms that ensure that all states of the federation receive their doses of the vaccine in a timely and orderly manner that remains a disconnect from the norm whereby exercises such as this are always marred by poor logistics arrangements.

The NPHCDA has by its actions in recent times displayed a high sense of transparency and accountability so much so that Nigerians should expect the safety of the vaccines upon administration.

It is thus the considered opinion of the National Vanguard for Vaccine Administration and Advocacy that meeting the various timelines from the arrival to the country and its subsequent rollout is indicative of the sustainable efforts of the NPHCDA towards ensuring that the vaccines are safe for humans, as well as ensuring that there is an equitable distribution across the country.

It is also commendable that the NPCHDA opened an online registration platform for Nigerians to register for vaccination. This is indeed an exemplary display of foresight by the management of the NPHCDA in the sense that it has successfully eradicated all forms of encumbrances that would have marred the successful rollout of the vaccines in Nigeria.

The National Vanguard for Vaccine Administration and Advocacy calls on members of the general public to extend their support to the NPHCDA by disregarding the narratives against the suitability of the vaccine for humans.

It also states that with the level of expertise displayed by the NPHCDA, Nigerians should be assured that there shall be equitable distribution of vaccines across the country and all Nigerians regardless of their status in the society shall be vaccinated in record time subject to availability.

Nigerians are also enjoined to continue to support the efforts of the government towards ensuring that all Nigerians are vaccinated in the race to put COVID 19 behind us as quickly as possible.

We also encourage the leadership of the NPHCDA not to relent in the task of ensuring that all Nigerians are vaccinated as the vaccines become available in large quantities in the coming months.

The National Vanguard for Vaccine Administration and Advocacy as a critical stakeholder in the country is pledging its continuous support to the NPHCDA in ensuring that the vaccination programme is successfully implemented across the country.

The NPHCDA has indeed displayed exemplary service to Nigeria and it behoves all mischief makers to desist from spreading negative information with regards to the safety of the COVID 19 vaccines been administered in Nigeria.

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BREAKING: Fire Breaks Out In Aso Rock

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A fire outbreak has been reported at the Presidential Villa in Aso Rock, Abuja, causing confusion among workers in President Muhammadu Buhari’s abode, SaharaReporters reports.

It was learnt that the fire started at 4 pm as the fire service officials tried desperately to put it out.

“The security men were chasing people not to capture the incident, but I tried my best to capture it. The fire is still on,” a source disclosed around 9 pm.

Although the cause of the fire is not yet known, fire service trucks have moved in and were seen in the villa.

More details soon….

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We Won’t Allow Hijab In Kwara Mission Schools, CAN Insists

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The Christian Association of Nigeria in Kwara State has insisted that it will not allow its pupils to wear hijab, despite the Kwara State Government’s directive that Muslim female pupils in Christian mission schools should wear hijab.

The state government, last week, said it had approved wearing of hijab by Muslim female pupils in Christian mission grant-aided schools in the state.

It also said the 10 Christian mission schools closed down in the wake of the hijab crisis would be reopened on Monday, March 8.

However, the state branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria said it would not agree to the use of hijab in schools established by Christian missions, alleging that they were surprised that the government was trying to make a decision on a matter that was still before the Supreme Court.

CAN said, “The body condemns the use of hijab in Christian missions grant-aided schools as this will cause discrimination in schools and allow terrorists to easily identify our children and wards.”

Two missions, Evangelical Church Winning All and the Kwara Baptist Conference, said they would not allow the wearing of hijab in their respective schools when the schools reopen on Monday.

The leadership of ECWA said it would not welcome the directive in all its schools in the state.

The Chairman, ECWA Ilorin District Church Council, Rev John Owoeye, who spoke at a press conference in Ilorin on Friday, said ECWA schools were established by Christian missionaries for purposes of reaching communities with the love of Christ and to meet educational needs of the indigenes irrespective of religious affiliations, among other reasons.

The ECWA church leaders, who demanded return of ECWA schools to them, said since 1974 when there was agreement on collaboration between the state government and the proprietor for the school to be grant-aided schools, “the policy has never been total takeover of our schools by the government.”

Owoeye, who said Christians are bona fide citizens of the state, added, “We have equal rights under the provisional constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

He argued that the government was aware that Christian Religious Knowledge teachers were not posted to Muslim grant-aided schools and that the gathering of Fellowship of Christian Students was not allowed in Muslim grant-aided schools.

“Similarly, we want the government to be informed that her decision and plan to provide hijab and enforce its use in our Christian mission grant-aided schools will not be tolerated as it is an infringement on our freedom of religion as enshrined in the constitution of Nigeria,” he said.

Also, the President of Kwara Baptist Conference, Rev Victor Dada, in a separate press conference, said the mission would not allow the use of hijab in its 38 schools across the state, adding that the government was wrongly advised in taking the decision.

Dada argued that the state government took a wrong decision by its blanket approval of wearing of hijab for female pupils in mission schools.

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“The state government was wrongly advised to take that decision. The state even acted in contempt of court as the case is still pending before the Supreme Court.

“We want to warn the government that the step it wants to take by approving the use of hijab for all public schools and grant-aided schools in the state will lead to an avalanche of reactions, the end of which no one can predict.

“With this move, the state government is saying the Muslims’ purported rights are superior to those of the Christians.

“What we are saying is that no one, whether the Kwara State Government or even the Federal Government, can force hijab on our children or in our schools. We shall not hesitate to use all legitimate means to protect our heritage. We will defend our faith and protect our property.”

Meanwhile, Muslim stakeholders in the state have urged the state government to stand by the rule of law in taking a final decision on the hijab issue.

In a statement signed by its Chairman, Alhaji Is-haq AbdulKarim; and Secretary, Professor Ibrahim Abikan, the Muslim Stakeholders said the state branch of CAN, which engaged the state government in a legal battle over the issue of ownership of the grant-aided schools since 2013 lost its two cases in Ilorin High Court in 2016 and the Court of Appeal in 2019.

In a related development, Chairman, Kwara State branch of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Olu Adewara, said the union was not part of the hijab crisis currently going on in the state.

The NUT Chairman, Adewara, told reporters, “The hijab matter is basically an issue between the government, the Muslim parents and the owners of these schools, regardless that such schools are grant-aided by the government. The NUT is not involved because this is not a matter bordering on teachers’ rights.”

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