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Insecurity: Inter-Faith Group Appeals To CAN, Others To See President Buhari As Leader For All

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The National Inter-Faith Religious Organizations for Peace (NIFROP) has urged the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and other religious bodies in the country to embrace President Muhammadu Buhari as a leader for all.

According to the foremost interfaith-faith group, the president has never demonstrated bias against Christians, Muslims or any other religious sect in the country.

This unshakable faith in the unity of Nigeria, the group reckoned, was visible at the last polls in 2019, in which Nigerians across religious and ethnic lines massively voted for the president.

NIFROP’s remarks trails CAN’s insinuation that President Buhari’s prolonged silence on Sheikh Ahmad Gumi’s alleged profiling of military operatives is tantamount to endorsement of the Islamic cleric.

However, speaking at a press conference on Friday, in Abuja, through its grand patron, Bishop Julius Idiwe, NIFROP warned the Christian body not to drag the president into bigotry or partisanship.

Bishop Idiwe noted that CAN’s unwarranted outburst and vituperation on the presidency, with intent to incite the public, negates the core norms and values of all religions.

The inter-faith group insisted that President Buhari has always taken an impartial stand on national issues and doesn’t jump into every statement in the public domain.

Idiwe recalled how Rev Fr. Ejike Mbaka and other Christian preachers in the past launched scathing attacks on the president without any reprimand whatsoever.

While Gumi has insistently canvassed for compensation and amnesty for the bandits, the respected Christian cleric said President Buhari has rejected his proposal.

He, therefore, advised CAN to promote peaceful co-existence, unity, togetherness and the indivisibility of Nigeria.

Read the full statement below:

The leadership of the NationalInter-Faith Religious Organizations for Peace ( NIFROP) is compelled to address a component of us, the  Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) over comments attributed to an Islamic cleric, Shiek Ahmad Gumi on his alleged negative profiling of non-Muslim soldiers fighting insecurities in the frontlines, in  President Muhammadu  Buhari was unfairly dragged into a religious campaign. We find the contents of CAN’s statement untrue and a misrepresentation of reality concerning the Buhari Presidency.

NIFROP has found the public utterances and outbursts of CAN, a major Christian body in Nigeria against the Government, office and person of President Buhari extremely misdirected and misleading. And we believe, it is because of a lack of basic knowledge of the operations or mindset of this  Presidency.

NIFROP is unexcited the more by the consistent focus by CAN, as exemplified even in the current public statement to align the personality or the Buhari  Presidency to the country’s regressive national faultlines of ethnicity, religion and regionalism, even when there is enough evidence against such sermonized inclinations on the President. We again wish to bring to the notice of CAN’s leadership that President Buhari has consistently over the years, clearly resisted a romance with such biases.

It is the conviction of NIFROP that the sacred obligation of religious leaders in the country is to seek peace as also amplified by the Holy Scriptures. It is completely unreasonable to stoke troubles in the land in the magnitude that would cause the widespread crisis. It is our divine duty as clerics to promote peaceful co-existence, unity, togetherness and the indivisibility of Nigerians and Nigeria.

Therefore, CAN’s unwarranted outburst and vituperations on the Presidency, intent on public incitement of the people negates these core norms and values of all religions, as we collectively seek for a unified nation. It is a task President Buhari has glaringly and religiously committed his heart to it as leader of this nation.

President Buhari has never demonstrated through words o  actions any discrimination against neither Christian nor Muslims or preference for a particular religious sect in this country. He has not shown any favouritism to any section of this country against another based on religion or ethnicity. Both Christian and Muslim clerics have variously and directly attacked his Presidency, several times in the past; but he has never contemplated or condescended to a clampdown on them using state power for their expressed opinions.

It may interest CAN and their leaders to recall the several damaging prophecies of the SpiritualDirectorr of the Adoration Ministry,  Enugu, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbak against the Government and person of President Buhari, including his 2018 New Year eve prophesy, predicting President Buhari’s defeat in the 2019 presidential elections.

CAN should also remember Fr. Mbaka’s prophecy on December 31, 2020, Crossover Night tagged, ‘Cornucopia of New Miracles from God,” in which he accused President Buhari of politicising the conditions of Nigerian youths. And at another instance, Fr. Mbaka declared that “God is angry with Buhari”, a statement, he later denied after it went viral on social media. But the Presidency never harassed him.

In CAN’s latest statement, it also referenced the most recent open epistle to Nigerians by the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Rev. Fr. Dr Matthew Hassan Kukah in which he severely threw darts at President Buhari and his Government in an obviously inciting and demeaning manner. It angered some Muslim youths who reacted to it by issuing a quit notice to  Fr. Kukah to vacate the North or face the consequences.

But CAN deliberately or hypocritically fail to remember or mention that the Presidency instantly condemned and countered the threats of the Muslim youths on Kukah through a public statement. It also took actions to secure his life from any possible physical assault on him. President Buhari warned the enraged and incensed Muslim youths never to contemplate an attack on the Catholic Priest or dare take laws into their hands or else, the consequences would be severe on the perpetrators.

President Buhari has repeatedly hollered publicly and even in his private conversations with eminent Nigerians his unshakeable faith in the oneness of Nigeria. He believes in the doctrine of equity, fairness and justice. That’s why even in 2019,  both Christian and Muslim dominated states in Nigeria competitively and massively voted for his reelection. It is a testimony to his demonstrated credentials as the father of the nation and all Nigerians irrespective of religious or ethnic affinities.

And the neutral character of President Buhari has reflected even in the distribution of his appointments and capital projects throughout Nigeria. Every section of the country has an imprint of his administration. CAN’s statement is, therefore, unfortunate and condemnable, to say the least.

Therefore, it is instructive to advise CAN and other religious bigots to necessarily separate the Buhari Presidency from false and imposed religious or ethnic biases.

To consciously and provocatively

align Mr. president with religion or ethnicity over fighting insecurities in the country,  profusely as exhibited by CAN is antithetical to all alternatives of panaceas to the crisis of insecurity in the country.  CAN and their co-travellers must learn to embrace the President and his views as leader of Nigeria and not as a  Fulani, Hausa or a Muslim.

Therefore,  it defeats every sane logic and wisdom on CAN’s expectations of the leader of a complex nation like Nigeria to start chasing every statement in public space. For CAN to misconstrue the Presidency’s silence over Shiek Gumi’s utterances as an endorsement of it and a lack of commitment to fighting armed banditry or terrorism in the county is a farce that only exists in the warped imaginations of these CAN leaders.

And there are several examples to buttress this assertion. Whilst Shiek Gumi has insistently canvassed fo compensation and amnesty for the bandits, President Buhari has rejected his proposal. Mr President is clear and loud that there will be no amnesty for bandits or criminals, as his administration is poised to deal with them appropriately.

Mr. President’s recent directive to security operatives to shoot anybody bearing AK-47 and other sophisticated weapons anywhere in the country is one of the series of fresh actions to contain insecurities in the country. Therefore, CAN have no sound basis to castigate or malign Mr President on his result-oriented battles with insecurities in the last five years.

Thank you.

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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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$1bn Arms Procurement: Clear Your Name Now, Coalition Charges Defence Minister

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The Coalition for Truth and Justice (CTJ) has called on the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magashi, to clear his name from the controversial purchase of security equipment.

The group noted that Magashi must explain how his ministry expended the $1billion approved by the Federal Government in April 2018.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday in Abuja, national coordinator, Timothy Charles, described the minister’s silence as “unholy” and an “embarrassment” to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Charles said the group is alarmed that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Attahiru Ibrahim is carrying out acts to shield the minister.

The Coalition for Truth and Justice, therefore, advised the COAS to be bold enough to stand by the truth instead of being clever by half and attempting to insult the sensibilities of Nigerians.

The group also urged all well-meaning Nigerians to demand that the minister comes out clear by providing facts and details on arms procurement under his watch.

While absorbing the former service chiefs of any involvement, the Coalition for Truth and Justice added that Magashi must come clean for Nigerians to take the FG more seriously in its quest to address the security challenges in the country.

Read the full statement below:

The Coalition for Truth and Justice, a non-governmental organization in Nigeria dedicated to the entrenchment of transparency and accountability in governance in Nigeria, welcomes you all to this important press conference that is intended to address some of the pertinent issues that have surrounded the $1 billion released for the purchase of arms in the prosecution of the war against terrorism and other acts of criminalities across the country.

We must agree that these issues are of great importance to the well-being of the country at large, given the country’s security challenges in recent times as well as the government’s efforts in addressing these challenges.

It is common knowledge that the Muhammadu Buhari administration had in April 2018 approved the release of $1 billion to Nigerian Defence authorities for the purchase of security equipment to fight insecurity in the country under the purview of the Ministry of Defence.

Thus, it is pertinent to state that since the coming of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, arms purchases have been domiciled with the Ministry of Defence and not individual services as erroneously projected in the public space.

It is also succinct to state that the Honorable Minister of Defence, who is in charge of the Ministry of Defence, should provide answers to questions surrounding arms purchase in the country. It is thus despicable that there has been some well-orchestrated attempt by some vested interest to divert attention from the Minister of Defence.

We are constrained to add that the statement credited to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, during his appearance before the House of Representatives is diversionary and an indication that he is carrying out the whims and caprices of the Honorable Minister of Defence.

The Coalition for Truth and Justice views the recent happenings as a sad development in the sense that as a high ranking officer of the Nigerian Army and one who is conversant with the operational procedures in the Nigerian Military would elect to feign ignorance to an issue as sensitive as arms purchase in the prosecution of the war against terrorism in the country.

We are aware that the Ministry of Defence is responsible for arms purchases and the unholy silence of the Honorable Minister of Defence in this regard leaves many questions unanswered. This is also an embarrassment of unimaginable proportion to the Muhammadu Buhari administration that the Honourable Minister of Defence cannot articulate a response to the questions surrounding the monies meant for arms purchase.

The Coalition for Truth and Justice uses this medium to call on the Honorable Minister to come out clear by providing the much-needed information surrounding the $1billion released to purchase arms.

If this is not the case, we then wonder why the Honorable Minister of Defence has elected to play to the gallery in a case as sensitive as this. More alarming is that the Chief of Army Staff has been carrying out acts that aim to shield the Honorable Minister of Defence.

The Coalition for Truth and Justice frowns at such display and wishes to advise the Chief of Army Staff to be bold enough to stand by the truth instead of being clever by half and attempting to insult the sensibilities of Nigerians.

We are constrained to add that if the Chief of Army Staff who has barely spent months in office would not be bold enough to call a spade a spade, we are afraid that his ability to lead the prestigious Nigerian Army is indeed questionable.

It is also curious that the Chief of Army Staff could ask that the past service chief be invited to answer questions on arms procurement during their tenures. This is indeed an anomaly that all well-meaning Nigerians must resist.

This also goes to the Honorable Minister of Defence, who, by his actions, has displayed that he does not have a grasp of the operational strategies of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

It is our considered opinion that the Honorable Minister of Defence must, as a matter of necessity and urgency, provide the general public details on how the $1billion was expended under his watch in the spirit of transparency and accountability.

The Coalition for Truth and Justice calls on all well-meaning Nigerians to demand that the Honorable Minister of Defence come out clear by providing facts and details on arms procurement under his watch.

Therefore, it would be inexcusable for the Honorable Minister of Defence to continue to shy away from his responsibilities by pushing a distractive narrative in the public space. And not until this is done, the government’s seriousness in the prosecution of the war against terrorism would always be called to question.

The general public must also be aware that the former service chiefs were never involved in arms procurement and must do good to ignore the well-orchestrated campaign in this regard. Consequently, the Honorable Minister of Defence must come out to clear the air if we are indeed serious in addressing the security challenges in the country.

This is the position of the Coalition for Truth and Justice as critical stakeholders in the entrenchment of transparency and accountability in governance in Nigeria.

We thank you for your time and charge all present to take this message to their various constituencies.

God bless Nigeria.

God bless the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Thank you.

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UK Group Task Ibomites to Support Their Leaders

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The people of Akwa-Ibom state have been urged to celebrate their own rather than castigating leaders who have sacrificed for the development of their region.

The president General, Global Peace Movement International UK, Dr. Mike Uyi made this declaration in a statement on Thursday in London.

According to him, the people of Akwa-Ibom should see themselves as a region in Nigeria that are lucky to have a leader like the former governor of the state, Godswill Akpabio now minister of Niger Delta.

He said, “People of Akwa-Ibom state should learn to celebrate what they have. For any reason whatsoever, Sen. Godswill Akpabio is a palm tree, an iroko which is known by every native and international farmer”.

“Akpabio is tested and trusted. As commissioner, Governor, Senator, now a minister of Niger Delta, he performed excellently and still have outstanding performance among his minister counterparts. So, why attack him?”.

Uyi said assessing Akpabio’s political journey so far, one will not be wrong to call Akpabio a successful politician because of his antecedents.

“If not for anything else, he puts Akwa-Ibom state in the Guinness book of record. The state or region is currently enjoying what Akpabio left on the ground”.

“Global Peace Movement International UK is saying clearly that the future of Nigeria is in Akwa-Ibom”.

Dr. Uyi said Akpabio’s progressive portfolio has added a label (GSM) to his personality. The label GSM stands for: Governor (G), Senator (S) and Minister (M).

“His starling performance can not be compared to any in the history of democracy in Nigeria and in Akwa-Ibom state since the creation of the state”.

Uyi further stated that Akpabio has long transcended state or regional barriers. “His sole motivation has been raising the standards of living of Nigerians, promoting the good image of the country and empowering ordinary citizens of Nigeria to not only pursue their dreams but more importantly in providing them with the means to achieve these dreams”.

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