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Christian, Muslim Clerics Endorse Covid-19 Vaccine, Laud NPHCDA’s Efforts

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Some renowned Christian and Muslim clerics in the country have approved the Oxford/Astrazeneca coronavirus vaccine for all Nigerians irrespective of faith.

Adopting the slogan ‘Covid-19 Vaccine is Safe for Health and Life’, the inter-faith group, under the auspices of National Inter-Faith and Religious Organizations for Peace (NIFROP) declared the vaccines safe and effective for Nigerians.

The group made these known on Tuesday in a communique issued at the end of its executive session on the public falsehoods and myths against the administration of the vaccines.

In the communique co-signed by its President, Bishop Sunday Garuba and Assistant Secretary, Rev. Andelm Francis, the clerics also hailed the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) for the seamless arrival and roll out of the vaccines.

According to the NIFROP, NPHCDA’s leadership has shown competence and expertise so far.

The group, therefore, urged all Nigerians to ignore conspiracy theories and support the health agency in ridding the nation of the deadly contagion.

Declaring the vaccines “good for all citizens irrespective of religious creeds or ethnicity identity”, the NIFROP added that it should be embraced by all to enhance greater public health.

The clerics, however, implored all Nigerians to be vigilant and report any act of impropriety or sharp practices by anybody to the nearest authority for appropriate actions.

Read full communique below:

Preamble:

After the FGN took delivery of the first consignment of the COVAX Covid-19 vaccines and the commencement of the immunization process, NIFROP met in an executive session in Abuja, deliberated and examined the public falsehoods and myths contrived against the expected administration of the vaccines on Nigerians.  Below are the observations, resolutions and recommendations by NIFROP;

OBSERVATIONS:

The National Inter-Faith and Religious Organizations for Peace (NIFROP) profoundly thanked and appreciated the Federal Government, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari; and the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 for the collective and tireless efforts so far to contain Covid-19 in Nigeria. These measures have assisted enormously in curtailing the spread of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, with comparatively lesser infection and casualties in Nigeria.

NIFROP welcomed the arrival of the 3.94 million dosages of Covid-19 vaccine into the country, which we monitored from the point of flight-landing at the airport in Abuja; the discharge of the vaccines and its storage by prescribed medical standards.  This is commendable.

We also observed the meticulous and highly professional job/work competence as exhibited by the team of experts at the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA). NIFROP observed with unquestionable clarity, the thorough job done by NPHCDA in the choice of the vaccines and the transparency in handling or management of the vaccination exercise across the country so far, including the logistics. It is also very commendable.

NIFROP glowingly commended the President and the Vice President for leading by example, in kick-starting the inoculation exercise publicly. This will certainly encourage other Nigerians who are sceptical about the vaccine based on the false conjectures and conspiracy theories are woven around it by detractors to also get immunized.

Finally, we observed the fake campaigns on alleged inflated logistics and condemned them.  We totally disowned the rumours that 10 billion naira have been earmarked to be spent on transportation of vaccines to different parts of the country. We, therefore, pleaded with Nigerians to give the Presidential Task Force in alliance with NPHCDA the benefit of hindsight to carry out its mandate without any campaign of falsehood or distractions of any sort.

RESOLUTIONS:

Therefore, NIFROP unanimously adopted the slogan of “Covid-19 Vaccine is Safe for Health and Life.” It is our public appeal, awareness message and campaigns throughout the country as a stamp of our endorsement and trust in the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccines.

By the declaration, NIFROP hereby, unequivocally states that the Covid-19 vaccines are good for all citizens irrespective of religious creeds or ethnic identity and should be embraced by all to enhance greater public health.

Consequently, NIFROP resolved that all its affiliates, partners and their sister-partners, as well as friends, will be activated to support the campaign by NPHCDA in helping to make sure the vaccine is taken by a majority of vulnerable citizens.

We also recommended that all traditional and community leaders who are members of this inter-religious body also domesticate our message and campaign slogan of “Covid -19 Vaccine is Safe for Health and Life” in their respective domains and persuade subjects to key into it through adequate sensitization.

The Headteachers and teachers of all schools owned by the various religious communities under our large umbrella also transform into automatic agents and carriers of the NIFROP-supported message of Covid-19, wherever they are domiciled in Nigeria. They should strategize on how to gently persuade their pupils and students into actively participating in the inoculation exercise.

CONCLUSION

With the distribution and formal commencement of the Covid-19 vaccine inoculation exercise, we implore all Nigerians to be vigilant and report any act of impropriety or sharp practices by anybody to the nearest authority for appropriate actions.

NIFROP is reminding every Nigerian that the Covid-19 vaccine immunization is free-of-charge to all Nigerians. Everyone should therefore resist the temptation of paying a kobo to be vaccinated. #TogetherLetsChaseCovid-19OutOfNigeria!

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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