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Latest News in West Africa

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Christmas: Watch, pray for days of evil are numbered – Pastor Danjuma

Pastor Moses Danjuma, General Overseer, Bible Foundation Church, Nassarawa Kaduna State on Saturday asked Nigerians to watch and pray as the challenges facing Nigeria will soon be over.

”Bandits attack, hardships, being experienced today, is enough to make us stronger through prayers. Be watchful, for the days of the enemies are numbered, very soon, all these evils, pains shall be over,” the pastor said.

Pastor Danjuma who spoke on the theme,” Christmas; a time of sober reflection,” took the first Bible reading from the book of Exodus 14v13

“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever.”

He said everything under the sun has its own time and season.

” In all things, we should be ready to give thanks to God. When we are going through difficult times, we should watch and pray, for our God is a consuming fire.” He further preached.

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Medical council scraps N900,000 fee for foreign-trained doctors

The Mental and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) has scrapped the N900,000 mandatory fee for foreign-trained medical doctors.

 

The council, in a statement, announced that its previous publication that foreign-trained doctors are to undergo a six-month mandatory attachment programme in teaching hospitals has been withdrawn.

 

The medical council had asked all medical graduates who schooled abroad and seek to take the council’s assessment examination will undergo a six-month mandatory attachment programme.

 

Also, applicants who are Nigerian citizens were required to pay a non-refundable fee of N900,000, while non-citizens were to pay N1,400,000 for the programme.

 

The decision of the medical council did not go down well with many Nigerians in the wake of the massive emigration of health workers to other countries.

 

Owing to the directive, the House of Representatives mandated its committee on healthcare services to investigate the council over the directive.

 

In the new directive, the council said candidates who have paid the N10,000 registration fee will be refunded, adding that it will publish another curriculum for the training.

 

The council also deleted the previous directive published on its website.

 

“This is to inform the general public, that following the public reactions to the MDCN publication on the mandatory six-month teaching hospitals attachment programme for foreign-trained medical and dental graduates, especially the petition by a coalition of parents of foreign-trained medical doctors to the national assembly,” the statement reads.

 

“And based on the outcome of the meetings MDCN held with the leadership of joint senate committee on health and house of representatives committee on health care services and the house of representatives committee on public petition, MDCN hereby states as follows:

 

“The MDCN hereby withdraws the publication on the six-month attachment for foreign-trained medical and dental graduates and candidates are now left with the discretion to seek knowledge that will assist them with the assessment examination wherever and however they so desire. Candidates who have paid N10,000 (ten thousand naira) registration fees will have their money refunded.

 

 “MDCN will publish in due course the curriculum for the training which has been developed by the examiners to guide the candidates in preparation for the examination.

 

“This curriculum was brought out from the “Red Book” which is available on the MDCN website. MDCN would also publish the performance pattern of candidates in the previous examinations based on country of training in order to guide parents in the choice of foreign universities for their wards, and this will be done and published after every subsequent examination.” 

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Bishop Kukah calls for sincere, open approach to end banditry, security challenges

The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Mathew Hassan Kukah has called for a sincere, open and proactive approach to bring an end to banditry and other security challenges bedevilling the country.

In his Christmas message on Saturday, Kukah accused the Federal Government of not taking its responsibility serious in protecting the lives and properties of the citizens.

According to him, “We have before us a government totally oblivious to the cherished values of the sacredness of life.”

He noted that after over seven years, over 100 Chibok girls are still marooned in the ocean of uncertainty, lamenting that over three years after, Leah Sharibu is still unaccounted for, while students of the Federal Government College, Yauri, and children from Islamiyya School, Katsina, are still in captivity.

He explained that it does not include hundreds of other children whose captures were less dramatic, adding that Nigerians have lost count of hundreds of individuals and families who have been kidnapped and live below the radar of publicity.

He expressed dismay that tales and promises about planned rescues have since deteriorated into mere whispers, saying that nothing expresses the powerlessness of the families like the silence of government.

Kukah said that the silence of the federal government only feeds the ugly beast of complicity in the deeds of these evil people who have suspended the future of entire generations of the children.

He asked, “does the President of Nigeria not owe Nigerians an explanation and answers as to when the abductions, kidnappings, brutality, senseless, and endless massacres of the citizens will end?”

Bishop Kukah thanked the efforts of the nation’s security men and women in restoring order in the country.

The Bishop blamed the government for not doing enough to address the negative effects of climate change that is affecting every part of the country.

He noted that air and water pollution, waste management, deforestation, desertification, erosion, and flooding, continue to threaten agriculture, aquaculture and the welfare of citizens despite all the grand plans.

He explained that over time, Nigerians have seen long, good promises caught in the web of bureaucratic fraud.

Bishop Kukah commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the National Assembly for falling into line with the wishes of the people and injecting technological innovation into the electoral process on the amended electoral act.

He enjoined the National Assembly to quickly act on the observations made by the President on the issues of direct or indirect primaries and return the bill to the President for assent.

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Electoral Act: Make sacrifice, sign bill into law – Arewa youths tell Buhari

The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, AYCF, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law.

National President of AYCF, Yerima Shettima, said all is not well with Nigeria’s electoral system, hence the need for the bill to become law.

Speaking with newsmen, Shettima said Buhari will be remembered for good and for doing the bidding of Nigerians by signing the bill into law.

According to Shettima: “The fact of the matter is that our electoral system is not doing good at all. We must make sacrifices to make it improve. If we have to improve on it, then we have to change the pattern.

“I don’t know the reason why the president is thinking twice about this issue of electoral Act and I don’t know his fears.

“But, one thing I’m sure of is that, if he can take the bold step and be courageous enough, he would be remembered for good. I do not think it would be good for him not to do the bidding of Nigerians.

“From all indications, Nigerians want the electoral Act to be signed into law. I don’t know if it’s because of direct primaries or there are other reasons. For me, I will advise him to do it, so that his name will be remembered for taking advantage of what this opportunity has provided.”

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BREAKING: Archbishop Desmond Tutu is dead

Mr Tutu, a retired Anglican archbishop, died on Sunday morning in South Africa, according to President Cyril Ramaphosa. He was 90.

Desmond Tutu, a prominent South African human rights activist whose contribution to the end of apartheid regime in South Africa earned worldwide acclaim, has died.  

Mr Tutu, a retired Anglican archbishop, died on Sunday morning in South Africa, according to President Cyril Ramaphosa. He was 90. 

“The passing of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is another chapter of bereavement in our nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans who have bequeathed us a liberated South Africa,” Mr Ramaphosa said in a statement on Sunday morning. “Desmond Tutu was a patriot without equal; a leader of principle and pragmatism who gave meaning to the biblical insight that faith without works is dead. We pray that Archbishop Tutu’s soul will rest in peace but that his spirit will stand sentry over the future of our nation.”  

Mr Tutu, born on October 7, 1931, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his non-violent opposition to the brutal apartheid regime that held sway in South Africa for decades. He retired from his role as the Archbishop of Cape Town in 1996, but continued to render humanitarian services to South Africans and people around the world. 

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Muslims celebrate Christmas with Christians in Kaduna

Some Muslims in Kaduna State on Saturday joined Christians at Christ Evangelical and Life Intervention Ministry, Sabon Tasha, to celebrate Christmas.

This, according to the General Overseer of the ministry, was to foster love, peace and unity among residents in the state irrespective of religion.

The general overseer of the ministry, Pastor Yohanna Buru expressed satisfaction over the large turnout of Muslim imams and youth from seven northern states of Nigeria that attended this year’s Christmas service.

This is the 10th year the church has been hosting Muslims from various states for Christmas celebrations.

He said, despite the insecurity bedevilling stability in the 19 northern states of Nigeria and outbreak of Omicron variant of COVID-19, coupled with the high cost of transportation, hundreds of Muslims, including women and children, attended this year’s Christmas morning service with the aim of strengthening good relationship, better understanding, love and religious tolerance.

He said over 500 Muslims from Kaduna, Kano, Zamfara, Katsina, Abuja and Niger joined his church at today’s Christmas service to promote peace and unity, adding that last year, the number of Muslims that attended the church service outnumbered Christians.

The cleric said that all the Muslims that attended the Christmas service were from all Islamic sects, cutting across Tijjaniya, Shi’ite, Kadriyya and Sunni. just as he further added that “We must remember that we are created by one God, and we are the children of Adam and Eve, and we both have our holy scriptures (Bible & Qur’an) from one God who guides us on how to live in peace and harmony with each other.”

He expressed worries over increased insecurity, daily bloodshed, banditry, kidnapping, attack and ethno-religion killing across the North which has affected the region in terms of education, agriculture, economy, and all sectors of human development.

He added that the outbreak of ethno-religious crisis in some parts of the Northern region has caused a serious setback to peace and stability of other sectors of development and hence, the need for both Muslims and Christians to live in peace and harmony to make the region better again.

He prayed to Almighty God to bring an end to the continuous killing of innocent citizens along highways and other villages while appreciating the efforts of states and the federal government in the deployment of security in some troubled zones.

The Man of God prayed for Nigeria’s military, police, and other volunteer para-military agencies towards success in all their peace missions across the world.

He said the church cannot forget the contributions of a Muslim woman, Hajiya Ramatu Tijjani for the massive support to widows and orphans.

Responding, one of the Muslim scholars, Sheikh Ahmed Rufai said that this is not the first time of coming to celebrate Christmas with his friends in the church

He said, every Muslim the world over respect Jesus Christ and coming to the church to celebrate his birth, makes him happy.

He added that during the birth of Prophet Mohammed, SAW, Pastor Yohanna Buru usually comes to their mosques and celebrates the birth of the Prophet with them.

He thanked the church for the free meal and other donations which the pastor shared to all the Muslims that attended the church service.

He noted that coming to church and celebrating Christmas doesn’t make him a Christian, but to strengthen Christians and Muslims relationship for peace and unity among different faith-based organizations.

Similarly, the District Head of Kurmin Mashi Kaduna, Alhaji Rabo Abdullahi, Kurmin Mashi Sabon Layi said he is happy to see the number of Muslim youth and Imams that attended the Christmas service.

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Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu tests positive for COVID-19

 

Mr Garba Shehu, Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, has tested positive for COVID-19 and is undergoing treatment.

 

The presidential spokesman who confirmed the development to Channels Television on Saturday, said he feels fine but undergoing treatment.

 

Garba explained that he has mild symptoms of the disease, revealing that he is already isolated and would be having more tests to properly ascertain his status.

 

Garba Shehu, prior to his positive status, had been fully vaccinated against the virus.

 

He also disclosed that the Permanent Secretary at the State House, Tijjani Umar, and a few others in the Aso Rock have also undergone COVID-19 tests but failed to reveal their results.

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Lai Mohammed denies having Covid-19

 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has denied being infected with COVID-19.

 

Mohammed, who is a also member of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, said he attended the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday, the extraordinary meeting of FEC on Thursday and the inauguration of the new Minister of State for Works and Housing, Muazu Sambo, on Friday which was covered by the media.

 

He, therefore, wondered how he could be said to be in isolation and still be allowed to attend such important events at the Presidential Villa.

 

Online medium, Premium Times, had reported that COVID-19 was ravaging the Presidential Villa. The newspaper said Mohammed as well as several other Villa officials including the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijani Umar; the President’s Aide-de-camp, Yusuf Dodo; his chief security officer, Aliyu Musa, and his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, had contracted the virus.

 

Responding, however, Mohammed said, “I read the story and we still have a great battle on our hands on fake news and mischievous reporting. I was in the public view on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I was at FEC on Wednesday. I coordinated press briefing on Thursday for the extraordinary EFC meeting. And the minister of power and I addressed media.

 

“On Friday, I witnessed the swearing-in for minister of state for power after which we had a security meeting. How can someone who has had such high level engagements for three days consecutively be ill?

 

“It is nothing but fake news. I am hale and hearty. Not only that, I have taken the two doses of the vaccine. I have also taken the Pfizer booster. I am a member of PSC and I am hale and hearty and I am performing at optimum level.”

 

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Every Nigerian should receive God’s blessing this season –Osinbajo

 

As Christians all over the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN says because “God is with us” Nigerians irrespective of different backgrounds will prosper, experience peace, and will be blessed in everything that they do.

 

Osinbajo stated this today in a chat with journalists shortly after the Christmas Service at the Aso Villa Chapel, Abuja.

 

The Vice President also delivered the sermon at the service attended by his wife, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, and other dignitaries including some members of the Diplomatic Corps.

 

Approached by State House Correspondents after the service, Prof. Osinbajo said “ he was speaking to all Nigerians,” while delivering the Christmas Day Service sermon entitled “Why the Angels Rejoiced.”

 

“My message for Christmas is that God himself is with us, and that is very important because it means that we will prosper in everything that we do, and we will be blessed in everything that we do,” he said according to a statement by his spokesman, Laolu Akande.

 

It was titled, ‘Every Nigerian Should Receive God’s Great Blessing This Season, Osinbajo Says On Christmas Day’.

 

Continuing, the VP said, “And God does not discriminate in his blessings. The Bible says that, he causes the rain to fall and the sun to shine on the good and the evil alike.

 

“So, God does not even discriminate. He makes sure that he blesses everyone. And on this special occasion, I believe that every Nigerian should receive this great blessing that God has for us.

 

“I believe that we are entering into a season of God’s great blessings of peace and prosperity and all shall be well with our country, in Jesus name.”

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Insecurity: Bishop Kukah knocks Buhari, northern critics, says region descending into ‘Arewanistan’

 The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Matthew Hassan Kukah, on Saturday, hit the President, Muhammadu Buhari, over the worsening security situation in the country.

 

The cleric said the President owes Nigerians explanations as to the rising kidnappings and killings in Nigeria.

 

In his 2021 Christmas Message titled, ‘A Nation Still In Search of Truth & Vindication’, Kukah also slammed his “northern brethren” who levelled accusations against him when he raised the alarm about the odious state of insecurity in the region.

 

Kukah said Katsina-born Buhari from northern Nigeria and his government must move quickly “before Arewa, our beloved Arewa, descends into Arewanistan!”

 

By his mention of “Arewanistan”, the cleric reminds Nigerians of Afghanistan’s takeover in August 2021 by an Islamic militant group known as the Taliban following the withdrawal of American forces from the landlocked Asian country. The fighters took over the war-torn country with 39 million people forcing Afghanistani civilian President Ashraf Ghani to abscond the presidential palace and jet out.

 

In his 2021 Christmas message, Kukah recalled, “At about this time last year when I raised the alarm about the perilous state of affairs in northern Nigeria, all kinds of accusations were levelled against me especially by my northern brethren. When the Catholic Bishops protested openly against the killings of our people in March 2020, we were accused of acting against government with religious motives being imputed to our noble intentions. Now, we are fully in the grip of evil.

 

“Today, a feeling of vindication only saddens me as I have watched the north break into a cacophony of quarrelsome blame games over our tragic situation. A catalogue of unprecedented cruelty has been unleashed on innocent citizens across the northern states. In their sleep, on their farmlands, in their markets, or even on the highway, innocent citizens have been mowed down and turned into burnt offerings to gods of evil. Communities have been turned into gulags of misery, death, pain, and perfidy. We must move quickly before Arewa, our beloved Arewa, descends into Arewanistan!”

 

Continuing, the fiery preacher described as complicitous, the continued silence of the Buhari regime on the disappearance of the remaining Chibok schoolgirls, Dapchi schoolgirls Leah Sharibu and other abducted students forgotten for years in their captors’ den.

 

He wrote, “The silence of the federal government only feeds the ugly beast of complicity in the deeds of these evil people who have suspended the future of entire generations of our children.

 

“Every day, we hear of failure of intelligence, yet those experts who provide intelligence claim that they have always done their duty diligently and efficiently. Does the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria not believe that he owes parents and citizens answers as to where our children are and when they are coming home?

 

“Does the President of Nigeria not owe us an explanation and answers as to when the abductions, kidnappings, brutal, senseless, and endless massacres of our citizens will end? When will our refugees from Cameroon, Chad or Niger return home? We need urgent answers to these questions.”

 

“While I commend the efforts of our security men and women, I call on the President, in collaboration with the Governors who are doing their best to preserve and protect their people to develop a more honest, open, and robust strategy for ending the humiliation of our people and restoring social order to our people. We have borne enough humiliation as communities and as a country,” he added.

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Ooni breaks silence after Naomi’s divorce post

 

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja II, on Saturday night broke his silence on social media when he urged Nigerians to reach out to those who haven’t had it easy in 2021.

The 47-year-old monarch stated this in a post on his official Facebook page while wishing Nigerians happy end-of-year celebrations.

He wrote, “I join all and sundry in the joyous occasion of this particular season. As we all know it’s one of joy, celebrations and a deep reflection on what Olódùmarè has done through the year.

“As we do take time to celebrate with our families and loved ones, I implore you to reach out to your neighbours, especially those who haven’t had it as easy through the year.

“It is my prayer that you’ll continue to find strength to celebrate in joy, peace, and abounding love which is the bedrock of this special occasion.

“Royal blessings from the House of Oduduwa and compliments of the season.”

This is the first time the Ooni will speak after his estranged wife, Evangelist Naomi Silekunola, announced her separation from the monarch through an Instagram post on December 23, 2021.

The 28-year-old evangelist also renounced the title of a ‘Queen’, saying she tried to make the three-year union work but the Ooni’s public identity is at variance with “his true self”.

“I did my best to endure and make it work; many times, I smiled through the struggle, but I have finally realised I had just one assignment, my son, and when God is done, He is done. He chose Saul to be king, and when He was done, He told the prophet Samuel I have moved on.

“Religion was never an issue between us…Instead, His Majesty has a picture he would love the world to see and perceive him as and another one which is his true self,” the fair-skinned lady posted on her social media pages.

She then declared, “Today I announce the beginning of a new dawn and the close of a chapter. Today, I am a mother to God’s unique gift. I am no longer a slave to my thoughts of perfection. I, at this moment, announce that I shall no longer be referred to as wife to the Ooni of Ife or as Queen of Ile-Ife but as the Queen of the people and mother of my adorable Prince.”

She later appealed to all parties involved to allow peace to reign because of her son, Tadenikawo.

Before being coronated king, the Ooni was previously married to Adebukola Bombata in 2008 but the marriage failed. As a monarch, the Ooni married Edo-born Zaynab-Otiti Obanor in 2016 but the union lasted for 17 months before their separation.

He later married Silekunola in 2018 and the marriage produced a son before the divorce announcement on Thursday.

The monarch also had a daughter with Omolara Olatubosun as a teenager. Olatubosun gave birth to Princess Adeola Ogunwusi but recently, there have been counter-claims between the Ooni and Olatubosun over who was responsible for the upbringing of their daughter.

Aside from the Ooni, other traditional rulers who had experienced divorce known to the public include the Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdulrosheed Akanbi, whose marriage to his Jamaican wife, Ms Chanel Chin, crashed in December 2019. Also, Anuoluwapo Adeyemi, one of the wives of the Alaafin of Oyo, Lamidi Adeyemi III, parted ways with him in November 2020.

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Panic in Aso Rock as COVID-19 spreads rapidly

 

Panic as a number of presidential aides have reportedly tested positive to Covid-19 and are now on self-isolation.

Premium Times  named those affected as the permanent secretary in the State House, Tijani Umar; the President’s Aide-de-camp (ADC), Yusuf Dodo; his chief security officer (CSO), Aliyu Musa, and his senior special assistant (media and publicity), Garba Shehu.

The online newspaper said their results were confirmed positive during the week.

The report also claimed that the minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, is also down with the virus.

None of them is thought to be seriously affected by the virus because they are fully vaccinated.

The report quoted the presidential spokesman, Shehu as saying: “I have no confirmation of the cases you mentioned, but yes I have been afflicted by the mild variant of the COVID-19. I felt okay from the beginning, maybe because one had received all three jabs, and right now, I feel 100 per cent. I just finished my hour-long running exercise.

“But the strange thing about this ailment is that it is the scientists, not you, that will say you are okay. Right now, I’m taking my prescriptions and isolating and would go back for a test to ascertain if the virus is still here or it has left me. Thanks for your goodwill.”

Testing had recently been ramped up in the presidential villa in the wake of the Omicron variant to ensure the containment of the virus.

Recall that the First Lady, Dr Aisha Muhammadu Buhari had a few days ago after returning from Istanbul, Turkey, ordered for the closure of her office and directed her staff to proceed on indefinite leave.

It is believed that the directive is not unconnected with the need to check the possible spread of coronavirus around the first family.

She had given a similar directive in the past as Covid-19 started to gain ground in the country.

When Shehu was reached over the report Saturday, he said: “Have you read the Premium Times report? What I said in it is the truth to the best of my knowledge. What is true is that I know about myself that I’m self-isolating and taking my medication, but I know of no other case.”

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Senator Adeyeye felicitates with Christians, Ekiti residents at Christmas

The year 2021 presented a unique set of challenges for the human race but despite this, humanity has a lot to be thankful for.

This was the thrust of a message by Senator Dayo Adeyeye at Christmas this year.

He said for Nigerians especially, the challenges posed by the dwindling economy, insecurity and the COVID-19 pandemic were enough to dampen peoples spirit.

He, however, believes the atmosphere of relative peace in most parts of the country is something to be grateful for, considering the centrifugal forces pulling the country in different directions.

Adeyeye used the occasion to congratulate Ekiti citizens for an eventful year that has been largely peaceful, urging them to celebrate in moderation while engaging in some sober reflection on the past and the road ahead.

He admonished Ekiti people to continue to embrace the peace, unity and development which the state has pursued and promoted since inception while urging them to invest more in thoughts, deeds and actions that promote their general wellbeing, even as the state prepares for another election year.

Senator Adeyeye wished all Ekiti residents a Merry Christmas.

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VIDEO: Femi Otedola’s mother builds Catholic church in Lagos

Lady Doja Otedola, mother of the Chairman of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited, Femi Otedola, has built a Catholic church in the Epe area of Lagos State.

 

The 89-year-old was present at the church – Saint Peters Catholic church- during its dedication on Christmas day.

 

Her son, Femi Otedola, made the announcement on his verified Instagram page, as he shared a video of his mother dancing during the service.

 

The billionaire revealed that his mother had prophesied about building the church seven years ago.

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Christmas: Celebrate with Jesus’ birth in mind, Olori of Warri urges christians

The wife of the Olu of Warri, Olori Atuwatse III, has admonished christians to celebrate Christmas with Jesus’ birth in mind.

This was contained in her Christmas message on Saturday, where she also prayed for the nation.

The wife of the foremost Itsekiri monarch took to her Instagram page to share a family portrait alongside the message

She wrote, “Merry Christmas! For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder.

“And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

“The birth of Jesus commemorated a whole new government on earth; the King of the entire universe, Immanuel wrapped Himself in human flesh just to dwell amongst the most rebellious people and save them from themselves.

“So as the Warri Kingdom and the rest of the Nation celebrate with carols, food, gifts and all-round Christmas cheer, it is prudent to do so with the reason for Jesus’ birth in mind—to redeem humanity.

“It is my prayer in this yuletide season that the light of Jesus Christ will shine brightly before the people and lead the entire Nation into the unique path designed especially for her. Merry Christmas one and all!”

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Banditry: Ganduje visits Buhari, seeks military deployment in Kano forest

 

Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to deploy more military personnel to forests in Kano.

 

Speaking to journalists on Friday after meeting with the president in Abuja, Ganduje said he came to brief Buhari on the security situation in his state.

 

He called for the establishment of another military training base in the forest bordering Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi and Plateau, as part of efforts to check the activities of criminals.

 

“There are challenges all over the country that are unfortunate, but we believe Mr. President is doing his best with other stakeholders in order to curtail the situation,” he said.

 

 “We need the helping hand of almost everybody, especially governors and chairmen of local governments. We have observed that the security situation now, our forests are the major problems because they accommodate bandits, terrorists, armed robbers and criminals.

 

“In Kano state, we have taken some measures. We have two large forests including the Falgore forest, which borders Kano, Kaduna and Bauchi and also not far away from Plateau. In that forest, we established a military training ground in conjunction with the army and there’s a lot of military training going on in that forest, using the facilities that we have provided.

 

“So, that is helping to checkmate the activities of bandits in that forest and I have requested Mr. President to also establish another institution within that forest and that forest will be liberated completely.”

 

He added that the state introduced the use of technology within its forests to improve effective communication between security operatives in the state.

 

According to Ganduje, the state has also constituted an enlarged security committee to promote efforts to maintain peace.

 

“We have introduced technology within the forest. From the office of the DSS in Kano and the office of the commissioner of police and even from my office, we are able to monitor what is happening in that forest,” he said.

 

“And there’s effective communication between the DSS and the police and those who are managing the forest — the checkpoints and various places that security agencies are manning.

 

 “We’re laying over 100 kilometres optic fibre within Kano metropolis, so that CCTV cameras will be more effective and we can manage the whole mega city in terms of security and also in terms of improvement of network.

 

“We have also constituted what we call an enlarged security committee because limiting it to the air force, army, police, DSS, civil defence, I think the security network, in terms of flow of information, requires much more than that.

 

“So, we are including customs, immigration, correctional homes, those involved in prevention of human trafficking, NAFDAC, NDLEA, FRSC, our own local traffic managers — Karota, and the vigilante group. All these, we put them into one committee where we hold meetings and exchange information.

 

“Also, we introduced technology. As earlier mentioned, we have the most powerful tracker in the country. Through that one, even some people who escaped to Niger Republic, Cameroon, we were able to trace them and connect with international security agencies for their arrest.”

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Politicians who spread lies that fuel insecurity should be treated as criminals – Marafa

 

Kabir Marafa, a former senator representing Zamfara central, says those “politicising” the country’s challenges should be investigated.

 

In a statement by his media office on Friday, Marafa said those perpetrating violence must be treated as criminals whether they are politicians or not.

 

“It is high time the security agencies begin to investigate the politicisation of the security challenges bedevilling the country in general,” the statement reads.

 

“We, thereby, urge those who have been infected by the 2023 virus to stop spreading falsehood and allow the security agencies to do their job.

 

 “They cannot double as politicians and mouthpieces of some anonymous security personnel who do not want their names in print media. Criminals should be treated as criminals regardless of whose jersey or uniform they wear.”

 

The former lawmaker said his reported link to one Abdulmuminu Moossa, a citizen of Chad Republic who has been arrested by the security agencies, is false.

 

“Preliminary investigation has revealed that the report was concocted and planted by the foot soldiers of some disgruntled APC leaders who are envious of the growing popularity of the senator,” the statement reads.

 

 “Their machinations cannot stop what Almighty Allah has ordained.

 

“It is on record that Senator Marafa was the first to raise the issue of banditry, at its infancy, on the floor of the Nigerian senate, drawing the attention of the federal government and the global community to the activities of the criminals.”

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FG clears air on foreign terror attack in Abuja during festive season

 

The Federal Government on Friday described as false and untrue, media reports that there are threats of a possible attack on Abuja by foreign terrorists during this festive season.

 

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, disclosed this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the emergency meeting of the National Security Council, chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, in Abuja.

 

According to Aregbesola, Abuja is safe and secured from terrorist attacks.

 

He said, “I have given you the outcome of the Security Council meeting, but to your question, there is not any threat to the safety and security of Abuja.

 

“Abuja is secure and very safe. If there was a leak, as you mentioned, it could just be an operational alert that doesn’t require any worry or concern.

 

“The Council has mandated us to assure Nigerians of their safety, of their security and enduring peace for the period of the festivities.”

 

Recall that palpable fear had gripped residents of the Federal Capital Territory over reports indicating that terrorists from West African neighbour, Mali, are planning to move through the Nigeria-Niger Republic border to launch attacks on the nation’s capital, Abuja.

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Electoral bill: I’m unaware of threats to override Buhari’s decision, says Gbajabiamila

Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house of representatives, says he is not aware of “threats” to override the decision of the president on the electoral bill.

 

He said this on Friday night after a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa in Abuja.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari had declined assent to the bill, citing concerns over the recommendation of direct primaries for political parties.

 

According to him, such recommendation “violates the spirit of democracy”.

There had been reports that senators were collecting signatures to override the president’s decision.

 

Members of the house of representatives elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had also said they would challenge the president’s decision.

 

However, Gbajabiamila said he was unaware of such a development, adding that the matter will be first on the agenda when lawmakers resume sitting in January 2022.

“I’m not aware of any such threats to override the president’s decision; at least not in my chambers. We’re on a break right now. So, the collection of signatures is not something that is done when everybody’s scattered,” he said.

 

“I made it abundantly clear at our last sitting that we will look at the president’s veto and his reasons when we come back on. It’s not something we’re going to do on a knee jerk.

 

“When we come back from our recess — there’s still ample time — we will decide one way or the other. We will do what is right for the Nigerian people.

 

“I made it very clear that we’re not going to throw away the baby with the bathwater. The electoral law is what a credible electoral process needs and laws are what are required at this time. Nigerians want it and Nigerians will get it.

 “By the time we come back, at least as far as the house and I’m sure the senate as well is concerned, it will be the first thing on our agenda — the very week we come back from recess.” 

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FG increases hazard allowance from N5,000 to N40,000 for doctors, N34,000 for others

 

The Federal Government has increased the hazard allowance for medical doctors and health workers in the country.

 

It was gathered that while the government increased the allowance for doctors from N5,000 to between N32,000 and N40,000; other health workers like nurses, laboratory workers among others had theirs reviewed to between N15,000 and N34,000.

 

This was contained in a circular with reference number SWC/S/04/S.218/11/406 dated December 22, 2021 and signed by the Executive Chairman of the National Salaries, Wages and Income Commission.

 

The circular read in part, “Concerning the review of the hazard allowance applicable to health workers in the services of the federal hospitals, medical centres and clinics in ministries, departments and agencies, the hazard allowance was reviewed to a flat rate that ranges from N5,000 to between N15,000 and N34,000 for health workers on the CONHESS salary structure, while doctors on CONMESS had theirs reviewed from N5,000 to between N32,000 and N40,000.”

 

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, on Friday, disagreed with the new rate.

 

The association’s position was contained in a statement jointly signed by the National President, Dr Godiya Ishaya; Secretary General, Dr Suleiman Ismail; and Social Secretary, Dr Alfa Yusuf.

 

The statement titled, ‘Press statement on the review of hazard allowance’, expressed the dissatisfaction of the association with the proposed payment rate.

 

The association, however, called on the Federal Government to review the rate to prevent the need for further negotiations in the future.