The Vatican, on Saturday, sacked a senior priest, Krzysztof Charamsa, who, on the eve of a major meeting of church leaders to discuss the Church’s stance on social issues such as divorce and homosexuality, publicly declared to be gay.
The embattled 43-year-old priest has, however, pledged to dedicate his life to advocacy for gay rights, saying, “I’m out of the closet, and I’m very happy about that. I want to be an advocate for all sexual minorities and their families who have suffered in silence.”
The Vatican in a statement by a spokesman for Pope Francis described the Polish priest’s action as “very serious and irresponsible.”
In the statement, the Vatican noted that he would be immediately sacked from his post as a theologian in the Vatican.
The statement read, “The decision to make such a pointed statement on the eve of the opening of the synod appears very serious and irresponsible, since it aims to subject the synod assembly to undue media pressure.”
Charamsa, who is a mid-level official in the Vatican bureaucracy’s dealing with church doctrine, flanked by his Spanish boyfriend while donning his priest’s collar, on Saturday, had earlier told a news conference in Rome that he was compelled to speak out against the “hypocrisy and paranoia” that he said had shaped the Church’s attitude to sexual minorities.
The fired priest had presented a 10-point “liberation manifesto” against “institutionalised homophobia in the Church,” which he said particularly oppressed the gay men who, according to him, make up the majority of priests.
He also revealed plans for a book about his 12 years at the heart of a Vatican bureaucracy, only just recovering from a scandal under previous Pope Benedict XVI over the influence of a “gay lobby” among senior clergy.
The Director General of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Organisation, Ahmadu Ali says the Fulani socio-cultural group – Miyyetti Allah, the Yoruba socio cultural groups – Afenifere, and Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) have all endorsed the re-election bid of President Jonathan.
Ali said this at the campaign rally of the PDP on Saturday in Kaduna.
“We should tell ourselves the truth, Miyetti Allah, Afenifere and OPC have endorsed President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election”.
He said the North should start grooming a non-dictatorial leader who is between the ages of 40-50 to take over from President Jonathan in 2019.
“I want to tell my fellow Northerners to start grooming a 40-50 year-old candidate that President Goodluck Jonathan will hand over power to in 2019 and not a dictatorial leader who attempted to kidnap my friend late Umaru Dikko. Is that the person you want to vote for? God forbid!” Ali said.
Ahmed Makarfi, a serving Senator, in his remarks said the PDP “will use our power of persuasion to ensure that, PDP is voted on the 14th and 28th of this month.
“I assure you that by this persuasion and consultations by the Vice President, the governor, many stakeholders and I will deliver Kaduna state to PDP,” he added.
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The Presidential Campaign Organisation of President Goodluck Jonathan has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of stopping its presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari from participating in a presidential debate being organised by the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) as a means of shielding the intellectual laziness and inability of the former military dictator to constructively engage contemporary national issues in a live television and radio debate from Nigerians and the international audience.
Jonathan who spoke through the Director of Media and Publicity of his Campaign Organisation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, stated that the APC knows that General Buhari will flunk it if he is subjected to the rigours of debate on national issues relating to governance and development.
Jonathan’s Campaign body said it was aware that the APC had already expressed its concerns, when approached by an international news channel for a debate, about the intellectual acumen of General Buhari, and had assured the news channel that it was only comfortable with its vice presidential candidate, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, who has capacity to feature brilliantly on the programme.
“We have just read a report in the media credited to the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation that the party would not allow its candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, to participate in the radio and television presidential debate organised by the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON).
“The APC accused the organisers of the debate of unhidden bias and campaign of calumny by some key organisers of the programme against the corporate political interest of the party and its candidates.
“Whilst we will not bother ourselves with the many reasons adduced by the APC, we wish to state that we see the APC decision as an attempt to shield its presidential candidate from displaying his intellectual laziness and inability to constructively engage contemporary national issues in a live television and radio debate.
“We had envisaged that the APC would be reluctant to expose General Buhari to the rigours of a live television debate because the opposition party knows that its candidate will flunk it.
“If the APC truly believes that it is ‘a party of progressive intellectuals’, as it claims it should allow General Buhari to prove that at the debate.
“Should the APC fail to participate in the debate, it would also show the disdain both the party and its candidate have for the Nigerian people, denying them the opportunity to make informed choices on the basis of what each candidate will articulate as propositions on issues that will be raised.
“We are convinced that General Buhari does not have what it takes to sustain a coherent argument on germane issues of governance and development.
“We challenge General Buhari to a debate on any national and international medium of mass communication and our candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan will be ready to participate.
“On the other hand, President Jonathan’s running mate, Vice President Namadi Sambo, is also ready to participate in the debate and any other debate.
“Our presidential candidate and his running mate will not raise flimsy and escapist excuses such as “unhidden bias” and the like, since we believe that they are well-rounded intellectuals who have been prepared by their experience in office to answer any question under the sun on the governance of our nation.”, Jonathan Campaign group noted.
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So Clueless? Can you imagine?
Pa Buhari can’t remember his phone number –Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday during a rally in Enugu said that the All Progressives Congress candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd), cannot remember his own mobile phone number.
Jonathan, whose unscripted address was mostly a response to previous statements made by Buhari, accused the APC presidential candidate of deceiving Nigerians by promising to revive the economy without explaining how he would achieve the feat.
The President wondered how Buhari would develop the country’s economy, a feat he could not achieve while he was in office as head of state between 1983 and 1985.
“Is it now that Buhari cannot even remember his own phone number that he can change the economy of the country.” Jonathan asked.
The Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate said that although he did not like to “go personal during campaigns,” “sometimes circumstances demand that certain things must be said.”
Jonathan said that Buhari belonged to the medieval age, adding that he (the APC candidate) intended to run the Federal Government as a medieval king.
He said, “We cannot run the government as if we are in the medieval age; we cannot run a government where somebody said he would throw people into jail.
“You are not a medieval king – a medieval king can throw you into jail but we have to follow the rule of law because we cannot go back to the old days.”
Jonathan, however, read the speech made by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd.) after overthrowing Buhari’s regime through a military coup on August 27, 1985 to justify his claim that the APC candidate does not keep his promises.
Babangida, in the portions of the address read by Jonathan, justified Buhari’s overthrow by pointing out that the latter did not live up to the promises he made to Nigerians when he ousted a democratically elected civilian government headed by Alhaji Shehu Shagari in a military coup.
Noting that Buhari “deceived Nigerians” from 1983 to 1985, Jonathan quoted Babangida as saying, “The initial objectives of Buhari’s intervention were betrayed as there was a general deterioration of standard of living in the country.”
The PDP candidate also pointed out that Babangida accused Buhari of being “too rigid in his attitude to national issues” and “became alienated from the people” in the course of his stay in power.
He, therefore, challenged Buhari to tell Nigerians how he intends to revive the economy.
Jonathan said, “They are telling young Nigerians that they are going to change the economy but they have not told us how they want to manage the economy more than us.
“If they say they want to change agriculture, they should tell us the weak links in the agriculture value chain and what they want to do about it.
“I said in Lagos that I want to work with young people, not to deceive people.
“I am not going to run the government based on my habits, I am going to run the government according to global best practices.”
Jonathan also insisted that he was committed to the campaign against corruption.
“There is no government that has fought corruption more than we do,” he said, noting that some previous administrations pretended to be fighting corruption while oppressing their enemies.
He recalled that Buhari jailed some prominent Igbo politicians while in office as head of state, including former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme and former governor of old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo.
Stressing that Buhari jailed politicians on trumped up charges, Jonathan said, “You can no longer carry people and put them in prison for 301 years.”
The President equally accused Buhari of having a wrong idea of corruption.
According to him, Buhari believes that every wealthy Nigerian is corrupt.
He said, “If a Nigerian businessman has a private jet, then you are corrupt but if a South African has a private jet then you commend him.
“If you have a good house, then you are corrupt, if you have a good car then you are corrupt – that is his definition of corruption.”
Jonathan accused his opponent of making spurious claims against him.
The President said, “They are saying that government is corrupt but they are not telling us what they are going to do to stop corruption. Let them go back to their consultants to coach them, then I will listen to them.
“They should tell us how they are going to manage the economy better than we do.
“They are saying we stole foreign reserves, nobody can steal foreign reserves – spurious allegations.”
He also reiterated his claim that Buhari did not equip the military while he was the head of state.
Jonathan said that he had done more than his predecessors to shore up the country’s defence.
“For 30 years, we had only one frigate, now we have four additional frigates,” he said.
In the same vein, he pointed out that Buhari did not find any woman worthy enough for appointment when he was the military head of state.
The President asked Nigerians to assess him and Buhari by looking at how they performed during their respective periods in office.
He said, “They have deceived us before and they want to deceive us again.
“Go and find out whether these people are deceiving you or are telling you the truth.
“People are assessing me because I have run this country for some years – they have run this country for two years.
“They came with promises but immediately they came in, what they did was to jail Jim Nwobodo for 201 years.”
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Prophet Temitope Joshua, the founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, on Wednesday said he was yet to be “personally served” the witness summons issued by the Lagos State Coroner, Oyetade Komolafe.
Joshua made this known through his counsel, Olalekan Ojo, at the ongoing Coroner’s Inquest into the September 12 collapse of a guest house within the church.
The inquest was set up by the Lagos State Government to investigate the incident, which led to the death of 116 persons.
Komolafe had slated November 5 for Joshua and the contractor, who handled the project, to appear before the court.
But on Wednesday, Ojo informed the court that the bailiffs were unable to effect the proper service on Joshua as required by law.
He said though the bailiffs went to the church premises in Ikotun Egbe area of Lagos, the cleric was not around at the time of their visit.
Ojo said: “I do not want an insinuation to be made that the prophet was served and he did not come to court.
“He has been in touch with many families who lost their loved ones in the incident.
“The bailiffs merely gave the witness summons to one of the evangelists in the church, but the law says they should personally serve the prophet.”
According to Ojo, the contractor has not also been served because the court is yet to get his name and address.
Ojo also declined the coroner’s request that the summons should be served on him on behalf of Joshua.
Following the development, Komolafe agreed to reschedule the appearance of both witnesses, adding that the church should provide the name and address of the contractor.
He said: “The prophet (Joshua) should assist the court to assist him.
“As the chief mourner, we don’t want to inflict more pain on him.
“He should not put himself at variance with the law.”
Testifying earlier, Dr. Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, the General Manager of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, told the court that 131 persons were rescued alive from the site of the collapsed building.
Oke-Osanyintolu said that LASEMA, working in collaboration with the Synagogue Church members and other rescue agencies, also recovered 80 bodies from the collapsed building.
He, however, said that the crowd of bystanders and sympathisers prevented the agency from gaining quick access to the scene, which could have led to the rescue of more victims.
According to him, the rescue team was severally assaulted by some persons within the crowd and prevented from taking pictures.
Oke-Osanyintolu said: “I will appeal to the general public in Lagos State that we have a structure in place and whenever there is any form of emergency they should call us.
“They should also give us the enabling environment to perform effectively and efficiently.”
The matter was adjourned till November 6 for continuation of hearing.
The appearance and testimony of the founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, SCOAN, before a coroner would not harm him, a Federal High Court in Lagos ruled, Tuesday.
Temitope Joshua (popularly known as T.B Joshua) is billed to testify on Wednesday at an ongoing coroner’s inquest into the circumstances surrounding the collapse of a guest house in his church.
Over 115 people, mostly foreigners, died when the six storey building belonging to the church collapsed on September 12.
Last week, Olukoya Ogungbeje, a Lagos-basedbased lawyer, had approached the court praying for an order restraining the coroner from conducting further proceedings on the inquest.
The lawyer also sought an interim injunction restraining Mr. Joshua from appearing before the coroner.
But on Tuesday, Ibrahim Buba, the judge, ruled that the interim injunction was not necessary since Mr. Joshua was not personally affected by the inquest.
According to the judge, Mr. Joshua is neither a party to the filed suit nor is he held in detention.
“If Ogungbeje was the party summoned before the coroner, then the issue of a restraining order will arise, but in this situation, how can I restrain the whole world?” Mr. Buba said.
“The applicant has not shown that he will suffer any danger if the restraining order is not granted, and so, I will hear this case on merit on Thursday, November 6, and I will not grant any restraining order. This is the ruling of the court.”
Tuesday’s ruling was the final nail in the coffin following weeks of scheming and strategies by Mr. Joshua’s camp to avoid him testifying before the coroner.
Last Wednesday, an angry Oyetade Komolafe, the coroner, threatened to arrest the church leader if he fails to honour the invitation to appear before him.
“If he doesn’t come, he will be arrested, please advise him,” Mr. Komolafe had told the church’s counsel at the inquest.
“The sheriff said he has served him (a witness summons) and I have the evidence of that. If he cannot come on that day, he should tell us why he cannot come.”
The magistrate was responding to an earlier suggestion by Lateef Fagbemi, the church’s counsel, that only people who would be of relevance to the court ought to be invited.
“I have gone through all the depositions filed, no mention has been made of Joshua,” Mr. Fagbemi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, had said.
“I will suggest that it is those who can be of assistance from the SCOAN that will be invited.”
The next day, the inquest began with Mr. Komolafe walking, Nelson Okedinachi, who is in the team that filed the suit at the federal high court, out of the room for seeking to inform the coroner of the suit they had filed.
Afterwards, the coroner took time to clarify to Olalekan Ojo, who had announced his appearance for the Synagogue Church, that he did not summon the church.
“Nobody summoned the Synagogue church. The court summoned T.B Joshua and when the time comes, he will appear,” Mr. Komolafe had told the counsel.
“Because I’ve noticed you always announce your appearance for the Synagogue church.”
Mr. Ogungbeje had joined as defendants in his suit the Lagos State Government, the Attorney General of the state, and Mr. Komolafe (the coroner).
The lawyer had argued that the composition of the Coroner’s inquest was a negation of the principle of natural justice and Section 36 of the Constitution, and as such it was unconstitutional, null and void.
The lawyer had further argued that the Lagos State government, who instituted the inquest, had already indicted Mr. Joshua and his church by claiming that he was not given approval to put additional floors on the collapsed building.
“The Lagos State Building Control Agency even went ahead to seal up the main building of the church,” Mr. Ogungbeje had said.
“The General Manager of the agency even said in the papers and I quote him as follows ‘we have investigated and found that they had no approval for the additional structures. Even the main church which they have added about three floors on was sealed two days ago.’”
MY CANDID NASIHA TO GEN. BUHARI.
The Humble People’s General.
I know I have access to your privy but this is meant for others to learn also.
The prophet -peace be upon him- told one of the most honest and truthful of his companions Abu Zar Algafary: “oh Abu Zar, I truly love for you what I love for myself. I indeed see that you are weak so never accept to lead even two people and never accept safekeeping of the orphans wealth’
An honest and candid advice from the prophet that is still valid today for any leader who’s weakness borders on leadership qualities.
The reason for Abu Zar’s weakness has nothing to do with his credibility or truthfulness. Never! The prophet was narrated as saying: “there is nobody under the shadows of trees or bare sun that is more honest in speech than Abu Zar”
Abu Zar – May Allah be pleased with him- is ascetic and inmaterialistic. Abu Zar is incorruptible. And yet he is not suitable for leadership.
I am not claiming to be even by an atom’s weight anything close to our noble prophet, yet I am encouraged to give you these same advice by the virtue that you are not also close to Abu Zar in piety. We are living in a time of great tribulations and fitnah especially for this Ummah because of our collective iniquities, ignorance of religious instructions and the love of Dunyah.
Sir, your weakness is not in your past impeccable record of accountability of public wealth and the fight against corruption and indispiline. Your weakness is in your inability to control men compounded further by your strict and obsessive rejection of corruption.
Don’t be surprised. You may need to understand that Islam being a pragmatic religion allows the use of Zakkat and public wealth as an instrument to pacify and lure influential people for the sake of rightouness, peace and stability. In modern governance today it translate into the security vote.
Thus men are also controlled by money. So if your policy of governance is obsessibly centered on sealing tight the use of money you will have great problem with men. An Arab poet said: “a fool cannot be the leader of his people but the true leader of the people must feign foolishness”.
It’s convenient for your ardent supporters to quote copiously from the annals of history your great achievements but when your failures and weaknesses were pointed out they say that was in the past. Is the lessons of past history only good for the positive achievements? Doesn’t that also explains our incessant failures?
Your Excellency, good intentions are never enough. In the past, because of your clean records and straightforwardness you were lured by men who want only the vanities Dunya to uproot a young democracy on the caprices of fighting corruption. Corruption is no doubt an evil but there is a more monstrous evil than corruption. That is turmoil and insecurity. Peace and stability are the most important part of governance that no price is to high for them.
The lack of peace, stability and security is the major predicament of this nation since independence. So when you were naively used by men to derail one, that is the greatest disservice you committed to the nation the ills of which we are yet to recover from. Do you truly believe Allah is still not in cognizance of that? You were lead to uproot a duly elected leader and incasserate him for close to two years knowing fully well that he has no charge of even the corruption that was labeled against him. Yes, Shagari was the leader and therefore he bears all the responsibility of misdeeds in his government, so also you were a leader and you should bear all the responsibility of derailing the peace and stability of governance in this country as a consequence of that putsch.
You weakness in control of men became evident when the very people that used you to revolt against a constituted authority came back to uproot you from the seat of power. Your own kinsmen without a gun cocked in your defense. Today the corruption you were deceived to fight against has reached unimaginable level coupled with the worst state of insecurity and peace in the nation. There was just recently an attempt on your life like many of us.
All this because you the honest people that are given the privilege of strengthening the Armed forces left it to meddle in politics. We thus lost everything. Neither the power nor the security.
A believer is not stung from the same hole twice. Men used your innocence before to get power and dump you. Please be sensible today. Some other men still want to use you to get power and surely they will dump you again. You don’t share the same philosophy at all. Even though as I explained later, your obsession and philosophy of fighting corruption is not the priority of Nigeria today. What Nigeria needs utmost now is peace and stability. This can only be achieved when the religious ethnic and regional divide is tamed. And you can only tame it with people without much precedence. People without much following. Yet people that are constructive and have the ability to control men.
If Sardauna today is alive in your situation he will never contest for the presidential seat because of his deep understanding of what the nation needs. He will step down for a more acceptable younger person. It’s on record that Sardauna even at the age of under 60 said he was not going to contest again preparing his only house in Rabah for retirement.
I’ll give you a similitude to buttress my point of priority. A person seriously injured and fractured from a road traffic accident when brought to the emergency room, the first priority of the doctors is to secure an intravenous line. Meaning get a drip set working into his veins to protect his vital organs like the heart and kidneys from the effects of shock and loss of blood. The fractures even though serious and the source of the blood loss may take days and weeks before they are even attended to beside the superficial dressings.
Nigeria now needs peace and stability first. Then we talk of good governance later even though it’s the source of the predicament we are facing.
The present government has already charged the situation and played the religious divide to it’s advantage. It’s in circulation now, a SW pastor calling on Christians and the church to vote Jonathan as their only Savior. This religious card will be used to cover for his deficiency in governance.
Your Excellency, you should understand too, that many if not most of your supporters are also looking up to you to protect them from the onslaught on their religion and region. This also the Christian will never believe the otherwise. Therefore the stage is set for religious confrontation which is the least the nation needs.
What we need as a priority is peace and stability.
From my view if APC can support as an example Ameachi or Okorocha/Kwankwaso or Elrufai or tambuwwal ticket and the PDC will have Ukpabio/Muazu or Ribadu or Shekaru, the next four years will. – insha Allah – witness stability both in the north and south. And the electoral body will get the necessary infrastructure that subsequently the next election will be free and fair and the true reflection of Nigerians.
If you may ask, why can’t this same peace be achieved with you and another Christian running mate?
Gen. you have antagonist, and they are many and also as ardent as your supporters. Your supporters have the biggest proportion of the underprivileged of the society which is the petrol that can be easily ignited by the slightest spark. The spark will be when you’re declared the loser. And you know you can very well lose if the Christians follow their church -and why not in this era of mediocrity.
On the other hand if Jonathan comes back. BH will be real not the political one we see. The turmoil will engulf the whole country not only the north. That is why I also call on PDP to present some other candidates.
My Brother in Islam, please listen to the words of wisdom. And don’t follow the whims of the riff raff. Before they used you the first time to disrupt the second republic, my father advised you against it. Today I am also advising you against contesting in the 2015 presidential elections because you will be used to ignite the nation -a dream well orchestered several years ago- and also be used by bad people as a ladder to grab regional and local powers.
I rest my case here.
My best regards and condolence to your recent loss.
May Allah guide you and protect you from the evil men and the jinn. Amin.
President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday thumped his chest for organising a successful national dialogue, saying he meant well for the country and promised to implement the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference, which officially closed Thursday.
The president made the pledge Thursday at the National Judicial Institute, NJI, during the closing ceremony of the conference, where he also received the 21-volume report from the conference chairman, Idris Kutigi.
Mr. Jonathan also said the successful conclusion of the conference have proved cynics, who never gave the conference a chance, wrong.
He said some of the recommendations of the conference will be considered by the National Council of State, while the remaining ones will be sent to the National Assembly, the President said while formally receiving the 10,000 pages, conference report, with 600 resolutions.
Jonathan, however, took a swipe on the conference detractors, whom he described as prophet of doom who have been put to shame.
He also pledged that the report would be considered by the council of State before it’s passed to the National Assembly.
The founder of LEADERSHIP Newspapers Group Limited, Mr Sam Nda-Isaiah, yesterday took his presidential campaign train to the Redeemed Camp, along Lagos-Ibadan expressway, where he met the general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye.
Mr. Nda-Isaiah, whose LEADERSHIP Newspaper titles have been very critical of President Goodluck Jonathan administration, has declared his interest in the 2015 presidential race, is currently seeking to clinch the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The presidential aspirant met with the highly respected cleric behind closed doors and after the meeting, disclosed that he was at the RCCG camp to pay homage and consult with Pastor Adeboye over his ambition.
He stated: “As part of my consultations, I am still going round seeing the leaders of the country to tell them why I want to lead the country, and, of course, this is one of such right places, and that is why I am here. I have come to discuss with Pastor Enoch Adeboye as you saw.
“It was a very private meeting. This is just consultation and we know the place of Pastor Adeboye in Nigeria. Even Time magazine has mentioned him as one of the most influential people in the world. So it should not be surprising that this is one of the places that I must come to. That is why I have come”.
The publisher said though he sits atop a conglomerate that pays legitimately more than the Presidency, the desire to reposition the country formed the basis for his interest in the presidential race.
Nda-Isaiah said: “Right now, nothing is being done right in Nigeria; everything is being done wrongly. As we speak now, the most elementary duty of government which is to provide security for its people – in fact, that one is not in manifestoes because it is beyond politics – is not being achieved.
“The whole nation is in disarray. As we stand here now, we are afraid of going to the churches, we are all afraid of going to the mosques, we are not to go to the market or send our children to school. Nigeria is technically a failed state. Like I keep saying, we are just lucky that with our size and resources both human material and natural we can reverse it now. We shouldn’t wait to get to a point when it is no longer reversible.
“Nigeria is in a state of emergency now and we need to rescue it. That is why I am in the race”.
Looking forward, he explained, “our campaign will stand on two legs. First, we are going to unite this country as quickly as possible to form a nation because we are not a nation. I have never seen a nation so divided and hopes to make progress”.
The founder of LEADERSHIP continued: “We must, as a matter of urgency, come together to form one strong united Nigeria, and that is very possible. The reason we are not united is lack of justice, fairness. And the way we are led will always lead to divisions. A leader that wants to unite a country can do it easily: You do not need a budget to do that; all you need to do is be sincere.
“You have to ensure that there is justice, fairness and charity. If you treat members of the country, the whole nation, the way you treat your family as the head of the family, everybody will be fine. That is the first thing”.
He said the second priority will be to quickly stabilize the country and bring order to the nation, noting that the country is in total disarray.
“Not just in the north-east; recently we heard that an uncle to the president was kidnapped, because of the kidnapping in south-south and south-east parts of the country, nobody wants to go there.
“I have friends in the south-south and south-east who do not go home for holidays. They prefer to stay in Abuja. Even in Abuja now, people are afraid to stay there because of what has been happening”.
When given the opportunity by Nigerians, he said, he and his team will run a government of big ideas: “It is only big ideas that will change the course of history and that will transmit Nigeria from a Third World country to a First World country. That is possible”.
Nda-Isaiah lamented that a group of thugs under the guise of Boko Haram sect was able to overrun the nation’s security apparatus because of the high level of corruption, stealing and mismanagement of public funds in the country.
The funeral mass organised at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Oguta, Imo State for the late Justice Chukwudifu Oputa ended abruptly weekend as his son, Charles Oputa aka Charly Boy stopped Governor Rochas Okorocha from making a speech in the church.
Okorocha, who was equally angry that protocol was breached by President Goodluck Jonathan who was represented at the mass by the Secretary to the Government of Federation, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim by speaking before him, rose to make his speech but Charly Boy seized the microphone from the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Jude Ike, which created confusion in the church.
The officiating priest and Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev. (Dr) Matthew Hassan Kukah had pleaded with Charly Boy to allow Okorocha speak, but he refused, saying he would not allow his father’s burial to be politicised.
An ostensibly angry Okorocha started fuming in the church, which made the Attorney General of Imo State, Chukwuma Umeh, to order the lawyers who gathered in the church to leave.
As the lawyers were leaving, the dignitaries who attended the mass began to leave in droves as Okorocha and his convoy drove away in anger before the body of Oputa was taken back to his country home for interment.
Governor Okorocha had voted N20 million for the burial of Oputa, but the state lost track of the burial arrangement as the Oputa family shot the door on the burial plan.
Charly Boy was quoted to have warned the Imo State governor to stay away from his father’s burial, but no reason was given for his action.
Anyim had read the President’s condolence message to Charly Boy in the church with Jonathan saying that he received with great sadness the demise of the eminent jurist.
Jonathan described the late Oputa as a respected public servant, patriot and internationally acclaimed jurist.
“He was not only an outstanding icon, he also readily gave himself in the service of our fatherland in demonstration of his faith in the emergence of a strong, united and prosperous Nigeria,” Jonathan said.
In his sermon at the mass service, Bishop Kukah said that the late Oputa was a man of justice and equity who, while was alive, ensured that other people were not treated unjustly.
Kukah who served in the popular Oputa panel with the late jurist advised Nigerians, particularly politicians to emulate his legacies.
Dignitaries who attended the funeral mass included Senator Anyim; Labour Minister, Chief Emeka Nworgu; Deputy Speaker of House of Reps, Chief Emeka Ihedioha; Governors Willie Obiano, Rochas Okorocha; former governors Peter Odili (Rivers) and his wife Mary; Achike Udenwa (Imo), Peter Obi (Anambra), Ikedi Ohakim (Imo).
Others are Senators Chris Anyanwu, Hope Uzodinma, Ike Nwachukwu, Chris Ngige, Ifeanyi Ararume, Arthur Nzeribe, Uche Chukwumerije, George Akume; Amb. Kema Chikwe; Abia Chief Judge, P.I Okpala, Imo Attorney General, Dr Chukwuma Nwachukwu Umeh.
Also present were Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho; Diamond Bank boss, Chief Pascal Dozie, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu and former Police Inspector General, Mike Okiro.
The remains of the immediate-past Minister of Information and Communications and member of the National Conference, Prof. Dora Akunyili, were received at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Wednesday evening by a few family members and political associates.
The reception team was led by the immediate-past Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, who assured that Akunyili will be given a burial befitting her status and fame.
Also at the airport was Mrs. Uche Ekunife.
Akunyili’s body was flown to Nigeria in a private aircraft from India. It was accompanied by her husband, Dr. Chike Akunyili and her younger brother, Dr. Anayo Edemobi.
The remains were subsequently conveyed to the National Hospital mortuary in Abuja in an Ambulance written Nigerian-Turkish Nizamiye Hospital.
Obi said the next thing was for a programme for her burial to be drawn up, assuring several stakeholders will make their inputs to the programme in close collaboration with her family.
Former Head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida has been accused of starting religious crises in Nigeria.
This accusation was made today by DR Maryam Abdullahi, a delegate representing Civil Society Organisation, CSO, while making her contribution to the debate on the report of the conference Committee on Religion, during plenary at the on-going National Conference in Abuja.
PUNCH online reports that Dr Abdullahi stated that the former military ruler pushed Nigeria into membership of the Organisation of Islamic Conference, OIC, without the consent of the people he was ruling.
According to Abdullahi, the move made by Babangida started religious crises in the country.
She also insisted that the relationship between Christians and Muslims deteriorated when Nigeria was admitted as a full member of Organisation of the Islamic Conference.
Abdullahi alleged that Babangida pushed for Nigeria’s full membership of OIC in order to perpetuate himself in office.
She insisted that this was the beginning of mistrust between adherents of the two faith because of mutual suspicion of possible Islamization of Nigeria.
It could be recalled that the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram, has killed thousands of innocent souls across Nigeria especially in the northestern part of Nigeria through terror attacks.
Some of their recent attacks include a twin bomb explosions in Jos, Plateau State, followed by another bomb blast that happened near a viewing centre in the same city few days later.
Prior to these attacks, the insurgent group had also killed hundreds of people in two separate attacks they carried out at a motor garage in Nyanya, Abuja.
On 14 April, the terror group kidnapped no fewer than 276 schoolgirls inside Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State.
More than six weeks after the abduction of the girls, the Nigeria government is yet to rescue the schoolgirls saying they are not ready to negotiate with the terrorists.
Distinguished Muslim Leaders,
Brothers and Sisters in Islam,
Gentlemen of the Press,
I welcome you all to this World Press Conference. The need for this briefing is informed by a curious development in Osun State.
ATTEMPT BY A PASTOR IN OSUN STATE TO IMPLICATE MUSLIMS IN BOKO HARAM ‘ATTACK’:
You are all aware of the precarious security situation in the country today with particular reference to the Boko Haram insurgency. Let me remind you that the leadership of the Nigerian Muslim Ummah, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’d Abubakar III, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has vehemently condemned the activities of Boko Haram. All Islamic organizations in the country have also rejected the group. Condemnation of Boko Haram and its satanic activities have also emanated from leading Islamic scholars in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
It is however sad to note that in spite of this all-round rejection of the renegade group by Muslims, a large section of the Christian community, some sections of the Nigerian security agencies and a section of the Nigerian press still treat mainstream Muslims in the country either as active members of Boko Haram, sympathizers of the group or their accomplices.
This does not make sense because more Muslims than Christians have been killed since the emergence of this ugly phenomenon. More Islamic scholars have also been killed than Christian clerics, particularly Islamic scholars who speak out against Boko Haram. In addition, at least three Northern Emirs have been attacked by the rebellious group.
It is now becoming clear that in spite of all these glaring facts, while some good and level-headed Christians continue to interact peacefully with Muslims, some overzealous Christians use every means possible to link peace-loving Muslims with the activities of Boko Haram.
A good example of these fanatical Christians is the pastor of the Baptist Church, Ikonifin, Osun State, who attempted to launch false Boko Haram in the State. According to reports, Pastor Olatoke, who is also the CAN President of Ola Oluwa Local Government, conspired with three members of his church, Emmanuel Atanda, Peter Oyedepo and Ogunniyi Babatope to launch a false Boko Haram attack on his church with the aim of blaming Muslims for the attack.
They therefore dressed like Muslims, wrapped their heads in turbans and covered their faces to avoid being recognized by members of the church. They stormed the church during the church service held on Sunday 18th May, 2014. They threw banga which sounded like gunfire thus scaring all the worshippers who thought they were real Boko Haram insurgents. On seeing this, the worshippers took to their heels, running helter skelter to save their lives. Many of them were injured. They then jumped on their getaway motorcycles and sped off into the dark night.
Fortunately the ‘attackers’ were arrested by the youths of the community. The culprits later confessed that they were members of the same church which they came to ‘attack’. They also revealed that it was their pastor who planned the whole thing. When confronted, the pastor said it was just ‘drama’.
The case was reported at Bode Osi Police Station, near Iwo. MURIC is aware that some powerful Christians are now trying to bury the case. We are also amused by the paucity of reportage for the incident in spite of its serious implications and eye-opening value. Osun State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Oba of Ikonifin have been fingered as parties attempting to sweep the case under the carpet.
The implications of a Boko Haram ‘attack’ on a church in Yorubaland is better imagined than experienced. Muslims generally would have been the ones to suffer if this grand conspiracy had succeeded. Security agents would have picked up many Muslim leaders. Yoruba militant groups like the Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) would have pounced on the Hausa communities in the South-West for a pound of flesh. It has happened before. It can happen again. May Allah forbid evil speculations. Christians in Yorubaland would have started attacking their Muslim neighbours, burning mosques and properties of Muslims.
MURIC seizes this opportunity to alert the Federal Government, the Senate, the House of Representatives, delegates in the ongoing National Conference, the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of the State Security Services (SSS). The whole world must know that this is exactly how some Christians have been roping Muslims unjustly and labeling them as terrorists. There may be more of such plans.
CALL ON OSUN STATE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE:
In particular, we charge the Commissioner of Police in Osun State to do the needful. The law must be allowed to take its full course and quickly too. Justice delayed is justice denied. Pastor Olatoke has disturbed the peace of Osun State and if we want peace in the state, he and his fellow trouble-makers must be dealt with according to the law in order to serve as deterrent to others. False alarm is a criminal offence and this problem must be nipped in the bud because it is election year in Osun State.
APPEAL TO MUSLIMS:
We appeal to all Muslims to remain calm and law-abiding. We call on Muslims not to judge the rest of Nigerian Christians by the attitude of Pastor Olatoke. We implore you to continue to love and tolerate your neighbours. Allah created the world for love and peace and gave us Islam as the religion of peace. We urge you to intensify your prayers for peace to return to Nigeria. Pray that Allah should expose all those behind the Boko Haram saga in Northern Nigeria. Pray against the spread of this social cankerworm to other parts of Nigeria. Pray for a peaceful 2014 election in Osun State.
KIDNAPPED CHIBOK GIRLS:
MURIC appeals to the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, to set the Chibok girls and all other captive females free. We call on the Federal Government to continue the process of negotiation for the kidnapped girls until their freedom is secured. We also understand the latest decision of the Nigerian military not to attempt to rescue the kidnapped girls in a daring raid. It is clear enough now that any attempt to forcefully free the girls may result in a national catastrophe. The number involved is too high. The possibility of high casualty among the girls in case of a raid is therefore very high. No responsible government will allow it.
APPEAL FOR PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE:
MURIC seizes this opportunity to appeal to Nigerians of different backgrounds and culture to rekindle their passion for peaceful coexistence, neighbourliness, forgiveness, love and tolerance. These are the golden values and true teachings of Christianity and Islam. We are prepared to live peacefully with our neighbours regardless of their faith. We therefore call on all Nigerians to reject any attempt by rabble-rousers like Pastor Olatoke to cause mayhem by demonizing Muslims.
SPECIAL APPEAL TO THE PRESS:
MURIC appreciates the sacrifices being made by the Fourth Estate of the Realm particularly in these difficult times. We regard the media as powerful partners whose role can make or mar the entire process. We therefore charge you to discharge your duties with utmost sense of patriotism and responsibility.
MURIC advocates that the press should create a level playing ground for all religious groups. A situation where the press catches pneumonia when the leaders of a certain religious group cough whereas a news blackout is placed on the leaders of another group is highly unethical. It does not portray our press as professional.
We advise against incitement of one religious group against the other as this is capable of igniting chaos in our society. We remind Nigerian journalists that they also belong to this same society and working towards its destruction is, to say the least, self-defeating.
Finally, we thank the press for its cooperation with MURIC over the years. We look forward to working together in the days ahead.
Gentlemen of the press, thank you for coming.
Alhaji Tijani Shehu
Abdul Razaq Uthman
P. R. O.
Professor Ishaq Akintola
A self-proclaimed prophetess, Chinyere Nwachukwu, has been remanded in Kirikiri Prisons in Lagos State, western Nigeria, over an alleged fake love potion prepared for a woman, Amarachi Egekonye, 36, seeking for a man that would marry her.
The 32-year old Chinyere was arrested by the police at Ikotun Division, Lagos and charged with obtaining money under false pretence and stealing under the Criminal Code before Ejigbo Magistrate’s Court, Lagos.
The victim alleged that the prophetess told her that she was possessed with certain demons that were preventing her from getting married and to ward off the evil, Chinyere demanded for N70,000 and MTN recharge cards worth N12,000 from her for the love potion and other spiritual assistance she would render.
Amarachi said when she agreed, Chinyere took her to her Arida-Ikotun prayer house where she collected the money and the MTN cards for ‘spiritual communication’.
Thereafter, the suspect bathed and prayed for Amarachi. She also gave Amarachi the love potion and instructed her to use it regularly to attract a man that would propose to her.
The plaintiff alleged that the prophetess assured her that her ‘husband’ would approach her at a fixed date after using the love potion.
Amarachi said she realised that her prophecy was a scam when the love potion did not work. Rather, the only man she had hoped to marry her also left her instead of proposing to her.
P.M.NEWS learnt that in annoyance, Amarachi challenged the prophetess and asked her to refund her money. But the suspect refused to do so.
She alleged that the suspect threatened to place a curse on her if she demanded for the money again.
Amarachi reported the case to the police who arrested the suspect.
When questioned, the prophetess said the woman asked her to pray for her to get a husband which she did and the rest was for God to fulfill.
Nwachukwu was charged to court for the alleged fraud.
When she was arraigned, she pleaded not guilty.
The presiding Magistrate, Mrs M.B. Folami granted her bail in the sum of N50,000 with one surety in like sum.
However, the court remanded her in prison custody pending when she would perfect her bail conditions.
The matter was adjourned till 4 June 2014.
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￼The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has described the purported conversion of the abducted schoolgirls of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, to Islam as act of persecution and war against Christianity.
A statement by the National Director of Research, Elder Sunday Oibe, noted that the girls could not be used as an exchange for the release of any Boko Haram member.
“I have the consent of our national president (Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor) who is abroad to address you. First, these children are Christians and not Muslims and so they cannot be converted to a religion that is not theirs at gunpoint without conviction,” Oibe told journalists.
He added, “Is that how conversion is being carried out? All the children displayed are Christians and that is the motive behind the abduction.
“It is simple. Because they are Christians and they represent the Church in the eyes of their abductors.
“Secondly, it smacks of some form of religious persecution. If not, why are their captors converting them to another religion?
“And if they say they will use them as a condition to negotiate their men in detention, our daughters are not criminals and cannot be used in any way to free their criminal fighters.
“Show us where in Nigeria you have seen Christians fighting and throwing bombs in the name of God; we challenge any one to show us where Christians have abducted Muslim children in the name of Christianity.
“We challenge anyone to prove to us in Nigeria where Christians have taken arms in the name of protecting Christianity or even carry out acts of genocide on helpless and defenceless Nigerians.
“As far as we are concerned, it is a war against Christians and Christianity.
“We are not speaking for the Nigerian state. The state will speak for itself, but we cannot be forced by some people to define for us our predicament and persecution.
“It is a war against Christians and the Church. We are feeling it and deeply affected. No amount of propaganda can deter us from saying the truth.
“We have said ours. It is now left for the government to expedite action and return our children to us. They (abducted schoolgirls) are Christians, they are not slaves, they are not Muslims and it is unacceptable to us. Let the whole world see it now”, he lamented.
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Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, the founder of the militant Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force, which gave birth to era of armed struggle against the Nigerian state in the oil-rich South-southern region, has flagged off #AntiBringBackOurGirls Campaign.
The acclaimed freedom fight has consistently maintained that the abduction of Government Girls Secondary School girls, Chibok in Borno State, is a scam.
According to him, no abduction took place and there are no girls to bring back since it was difficult for the Borno State Government, the owner of GGSS, Chibok, to produce a single picture of the over 200 girls allegedly taken hostage on April 14, 2014, by Boko Haram fighters.
Despite a video showing some of the the girls, Dokubo Asari insisted that it’s all a scam.
He wrote on his Facebook page, “it’s clear Shettima knows more than what he’s saying. How can a a sensible and reasonable governor…wave aside advise from WAEC to move the exam to a safer place, without making adequate security (arrangement) for the school?”, he queried.
A Muslim rights group, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has rejected the conversion of kidnapped students of Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State, to Islam, urging the Federal Government to dismiss Shekau’s offer of exchange of Boko Haram prisoners for the abducted girls.
The group in a press statement signed by Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, described the development as ridiculous and a sacrilege.
“We reject the purported conversion of the kidnapped girls. It is cowardly, shameful, ridiculous and preposterous. It is sacrilege. We affirm authoritatively that such conversion does not hold water in Islam because a non-Muslim can only be converted on his or her own free will.
“We have no iota of doubt that the girls ‘converted’ under duress. Such ‘conversion’ is null and void under the Shari’ah. The Glorious Qur’an is very explicit in this regard as it says, “There is no compulsion in religion…” (Laa ikrahun fii ad-diin” (Qur’an 2:256)”, the group asserted.
According to them, “the so called conversion is therefore baseless, unfounded and of no validity whatsoever. It exists only in the hallucinated imageries in Shekau’s demented mind.”
The body therefore urged the Federal Government “to dismiss Shekau’s offer of exchange of Boko Haram prisoners for the kidnapped girls. A man who orders the invasion and kidnap of innocent young girls is honour-blind. Shame on Boko Haram!
“Shekau has no modicum of integrity left in his anatomy. He has no intention of honouring this deal. He is trying to buy time. He is digging in.
“MURIC calls on all churches and mosques to pray for the downfall of Boko Haram. This renegade group is out to defame and distort the true teachings of Islam. Members of Boko Haram are rebellious subjects and enemies of peace.
“We charge the Nigerian Army to go back to the drawing board and evolve more potent strategies for crushing this renegade group. To crush Boko Haram is a task that must be done”, the statement read.
The federal government on Monday rejected conditions set out by Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau for the release of more than 200 schoolgirls held hostage by the Islamists.
Asked if the government would reject the suggestion by Shekau in a new video that the girls may be released once Nigeria frees all militant prisoners, Interior Minister Abba Moro told AFP: “Of course.”
“The issue in question is not about Boko Haram… giving conditions,” he said.
Shekau made the claim in a video obtained by AFP on Monday claiming to show about 130 of the 276 girls abducted from their school in the remote northeastern town of Chibok, in Borno state, on April 14.
“We will never release them (the girls) until after you release our brethren,” he said.
The militant leader, who has made prisoner exchange demands before, said that some of the teenagers had converted from Christianity to Islam.
The International Crisis Group said in a report published last month that Boko Haram had written an open letter in 2011 to the governor of northern Kano state, demanding the release of detainees.
Shekau repeated the demand in a video released last week claiming responsibility for the mass kidnapping that has sparked global condemnation and calls for action.
Nigeria’s military has been accused of rounding up thousands of Boko Haram suspects, including women and children, and holding them in atrocious conditions that have been criticised by rights groups.
On March 14, Boko Haram fighters stormed the notorious Giwa military barracks in the state capital of Borno, Maiduguri, freeing hundreds of militants.
Amnesty International, however, said on March 31 that there was “credible evidence” that more than 600 people, most of them unarmed recaptured detainees, were summarily killed in the military response.
Boko Haram Monday released a new video showing some female students of Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State who were kidnapped on April 14, 2014.
The sect alleged that the schoolgirls had converted to Islam and would not be released until all militant prisoners were freed.
The group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, speaks on the 17 minutes video obtained by AFP before showing what he said were about 130 of the girls, wearing the full-length hijab and praying in an undisclosed rural location.
A total of over 200 girls were earlier abducted while about 53 escaped and found their way home.
Some foreign countries have pledged their support to Nigeria, with assurances of military gear, deployment of forces and surveillance equipment.
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