BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has carpeted those who criticised the Christmas Day speech of Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Rev. Fr. Matthew Kukah.
The playwright said he had studied the transcript as reported in the media and found nothing in it that denigrated Islam.
He, however, noted he was not among the most religion besotted inhabitants of the globe.
Kukah, in the speech, summed up the country’s challenges ranging from insecurity, poverty to frustration under President Muhammadu Buhari.
Soyinka spoke in a statement on Monday titled, “The Kukah offence and ongoing offensives.”
He said: “One of the ironic features of religionists is, one is forced to conclude, a need to be offended. It is as if religion cannot exist unless it is nourished with the broth of offence. This may be due to inbuilt insecurity, a fear that even the ascribed absolutes of faith may be founded on nothing more than idealistic human projections, not grounded in anything durable or immutable. Hence the over prickliness, aggressiveness, sometimes even bullying tendencies and imperious posturing. This leads to finding enemies where there are none. In certain social climates, it degenerates into inventing enmities in order to entrench theocratic power.
“In its own peculiar way, this is actually a rational proceeding. A perceived threat to a collectivity tends to rally even waverers round the flag. The core mission of faith custodians then becomes presenting religion as being constantly under siege. It all contributes to interpreting even utterances of no hostile intent as “enemy action.”
“There is a deliberate, emotive displacement of central concern. It is calculated avoidance, diversionary, and thus, nationally unhealthy. Humans should not attempt to play the ostrich.
He noted that Kukah’s Christmas message, and the ensuing offensives, could not be more fortuitous, coming at a time “when a world powerful nation, still reeling from an unprecedented assault on her corporate definition, is now poised to set, at the very least, a symbolic seal on her commitment to the democratic ideal.”
According to Soyinka, some of the most extreme of the violent forces that recently assaulted the governance citadel of the world’s powerful nation sprung from religious and quasi-religious affirmations.
He added that the condition still enabled many of them to be brainwashed into accepting literally, and uncritically, indeed as gospel truth, any pronouncement, however outrageous and improbable, that emerged from their leadership.
He added: “It should not come as a surprise that a section of our Islamic community, not only claims to have found offence in Bishop Kukah’s New Year address, what is bothersome, even unwholesome, is the embedded threat to storm his ‘Capitol’ and eject him, simply for ‘speaking in tongues.’ Any pluralistic society must emphatically declare such a response unacceptable.
“On a personal note, I have studied the transcript as reported in the media and found nothing in it that denigrates Islam but then, I must confess, I am not among the most religion besotted inhabitants of the globe. That, I have been told, disqualifies me from even commenting on the subject and, quite frankly, I wish that was indeed the case. Life would far less be complicated. However, the reverse position does not seem to be adopted by such religionists in a spirit of equity. They do not hesitate to intervene; indeed, some consider themselves divinely empowered to intervene, even dictate in secular life.”
Soyinka stressed that everyone should be reminded that religion was upheld, and practised, not by robots, not by creatures from outer space, not by abstract precepts, but by human beings, full of quirks, frailties and conceits, filled with their own individual and collective worth, and operate in the here and now of this earth.
“That makes religion the business of everyone, especially when it is manipulated to instil fear, discord and separatism in social consciousness. The furore over Bishop Kukah’s statement offers us another instance of that domineering tendency, one whose consequences are guaranteed to spill over into the world of both believers and non-believers, unless checked and firmly contained. In this nation of religious opportunism of the most destructive kind especially, fuelled again and again by failure to learn from past experience, we must at least learn to nip extremist instigations in the bud,” he said.
Donald Trump became the first US president in history to be impeached twice when the House of Representatives voted Wednesday to charge him with inciting last week’s mob attack on Congress.
The Senate will not hold a trial before January 20, when Democrat Joe Biden assumes the presidency, meaning the real estate tycoon will escape the risk of being forced to leave early. He will, however, depart in disgrace — and likely due to face a Senate trial later.
The only question in the House had been how many Republicans would join the Democratic majority.
In the end, 10 Republicans broke ranks, including the party’s number three in the House, Representative Liz Cheney.
Holed up in the White House, Trump had no immediate reaction but he earlier issued a brief statement insisting that he opposed violence among his supporters.
“In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be no violence, no lawbreaking and no vandalism of any kind. That is not what I stand for,” he said.
“I call on all Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You.”
Reflecting the fear of upheaval, armed National Guards deployed across the capital and central streets were blocked to traffic.
In the Capitol building itself, guards in full camouflage and carrying assault rifles assembled, some of them grabbing naps early Wednesday under the ornate statues and historical paintings.
Trump survived a first impeachment almost exactly a year ago when the Republican-controlled Senate acquitted him of abusing his office to try and get dirt on Biden’s family before the election.
This time, his downfall was triggered by a speech he delivered to a crowd on the National Mall on January 6, telling them that Biden had stolen the presidential election and that they needed to march on Congress and show “strength.”
Amped up on weeks of election conspiracy theories pushed by Trump, the mob then stormed into the Capitol, fatally wounded one police officer, wrecked furniture and forced terrified lawmakers to hide, interrupting a ceremony to put the legal stamp on Biden’s victory.
One protester was shot dead, and three other people died of “medical emergencies,” bringing the toll to five.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the chamber that Trump “must go.”
“He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love,” she said.
And Democratic lawmaker Ilhan Omar branded Trump a “tyrant,” saying that “for us to able to survive as a functioning democracy there has to be accountability.”
But Nancy Mace, a newly-elected Republican congresswoman said that while lawmakers “need to hold the president accountable,” the speed of the impeachment “poses great questions about the constitutionality.”
The top Republican in the House, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, said that while Trump deserves censure, hurriedly impeaching will “further divide this nation.”
– McConnell open to impeachment –
Trump, who has been stripped of his social media megaphones by Twitter and Facebook, and finds himself increasingly ostracized in the business world, is struggling to impose his message — let alone any kind of resistance.
His refusal to accept any responsibility for the horrifying scenes on January 6 — including his insistence Tuesday that his speech was “totally appropriate” — has infuriated allies and opponents alike.
The main question now is to what extent former Republican allies in the Senate will turn on their party’s figurehead. Last year, they acquitted Trump overwhelmingly after the House impeached him for abuse of office.
Powerful Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell has made clear there is no time before Trump’s January 20 exit to hold an impeachment trial, given that the Senate is in recess until January 19.
However, he said Wednesday that he was open to the possibility of voting to convict Trump in a trial, which could still be held after Biden takes over.
“I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate,” McConnell said.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that McConnell is signaling privately that he believes Trump did commit impeachable offenses.
This presents a potentially fatal shift in the ground under Trump’s feet, because it could lead other Republican senators to join in convicting Trump with the goal of turning the page in the turbulent relationship between the party and former reality TV host and real estate magnate.
Meanwhile, the increasingly toothless Trump’s social media woes deepened late Tuesday when video-sharing giant YouTube said it was suspending his official account for at least a week, out of concern his videos could incite violence.
He is also being cut out by the business world, threatening his financial future once he leaves the White House.
The latest blow to the Trump empire was when the mayor of his native New York City, Bill de Blasio, announced Wednesday a termination of contracts to run a golf course, two ice-skating rinks and a carousel in Central Park.
“New York City doesn’t do business with insurrectionists,” de Blasio, a Democrat, tweeted.
The Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 on Tuesday said schools across the country will resume on Monday, January 18, 2021 pending the review by the federal government.
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu had on Monday said the federal government would review the resumption date of schools as a result of rising cases of Coronavirus.
“On the January 18 resumption date, we are reviewing it. We are going to review it.
“At the PTF meeting today, we considered it, and tomorrow, the ministry is going to take it up,” he said.
But PTF National Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu in a TV programme on Tuesday said what the minister of Education said on Monday was that the ministry was going to do a review of resumption.
He said Adamu never said the Education ministry was going to change the date of resumption, saying that what he said was that “they will review the situation and let the nation know.”
Aliyu stated emphatically that resumption date for schools nationwide remained January 18 until the Ministry of Education comes up with an alternative date.
Moyo Thomas, nee Ojo, the former FCMB staff who had two children for Adam Nuru, the managing director of the bank, is now involved in a hide and seek game, on the internet.
She had two children for Nuru while married to Tunde Thomas.
She revealed the heart shattering news to Thomas, after she escaped to the U.S. in 2017.
Thomas could not bear the shock and died on 16 December, 2020.
His friends are now mounting a campaign to get Nuru sacked on ethical grounds.
On her LinkedIn account, Moyo has done an identity change.
She is no more Moyo Thomas, but Mo David.
People who have been tracking her discovered her trick and blew the whistle on Sunday.
She responded by removing her photo from the new profile, but left her history with FCMB intact.
Moyo now claims she works for Park Nicollet Health Services, Minneapolis, in America, as a recruitment manager.
Moyo attended Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife from 1998 to 2004, where she read economics.
She later went for a Masters degree in International Human Resource Management at Cranfield School of Management, in UK.
She worked for FCMB for almost 13 years in the human resource department.
Literary icon Prof. Wole Soyinka may no longer want to comment on the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He told an on-line TV in a chat that went viral yesterday that “for the sake of sanity, one must imagine that the regime of the President Muhammadu Buhari does not exist”.
The Nobel laureate, who was seen being interviewed onboard a train, described the new Lagos-Abeokuta-Ibadan standard gauge train, as marvellous and long overdue.
He told the Kaftan TV reporter that he would not like to talk about the Buhari administration because he imagined the regime doesn’t exist.
When asked whether the new train was a plus to Buhari’s regime, he said: “I don’t want to talk about Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. I think it is best for my sanity just to avoid that overall question. I can take bits and pieces of Nigeria’s present predicament but I think for one’s sense of balance, one must forget the existence of the Buhari administration.
From Sydney Harbour Bridge to the Acropolis, fireworks burst in skies above eerily deserted landmarks as the world ushered in the New Year with muted celebrations and said good riddance to a pandemic-ridden 2020.
After a grinding year that has seen at least 1.7 million people die from Covid-19, fresh waves of infection have sparked renewed lockdowns and forced would-be revellers to extend their 2020 tradition of watching events from the sofa.
The eagerly awaited first seconds of 2021 fell on the Pacific nations of Kiribati and Samoa from 1000 GMT. The uninhabited Howland and Baker Islands will be the last to tip over into the New Year.
New Zealand, which has won plaudits for its handling of the coronavirus, followed Kiribati and Samoa, with large crowds gathered in Auckland to watch a fireworks display.
In Australia’s largest city, Sydney, fireworks lit up the glittering harbour with a dazzling display, but few spectators watched in person.
“I think everybody is looking towards 2021 as a fresh beginning and a fresh start,” Karen Roberts, among the lucky few who were allowed past checkpoints around the area, told AFP at a bar nestled under the Sydney Opera House.
– Curfews being enforced – Some Hong Kongers, despite restrictions, ventured out to mark the start of the year, gathering on the Victoria Harbour waterfront to take selfies.
In Tokyo, where residents face the prospect of a state of emergency being imposed after infections touched new highs, people queued in face masks to offer New Year prayers.
Wuhan in China, where the virus first appeared late last year, saw thousands gather to celebrate — and Taipei also enjoyed a more traditionally upbeat celebration with crowds massing to watch fireworks.
Elsewhere, the mood was far more downbeat.
In Russia, President Vladimir Putin acknowledged in a New Year’s address that a second wave of Covid-19 was battering the nation.
“The fight against it does not stop for a minute,” he said.
Italy — where shocking images of makeshift morgues and exhausted medics awoke the world to the severity of the crisis — is on a nationwide lockdown until January 7 with a 10 pm curfew in place.
From France to Latvia and Brazil, police and — in some cases — military personnel are being deployed to make sure curfews or bans on large gatherings are enforced.
Paris and Athens both featured socially distanced gatherings, with a virtual concert and light show over Notre Dame in the French capital and fireworks over the Acropolis in Greece.
In hard-hit London, 74-year-old American singer-songwriter Patti Smith had been due to ring in the New Year with a tribute to National Health Service workers who have died from Covid-19, projected on the screen at Piccadilly Circus and streamed on YouTube.
But due to alarm at rising infections rates, the big screen projection was cancelled with the tribute viewable instead solely online.
A few dozen revellers did arrive in Parliament Square to watch Big Ben chime 11:00 pm — midnight in Brussels — marking the moment that Brexit finally became a reality, with Britain severing its turbulent half-century partnership with Europe.
– Social gathering -A fireworks and laser show was held in Dubai at the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, where there has been a slew of new cases. Those watching were required to wear masks and register with identifying QR barcodes.
In Beirut, still reeling from an explosion that devastated the city’s port in August, authorities were also cutting loose.
A curfew was pushed back to 3 am and bars, restaurants and night clubs allowed to reopen to host large parties.
On the banks of Lake Baikal in Siberia, where temperatures plummet to as low as -35 degrees Celsius (-31 Fahrenheit), around a dozen Russians emerged invigorated after a New Year’s Eve ice dip.
The swimmers, known in Russia as “walruses”, ran several kilometres (miles) through a snowy forest in swimsuits and festive costumes before plunging into the world’s largest freshwater lake.
“It’s invigorating. It stings a little!” Andrei Bugai told AFP.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel used her New Year greeting to warn the coronavirus crisis would extend into 2021 even if vaccines bring some hope, as police clashed with revellers near the Brandenburg gate in Berlin.
As the final hours of 2020 ticked away in the Americas, authorities in New York City blocked public access to Times Square, where thousands usually gather to watch a crystal ball drop at midnight.
A star-studded celebration will still be televised from the square with performances from the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Gloria Gaynor — but its confetti will fall onto a largely deserted pavement.
With midnight approaching, the US, the worst-hit country in the world, was also nearing 20 million recorded infections and more than 345,000 deaths.
In Brazil — which has already recorded more than 193,000 Covid-19 deaths, the second-largest number in the world after the US — Rio de Janeiro was blocking beach access to prevent the crowds of revellers who traditionally gather.
BY MICHAEL BAMIDELE/ GUARDIAN.NG
A male nurse in Indonesia has been suspended after admitting that he removed his personal protective equipment to have sex with a coronavirus patient.
The nurse and the patient, who is also a male, snuck off to have sex in a toilet in the hospital, the Indonesia Expat reported. The incident only came to light after the patient boasted about it on his Twitter account on Friday.
The patient reportedly uploaded what he said was a screenshot of flirty WhatsApp messages between the pair that included detailed discussions of lubricants and the size of the men’s genitals. The man also posted an image of what appeared to be the nurse’s PPE lying on the floor during their rendezvous.
“It is true that there has been a suspected incident of a same-sex relationship between a health worker and a COVID-19 patient at the Wisma Atlet Emergency Hospital,” Asep Gunawan of Indonesia’s National Nurses Association said.
The Indonesia Expat reported that both of the men have been identified and admitted to the sexual encounter.
The two men were later administered coronavirus tests. The patient was found to still be positive for Covid-19, while the nurse, who tested negative, has been handed over to the police for “legal proceedings”, officials said.
“This case has been transferred to the Central Jakarta Police. We have secured the health worker to become a witness and asked for further information,” the New York Post reported Lt. Col. Arh Herwin of the Regional Military Command as saying.
“Meanwhile, the patient continues to undergo isolation at the Athlete’s House,” he added, referring to a former Asian Games athletes accommodation village that was transformed into a coronavirus hospital.
If convicted, the men face prison sentences of up to 10 years in prison under Indonesia’s Pornography Law.
By Abankula/ PM NEWS
Outspoken Bishop Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Most Rev. Matthew Hassan Kukah has used Christmas message as a speech on the state of the nation, slamming President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
In the speech, entitled “A Nation in search of Vindication”, Kukah railed at Buhari’s unparalleled nepotism and policy of northern hegemony, while reducing other parts of the country to second class status.
He said there could have been a coup or war in the country if a non-Northern Muslim President had practiced a fraction of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ‘nepotism’.
He said despite Buhari’s policy, the north has been the worst for it.
With terrorism, banditry and kidnapping ravaging Nigeria under Buhari’s watch, the bishop said, everybody is now wailing over the sad situation.
“The United Nations has wailed. The Pope has wailed. Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, Pastors have wailed. Emirs have wailed. Politicians have wailed. The Sultan has wailed”, he said.
Read the full speech:
A Nation In Search of Vindication
Another Christmas with Dark Clouds of Death:
Let me paraphrase the holy prophet Isaiah who said: “For Jerusalem (Nigeria’s sake), I will not be silent until her vindication shines forth like the dawn…..No more shall people call you forsaken, or your land desolate, but you shall be called my delight and your land espoused.” (Is. 62:1, 4).
Against the backdrop of our endless woes, ours has become a nation wrapped in desolation. The prospects of a failed state stare us in the face: endless bloodletting, a collapsing economy, social anomie, domestic and community violence, kidnappings, armed robberies etc. Ours has become a house of horror with fear stalking our homes, highways, cities, hamlets and entire communities. The middle grounds of optimism have continued to shift and many genuinely ask, what have we done to the gods? Does Nigeria have a future? Where can we find hope? Like the Psalmist, we ask; from where shall come our help? (Ps.121:1).
Whatever the temptations to despair, we cannot to give up. When the Psalmist asked where help shall come from, he answered that it will come from the Lord. Therefore, like Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist, we Priests must stand before the mercy seat of God and plead the cause of our great country(Lk. 1: 8). Like Abraham, we must plead for the Lord to save our nation because we have more than ten righteous men (Gen. 18: 16ff). Like Moses, we believe that as long as our hands are held up in prayer, the Lord will be on our side (Ex. 17:11). These are trying but life changing moments in the history of our nation. Politics and Economics alone will not resolve our problems. There is enough hate and bitterness to go around. We need to pause, reflect, pray, be honest and courageous in facing tomorrow.
Yes, our dreams have been aborted. Yes, our commonwealth has been stolen. Yes, our cancer of corruption has metastasized. Yes, we have been guilty of patricide, fratricide and attempted even suicide. Yes, we are hungry, angry, thirsty and starving. Yet, we stand firmly with the unshaken belief that no matter the temptations, the world has known worst times. These may be the worst of times, but for men and women of faith, they could be the best of times. We must stand firm and resolute because, our redeemer liveth (Job 19:25).
Annus Mirabilis or Annus Horribilis?
The roads to the grave yards are busier than those to the farms. Amidst the wails and laments, I hear the congregants saying; the world is coming to an end, it has never been so bad.Yes, people are dying, but they are not dying more now than they did in recent years. It is the social media and its connectivity that has given us a sense of greater urgency and added to our seeming despair with the way things are. The social media is value neutral.It depends on what we make of it. Its instantaneous impact is often times dizzyingly traumatic, but the other benefits more than compensate. In a way, the choices we make will help us decide whether this year is our annus mirabilis or annus horribilis.
When Isaac Newton, at the age of 23, made the spectacular discoveries in the areas of Calculus, Motion, Optics, and Gravitation, the year of those discoveries, 1666, was referred to as, annus mirabilis, the year of joy. On the other hand, in 1992, when the marriages of three of her children collapsed, Queen Elizabeth in her Christmas address referred to that year as her annus horribilis, the year of horror. As such, notwithstanding all the earth shaking impact of the Covid-19, our own individual, communal and national tragedies, it is not just a choice between annus mirabilis and annus horribilis. At various levels, there have been grey areas of hope, flickers of light, achievement and so on. It is to these flickers of hope that we must cling tenaciously. For our son, Anthony Joshua, the loss of his title to Andy Ruis on June 1, 2019 after 25 fights without a loss, that year was his annus horribilis. When he pummeled Kubrat Pulev, this year became his annus mirabilis. Things change and, joy or sorrow, we must know that nothing lasts forever. What matters is how we handle failure.
Another Christmas in Cloud of Doom:
Not unexpectedly, this Christmas is again coming against a backdrop of so much pain, sorrow and uncertainty in our land. We all seem to have become sedated and inured to pain. Tragedy has been standing as our gate keeper. For over ten years now, at almost each Christmas, a dark pall of horror, sorrow and death has consistently hung in our horizon threatening to eclipse the promises of the joy of Christmas. Recall the bombing of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla on Christmas day in 2011. In the wake of the Christmas day bombing, I issued a statement titled, An Appeal to Nigerians. In the statement which enjoyed a wide circulation, I stated: All of this should cause us to pause and ponder about the nature of the force of evil that is in our midst and appreciate the fact that contrary to popular thinking, we are not faced with a crisis or conflict between Christians and Muslims. Rather, like the friends of Job, we need to humbly appreciate the limits of our human understanding. Terror is a product of hate, but while hate tries to divide us, terror and death should pull us together.
Is Government in Suspended Animation?
As our country drifts almost rudderless, we seem like people travelling without maps, without destination and with neither Captain nor Crew. Citizens have nowhere to turn to. After he assumed power, a delegation of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference had audience with President Buhari. In the course of our discussion, the President shared with us his frustration over the state of decay and rut that he had met. In frustration, I vividly recalled him saying that, from the decay and neglect, it seemed as if preceding governments had been doing nothing but just eating and going to the toilet! Looking back, one might conclude that those were happy times because at least there was food to eat and people could go to the toilet. Now, a journey to the toilet is considered by the poor an extra luxury. Our country’s inability to feed itself is one of the most dangerous signs of state failure and a trigger to violence.
Breaking the Ice: From Chibok through Dapchi to Kankara:
The sleepy town of Kankara, just 130 kilometers outside Katsina, like Chibok and Dapchi before it, has leapt into prominence not because they now have potable water, electricity or any dramatic improvement in the quality of their lives. Rather, it is because of large footprints of the evil men who have passed through their terrain. As always, we were unsure of how many children were missing: 80, 820, 800, 500, 520, 333, 320, no one knew. The numbers kept changing between the government and Boko Haram.
The story of Chibok and Dapchi was for some time, a metaphor that exposed the vulnerability of the girl child. Kankara has added to the mix and now we have to face the mortal dangers of the Nigerian child in northern Nigeria. The Almajiri is the poster child of the horrible and inhuman conditions of the northern child. It is a best kept secret that the region refuses to confront but it has now exposed its underbelly. Now, what next for the children of the north? In another ten or twenty years, these children will be leaders in their communities. What will they remember and how will they remember? Their fate and future are a dream deferred, a nightmare that will be ignited by the fire next time.
We thank God that the children have been returned safely. This is the easy part. The challenge now is how to deal with the scars inflicted by a derelict nation which is still unable or unwilling to protect its citizens. Yes, we commend the federal and state governments for the rescue operation. The larger issues now are whether the federal government understands the evil web of intrigues into which Boko Haram has tied it. Will the federal government continue to reward and fund Boko Haram by playing its game? How long can this circle of deceit last for given that every kidnap merely strengthens their arsenal? The men of darkness have shown far greater capacity to shock and awe a forlorn nation by constantly blindsiding us all. When will it all end?
Will the federal government continue to reward and fund Boko Haram by playing its game? How long can this circle of deceit last for given that every kidnap merely strengthens their arsenal? The men of darkness have shown far greater capacity to shock and awe a forlorn nation by constantly blindsiding us all. When will it all end?
A Nation in Search of Vindication.
This government owes the nation an explanation as to where it is headed as we seem to journey into darkness. The spilling of this blood must be related to a more sinister plot that is beyond our comprehension. Are we going to remain hogtied by these evil men or are they gradually becoming part of a larger plot to seal the fate of our country?
President Buhari deliberately sacrificed the dreams of those who voted for him to what seemed like a programme to stratify and institutionalise northern hegemony by reducing others in public life to second class status. He has pursued this self-defeating and alienating policy at the expense of greater national cohesion. Every honest Nigerian knows that there is no way any non-Northern Muslim President could have done a fraction of what President Buhari has done by his nepotism and gotten away with it. There would have been a military coup a long time ago or we would have been at war. The President may have concluded that Christians will do nothing and will live with these actions. He may be right and we Christians cannot feel sorry that we have no pool of violence to draw from or threaten our country. However, God does not sleep.We can see from the inexplicable dilemma of his North.
Every honest Nigerian knows that there is no way any non-Northern Muslim President could have done a fraction of what President Buhari has done by his nepotism and gotten away with it. There would have been a military coup a long time ago or we would have been at war.
Nepotism and the Worship of False Gods.
It is curious that President Buhari’s partisanship and commitment to reinforcing the foundations of northern hegemony have had the opposite consequences. For a long time, beyond the pall of politics, very prominent northerners with a conscience have raised the red flag, pointing out the consequences of President Buhari’s nepotism on national cohesion and trust.
With time, as hunger, poverty, insecurity engulfed the north, the President’s own supporters began to despair and lament about the state of their collective degradation. Was this not supposed to be their song? The north that the President sought to privilege has become a cauldron of pain and a valley of dry bones. Today, the north itself is crying the most and why not? No one has suffered as much as they have and continue to. The helplessness is palpable and the logic is incomprehensible.
One Northern Imam after the other have posted videos of lamentation on the social media asking why, with all the cards of power in the hands of northern Muslims, everything is bursting in the seams. How come our region has become a cesspool of blood and death? Why did President Buhari hand over a majority of the plum jobs to Northern Muslims? Was it for efficacy and efficiency? What was the logic? President Buhari must pause and turn around because his policy of nepotism has been rejected by the gods.
During the EndSARS Protests, the north pretended that it was ensconced from the pain that was driving the protests and that they had nothing to complain about. The northern elites claimed that the protests were part of a plot by Christians to overthrow a northern, Muslim government. Their sentiments false, but understandable. However, it turned out to be the lull before the storm. The dam soon broke as the bandits tightened their grip on the region as the spiral of kidnappings, abductions and killings of innocent citizens intensified.
During the EndSARS Protests, the north pretended that it was ensconced from the pain that was driving the protests and that they had nothing to complain about. The northern elites claimed that the protests were part of a plot by Christians to overthrow a northern, Muslim government. Their sentiments false, but understandable. However, it turned out to be the lull before the storm
The North spurn into denouement: the idea of a united north seems to have ended. The northern Governors’ Forum has split into the three zones. With the killings, kidnappings and abductions of Emirs and other traditional rulers in the north, the signals have gone out that no one is safe and nothing is sacred. In the wake of the EndSARS protests, the traditional rulers across the country assembled to express solidarity with the President. Then it all changed. The Emir of Katsina, the President’s home state, only recently said; “We cannot continue to live like animals. I have not seen this type of country”. His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar said that the north has now become the worst part of the entire country. The Senate whose leadership is almost totally dominated by Northern Muslims has raised alarm. The Northern Elders’ Forum has called on the President to resign. Has the politics of nepotism run its course? Perhaps, the spirit of Christmas should offer us an answer.
The People that Walked in Darkness have seen a Great Light.
The rut and decay in our country today is evidence of a people who have not yet seen the light. The experience of northern Nigeria is evidence that nepotism is a counterfeit currency. The nation must therefore now pull together. It is not enough to blame the military. After all, they neither run the economy or the bureaucracy. It is not enough to blame even the political class or even the President alone. We found our way here by the choices we have made as a nation over time.
Indeed, the colonialists claimed that they were bringing light to a dark continent. In a way, despite the cost, we could see ingredients of their light; good education, running water, relatively good roads, security, among others. We finally accepted Democracy as the platform for actualizing these.
However, today, there is evidence that we have literally returned to the cave, those times when life was brutish, nasty and short. Each and every one of us has contributed to the darkness of our nation. The light of Christ which we all received at baptism calls on us to act in the mind of Christ. To be a follower of Christ is to be in his footsteps. This moment calls on us as Christians to celebrate the simplicity of Christ represented in Christmas. Joy to the world, the Lord has come, the song says. Jesus has offered us a roadmap. We are challenged to bring light into the darkness of our society.
Darkness has its own logic. St Paul reminds us that without Christ, our lives are characterized by: immorality, filthy and indecent actions, worship of idols and witchcraft. People become enemies and they fight, they become jealous, angry, and ambitious. They separate into parties and groups, they are envious, get drunk and have orgies (Gal. 5: 19-21). When it is dark, we cannot see our way and we stumble. Nigeria has stumbled so much. It is time to for us to turn on the light of the torch. Each of us can make a change.
Wailers and Redeemers.
Finally, today, amidst the pains and the trials, we can say with the Psalmist: Our tears have become our bread (Ps. 43:2). We have no reason to doubt that at the fulfilment of time, in His own time, the Lord will dispense justice to our nation. It will come as day follows light.
Our brother Femi Adesina, a Pastor of the Four-Square Gospel Church was right when he referred to those who were calling attention to our situation as Wailers.The wailing started quite early in the day. To the herdsmen across Nigeria whose cattle have been lost to rustlers, bandits, or lightening, the Prophet Zechariah said: There is a sound of a shepherd’s wail for their glory has been ruined (Zech 11:3). To the thousands of widows left to mourn their husbands or children across our country, the Prophet Jeremiah is saying; Send for the wailing women, that they may come! Let them make haste and take up a wailing for us, that our eyes may shed tears and our eyelids flow with water (Jer. 9: 17). For our helpless nation overrun by bandits? Prophet Jeremiah still says; A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more (Jer. 31:15).
So, Pastor Adesina was right. On the sad situation in Nigeria, the United Nations has wailed. The Pope has wailed. Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, Pastors have wailed. Emirs have wailed. Politicians have wailed. The Sultan has wailed. Surely, it is time for the Lord to hear the wailer as they have sung their redemption songs
So, Pastor Adesina was right. On the sad situation in Nigeria, the United Nations has wailed. The Pope has wailed. Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, Pastors have wailed. Emirs have wailed. Politicians have wailed. The Sultan has wailed. Surely, it is time for the Lord to hear the wailer as they have sung their redemption songs. With St. Paul, I say: The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over, the day is almost here; so let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light (Rom. 13:11-12). Let us unite and seek the Lord in sincerity because the Lord will vindicate the righteous.
Merry Christmas to you all.
The Federal Government has declared Friday 25, Monday 28 December 2020 and Friday, January 1, 2021 as public holidays to mark the Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year Celebrations respectively.
Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, made the declaration on behalf of the Federal Government.
He felicitated with Christians and all Nigerians both at home and abroad on this year’s Christmas and New Year Celebrations.
Aregbesola urged Christians to adopt the creed of Christ on faith, hope and love.
A statement signed on behalf of the Minister by the Permanent secretary in the Ministry, Dr Shuaib Belgore said “We must emulate the life of humility, service, compassion, patience, peace and righteousness that the birth and Ministry of Jesus Christ signified, that will be the best way to know Christ and celebrate his birth.”
The Minister noted that peace and security are critical factors needed to enable Government accomplish its mission of revitalizing the economy, improving Foreign Direct Investment as well as generating employment opportunities for over 100 million Nigerian youths in the next 10 years.
Aregbesola advised Nigerians and Christians in particular, to adhere strictly to the Covid-19 protocols and guidelines, as stipulated by relevant authorities, during and after the yuletide, especially with the second wave of the outbreak of the disease.
The Minister reiterated Federal Government’s commitment to the fight against armed banditry, kidnappings and other crimes and criminalities in the country.
He called on Nigerians to support the efforts of the security agencies by providing them with information that will enhance intelligence gathering.
While admonishing all Nigerians to remain focused, determined, patient and patriotic, Aregbesola expressed confidence that the year 2021 would be a better year for all Nigerians and therefore urged Christians to use the period to pray for Nigeria.
He wished all Nigerians and Christians in particular, a happy Christmas and New Year Celebrations.
A teenage girl killed at least three people when she blew herself up in a crowd in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state, militia and humanitarian sources told AFP Saturday.
“We evacuated three dead bodies and two people who were seriously injured from the scene,” said aid worker Abubakar Mohammed. The attack happened in the town of Konduga, about 38 kilometres (24 miles) from the regional capital Maiduguri.
The attacker set off her explosives among a group of men at a hangout next the local chief’s home, said Ibrahim Liman, an anti-jihadist militia leader who gave the same toll.
Konduga and surrounding villages have been repeatedly targeted by suicide bombers from Boko Haram, which typically attacks soft civilian targets such as mosques, markets and bus stations, often using young women as bombers.
At least 30 people were killed last year in Konduga when three bombers detonated their explosives outside a hall where football fans were watching a match on TV.
Boko Haram and a splinter group, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), have killed 36,000 people and displaced around two million since 2009.
The jihadist conflict has spread into neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroon, prompting a regional military coalition to end the violence.
By Abankula/ THE NEWS
All abducted schoolboys of Kankara Government Science Secondary School have been released, Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina said today.
Masari gave the number of freed students as 344, more than the 333 he said were abducted initially.
According to him, the boys are presently kept safe in Tsafe, a local government area in Zamfara State.
Governor Masari noted that the boys would be brought back to Katsina, the state capital on Friday.
He said that arrangements had been made for their medical treatment, adding that government did not pay ransom for the release.
He also said some of them had been killed when the military engaged the terrorists in a fire fight.
He urged government not to send the military to free them.
The boys were stolen by Boko Haram terrorists from their school in the night of 11 December, after a gunfight with police guards.
The Ak 47 gun wielding terrorists stormed the school on auto-bikes.
The kidnap triggered a national outrage against the Buhari administration.
It also triggered fresh calls for the sack of service chiefs, who have overstayed their tenure in office.
On Monday, Governor Masari said the abductors had made contacts.
“The abductors of our Children have made contacts with the Government and talks are ongoing to ensure their safety and return to their respective families.
“The security agencies deployed for rescue operations have also informed us that they have located their position”, he tweeted.
By Nimot Adetola Sulaimon/ PM NEWS
Members of the House of Representatives have called for the immediate suspension of the Federal Government’s Special Works Scheme.
Earlier, the National Assembly and the Federal Ministry of Labour, Employment and Productivity had clashed over the recruitment of 774,000 workers for the scheme.
At the plenary, the House asked the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning not to fund the scheme, which is billed to take off in January 2021.
The National Assembly had appropriated N52bn for the exercise in the 2020 Appropriation Act.
It was to begin in November.
Meanwhile, the House faulted the removal of the Director-General of the National Directorate of Employment, Dr Nasiru Argungu, who had backed the parliament in the controversy.
Also, the House urged President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse himself on Argungu’s sacking.
A barber in Kano State, Isa Sulaiman, 26, yesterday made many tongues to wag as he married his American lover, 46-year-old Janine Sanchez Riemann.
The wedding was held according to Islamic teachings in Kano at Police College Juma’a Mosque, Gasau, along Panshekara road. Senator Shehu Sani was among the guests.
It was gathered that the Imam of the Mosque, Adam Abubakar, joined the two to become one, after the bridegroom paid N50, 000 bride price.
The couple fell in love after meeting on social media platform, Instagram.
Ms Reimann, a mother of two, revealed the relationship started when Sulaiman observed and warned a scammer who attempted to defraud her via the social media.
“I didn’t respond because I have had experiences with Nigerian scammers.
“There was a guy messaging me and Sulaiman knew he was a scammer. So he reacted, telling him to go get a job and quit scamming innocent people. So, I thought he sounded like a nice guy,” the bride, a chef in California, said.
Sulaiman, an indigene of Niger State residing in Kano, said he had always dreamt about marrying a white and fathering mixed race kids.
The groom, formerly in love with Nafisa Tahir -an Hausa girl, said his dream came true when the white woman responded to his message.
The two continued exchanging messages and early this year, the American flew to Kano.
Sulaiman’s father, Isa, a retired policeman, said he approved of his son’s union with the American woman as long as she allows him to remain a Muslim.
The bride will be taking Isah to the US to sponsor his education, after few months of honeymoon in Kano, the family said.
Senator Sani said the marriage is an indication that ethnicity, race and religion are not a barrier to intending couples.
He advised the couple to set a good example for Nigerian youths.
Dozens of distraught parents and guardians on Saturday besieged Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State in search of their children and wards, following an attack on the school by gunmen on Friday night.
Hundreds of students could not be accounted for on Saturday, although the police said they rescued 200.
Many are feared abducted by the hoodlums.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who arrived in the state on a private visit a few hours before the attack, directed the army and the police to go after the bandits immediately with a view to rescuing the missing children.
In its first reaction to the attack, the state government ordered the closure of all boarding schools to avert a reoccurrence.
Governor Aminu Masari said no one could yet ascertain the number of students who were kidnapped.
Speaking with reporters, the governor said 426 students had been counted as safe.
“This incident has gone beyond imagination,” he said in Hausa.
“For us, it’s highly worrisome and disturbing. I am assuring parents and guardians of these children that – we couldn’t say that we are more disturbed than them – but to rest assured that we share the same worries with them, because we know that we have the responsibility to protect their lives and their health.”
The governor said he had met with the army, who told him they were on top of the situation as efforts intensified to locate the bandits.
“And by God’s grace, we will do all that it takes to rescue the entire abducted students,” Masari said.
“I urge you people in the name of Allah and his prophet to please remain patient and intensify prayers.
“This is because sharing blames and all sorts of abuses are not the solution in this trying time. Honestly speaking, we are not enjoying what is taking place and we are not executing what we are supposed to do when it comes to the issue of protection of the lives of our people.
“We want to assure you that we will do all that is possible on the school children, as we have directed the immediate closure of all schools in the state and that all students should be taken back home.”
The gunmen stormed the school at about 11.30 pm in an attack reminiscent of the April 14, 2014 night invasion of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State by the terror sect, Boko Haram.
Students, teachers, and non-teaching staff fled into surrounding bush for their lives.
A headcount in the boarding school yesterday amid reports that hundreds of them had been abducted indicated that 54 students were missing.
Eight hundred and eighty four students were said to be in the school at the time of the attack.
The state police command said 200 of the students who fled for safety were found by the divisional police officer in the area and returned.
The police said they received report of the attack around 11:30 pm. They were told that bandits armed with AK-47 rifles had attacked the school.
One of the policemen on security duties on the school premises was shot during the attack.
He was rushed to the hospital for treatment.
The Katsina State Police Command, in its account of the incident, said the fully armed bandits announced their arrival with heavy shooting.
Spokesman for the command, Superintendent Gambo Isa, said: “Yesterday (Friday), around 11:30pm, we heard a report that bandits in their numbers armed with their AK-47 rifles attacked Government School, Kankara, and they were shooting sporadically.
“We had our men guarding the school, so there was an exchange of gunfire. That gave the students an opportunity to escape. Many of them scaled through the fence of the school.
“The attackers injured one of our inspectors. Reinforcement was drafted and the DPO led an armoured personnel carrier (APC) team.
“While we were exchanging fire with the bandits, they were retreating into the forest. This morning, the DPO called and said he had found over 200 of the students that escaped.
“Search parties are still rallying into the town and nearby farms in order to get the students that escaped from the school.
“So, we are still counting the numbers in order to know those that are missing. We cannot ascertain at this particular time whether these bandits were able to kidnap any of the students.
“Counting is still ongoing because the students had the opportunity of scaling the fence for safety. Later on, we will be able to confirm if some students were kidnapped because they will call to demand ransom in their usual way.”
He said a combined operation of the police, army, and the Air Force was working closely with the school authorities to ascertain the actual number of the missing or kidnapped students while search parties are assiduously working with a view to rescuing the missing students.
He added that no death was recorded during the attack.
Governor Aminu Masari has ordered immediate closure of all boarding secondary schools in the state.
The governor, who visited the school in company of his deputy, Mannir Yakubu, other government officials, some parents, traditional and religious leaders as well as security officials, pleaded with the people to be patient and show restraints and understanding.
Amid sobs, the governor assured them that government would do every necessary thing to ensure the release of any abducted student.
He said already, the military, the police and the Department of State Security had swung into action and were on the trail of the bandits.
Masari said the Federal and state governments were doing their best to bring an end to banditry and other debilitating criminal activities in the state.
“The government is very firm in its resolve to be ruthless in any engagement with the bandits,” he said.
Speaking to reporters during the visit, Masari said: “This is a big tragedy, and our concern and commitment towards rescuing the schoolboys is beyond measure.
“We can’t say we are more concerned than the parents, but we deeply share in their pains, knowing full well that we are responsible for the protection of their lives and well-being.
“The soldiers have informed me that they are currently battling with the bandits, and we will do our best to rescue them all. We have ordered the closure of all schools and directed that all the schoolboys be returned to their parents.”
President Muhammadu Buhari, who arrived in the state a few hours before the attack, directed the army and the police to go after the attackers immediately and ensure the rescue of the missing students.
The President, in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, strongly condemned the attack.
He said his thoughts and prayers were with the parents of the students.
The President urged the school authorities to carry out an audit of the students population.
Parents who rushed to the school and removed their children and wards were also required to notify the school and police authorities in order to have a full account of the school population.
“I strongly condemn the cowardly bandits’ attack on innocent children at the Science School, Kankara. Our prayers are with the families of the students, the school authorities and the injured,” said President Buhari while pledging to continue to support the police and military struggle against terrorists and bandits.
The President received briefing from the Army Chief of Staff, General Tukur Buratai, who said the military, supported by air power, had located the bandits’ enclave deep inside the Zango/Paula forest in Kankara and there had been an exchange of gunfire in operation.
The police said so far, there had not been any reported student casualty.
The President directed the reinforcement of security of all schools in line with the safe schools policy of the administration.
The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, ordered the deployment of additional operational and investigative assets to support the ongoing search and rescue operations in Kankara and its environs.
“The deployment, which includes personnel from the Police Tactical Squads and crack detectives from the Force Intelligence Bureau, will provide investigative support to the Katsina State Police Command,” Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, said in a statement last night.
He said: “They are also to work in sync with the military and other law enforcement agents in coordinated efforts aimed at rescuing the students, hunting down the perpetrators and bringing them to book.
“Investigations so far reveal that one of the attackers was killed and a policeman injured during the attack. The exact number of students missing cannot be ascertained at the moment as massive operations including investigations, search and rescue exercise are still ongoing.
“Meanwhile, the IGP has ordered the immediate review and strengthening of security arrangements around educational institutions in the country,” Mba said.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) branded the attack on the school as a failure of the security system in the country.
Spokesman of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, at a press conference in Abuja, asked President Buhari “who promised to lead from the front, to account for the abducted students, as the large-scale abduction happened a few hours after the President and his security machinery took over the state.”
He added: “”Our party holds as perplexing that at a time the people of Katsina should have heaved a sigh of relief because of his presence, the abduction happened right under Mr. President’s nose, in his home state where he had gone holidaying.
“This development has further exposed the failure of President Buhari to manage high level security intelligence that ought to accompany a presidential visit.
“The time of the attack buttresses the fact that President Buhari, as the commander-in-chief, is totally incapable of securing our nation; the very reason there have been widespread calls by patriotic Nigerians that he should resign.
“This insolence of Mr. President towards issues of national security compelled our caucus in the House of Representatives to demand for his impeachment.
“Our party believes that if President Buhari had listened to wise counsel as proffered by the PDP and other patriotic Nigerians including the two chambers of the National Assembly to rejig the nation’s security architecture, our situation would not have deteriorated to this sorry state.
“Moreover, this particular abduction in the President’s home state, under his watch, raises further serious questions over this government’s capacity to fight insurgency.
“This is more worrisome as the state government had been known to have established contacts with, as well as pampering bandits, which Mr. President had not condemned.”
The main opposition party called on the President Buhari to immediately quit his “needless holidaying” in Daura and go in search of the abducted pupils.
The PDP charged the President to ensure that the abducted pupils were rescued, to match his oft repeated insistence that issues of security remain his exclusive responsibility.
“Our party sympathises with the people of Katsina State, particularly the parents of the kidnapped students, who have been subjected to harrowing experience occasioned by the incompetence of the Buhari administration.
“The PDP, working in concert with other patriotic Nigerians will not rest until President Buhari finds and returns each of these students.”
Amnesty International condemned the attack on the school and the abduction of a yet to be determined number of students.
“Terrifying attacks on rural communities in the north of Nigeria have been going on for years. The ongoing failure of security forces to take sufficient steps to protect villagers from these predictable attacks is utterly shameful,” it said in a tweet by its Director in Nigeria, Osai Ojigho.
It asked government to protect the citizens, especially women and children in rural communities.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, in his reaction, said the abduction of a large number of students at the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara was a very unwelcome escalation of the spate of insecurity in the nation.
He said: “I sympathise with the parents of the abducted children and the government and people of Katsina, my adopted home state and home of my late benefactor, Tafida Shehu Musa Yar’adua. I pray for their safe return.
“While I urge our nation’s law enforcement agencies to immediately swing to action and rescue the missing students, I am nevertheless conscious of the fact that we cannot continue to be reactionary in our response to the growing insecurity in Nigeria. Something has to give.
“I therefore call on the Federal Government to immediately declare a state of emergency in states bedevilled by banditry and terrorism for an offensive and decisive war on terror and insecurity.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the emergency I call for should follow the steps prescribed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), and case law, by leaving all democratically elected state and local government structures intact.
“The rationale is quite simple: We cannot win the war on terror by continuing with the same strategies we have deployed over the last five years. That they have not worked is very glaring, with the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara incident being the latest in a long line of proofs.
“If we must get better results, we must implement better strategies. Strategies that may have to include the temporary stoppage of the boarding school system in favour of a day students approach, until the situation is brought under control.
“Strategies that must include 24 hours armed military guard for each school in the affected states.
“No sacrifice is too great to make to return law and order to the affected communities, and that must be the singular focus of the Federal Government until this menace is eradicated.”