Worried by the level of insecurity, a coalition of Islamic and Christian Leaders in Michika, Adamawa, has set up a committee to sensitise communities on peace building and conflict resolution.
The Public Relation Officer of the group, Alhaji Abdulrahaman Mutawale told newsmen in Mubi on Sunday that the measure was aimed at promoting peaceful coexistence among the people in the area.
Mutawale said members of the sensitisation sub-committees had already been inaugurated across the 16 wards in the area to create awareness on the need for people to live in peace and harmony.
He said the group in collaboration with the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) had held various meetings between religious and community leaders on the need to promote peace in the area.
Governor of Benue Gabriel Suswam has urged the people to unite in the interest of development in the state.
Suswam was speaking Sunday at St Theresa’s Parish, Makurdi, in a thanks-giving mass in honour of Mr Fidelis Audu, Chairman, Makurdi Local Government Council.
The governor, who was represented by Dr Eugene Aliegba, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, said peace was necessary for sustainable development.
He called on the people to desist from fomenting trouble on the account of their political differences but to play the game of politics according to the rules.
He said politics ought to be devoid of violence and advised them to shun violence.
Governor of Borno Kashim Shettima on Sunday attributed last Tuesday’s inauguration of caretaker committees for the 27 local governments in the state to security reasons.
Some opposition parties in the state had accused the governor of refusing to conduct elections into the councils for political reasons.
But Shettima told newsmen in Maiduguri that the committees were inaugurated because of the difficulties in organising polls, especially against the current security challenges in the state.
Shettima said that, government planned to conduct credible elections for the councils once the security situation improved.
The new Ambassador of the State of Palestine to Nigeria, Dr Montaser Abuzaid, said in Abuja on Sunday that he would promote the existing cordial relations between the two countries.
“I will work to promote the existing relations between Nigerian and the State of Palestine, especially in the areas of culture, sports and education,’’ Abuzaid told newsmen.
He said the two countries could do a lot together in the area of culture considering that the role of the embassy was to facilitate contact between the two countries’ relevant ministries, departments and agencies.
“We can organise student exchange programmes as well as sporting activities; we can also explore each other’s tourism sector as Palestine is blessed with many historic and tourist sites,’’ Abuzaid said.
The Catholic Diocese of Kaduna Province on Sunday called on the faithful to contribute toward improving the lives of the less privileged in the society.
The Provincial Organising Committee Chairman, Rev. Fr. Michael Gadache, made the appeal in an interview with newsmen in Kaduna at the launch of Lenten Campaign for the diocese.
Gadache said that arrangements for the event had reached their zenith as the faithful and other dignitaries were being sensitised to brace up for the success of the programme.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee, Mr John Bagu told newmen that Rev Fr. Peter Babangida would preside over the event at the St. Pius X Catholic Church, Unguwar Romi, Kaduna South Local Government Area.
Former President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, has said that leaders at all levels must be involved in providing security in the country.
Gen. Babangida said this in Kano on Saturday when he paid a condolence visit to the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, in his palace, over the multiple bomb blasts that killed about 200 people in Kano.
Babangida, who ruled the country between 1985 and 1993, said it was the responsibility of not only the Federal Government , but leaders at all levels, to ensure peace and stability in the country.
Two female councillors in Maiyama and Kalgo Local Government Areas of Kebbi died on Wednesday in a motor accident on Funtua – Zaria road.
The Chairman of the state chapter of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Alhaji Musa Dan-Illela, disclosed this in Birnin Kebbi on Thursday in an interview with newsmen.
He said that the deceased, Hajiya Ruqqayya Mohammed and Sa’adatu Umar were travelling to Abuja to witness the Supreme Court sitting in the case filed by Alhaji Abubakar Mallam of CPC against the election of Gov. Saidu Dakingari.
The Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW), an NGO, on Saturday in Lagos pledged to sensitise Nigerians on various opportunities on wealth creation.
President of the group, Mrs Lola Okanlawon said during an interactive session with journalists, that the aim was to promote the establishment of small and medium entreprises in the country.
She said that the NGO was principally focussed on creating wealth and not alleviating poverty.
As part of the strategy, Okanlawon said the group had concluded plans to organise a workshop to expose men and women on how to earn a living in the oil and gas industry.
A group of Young Professionals has been inaugurated in Ile-Ife, Osun on Saturday, with a pledge to impact positively on the lives of Nigerians.
The group has membership from various professions, including medicine, engineering, the academics and law.
Leader of the group, Dr Bayo Olokun, promised that it would work to improve the quality of life of the citizenry.
Olokun, who is a consultant at the National Hospital, Abuja, said the group would offer humanitarian services to the people, especially the less previledged.
“Our aim is to make a better Nigeria, the country has invested so much in her people, we want the nation to be properly positioned.
The Yakubu Gowon Foundation has distributed 800 pairs of school sandals to female pupils of some primary schools in Mikang Local Government Area of Plateau.
The beneficiaries are pupils of L.E.A. Primary Schools in Jimakwi, Pukien, Pangjem and Pangsot Local Government Areas.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation, Mr Dan Tenshak, said the initiative was in line with the organisation’s advocacy on girl-child education.
“It is in line with the foundation’s way of assisting indigent students. The initiative will also create awareness on the challenges of girl-child education toward bridging the gender gap in learning.”
He noted that education was becoming more expensive, and stressed the need for governments and NGOs to encourage girls from poor homes to pursue their dreams.
Stakeholders from the 23 local governments in Sokoto State have expressed their support to fast track the formulation of a draft policy on water and sanitation for the state Our correspondent reports that the state government and a USAID- assisted non governmental organisation, Research Triangle Institute / Leadership. Empowerment , Advocacy and Development –RTI/ LEAD are championing the formulation of the policy .
A public hearing on the draft policy was conducted on January 28 by the state Ministry of Water Resources and the organisation .
A statement signed by Alhaji Tijjani Mohammed , the Deputy Chief of Party ( DCoP) of the organisation, said in Sokoto on Sunday that the public hearing was attended by the various stakeholders in the state .
The Deputy Governor of Yobe State Alhaji Abubakar Ali, has expressed the hope that the new 200-bed hospital in Damaturu would prevent the people from seeking medical attention outside the state.
Ali, who is also the Commissioner for Health, told newsmen in an interview on Sunday that the ultra modern hospital had adequate provisions for laboratory examinations, diagnosis and treatment of patients.
He said the services of consultants engaged from the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital would be an advantage to the facility.
“Travelling out of the state to seek medical treatment will soon be a thing of the past. The new hospital will decongest the existing specialist hospital, which is overstretched,” he said.
He said a committee had been constituted to equip the hospital with state-of-the-art facilities “to promote efficiency and qualitative healthcare delivery to the people.
Kidnapping Of Students, Ploy To Discourage Schooling In Nigeria – MSSN
The Muslims Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) has said that the incessant kidnapping of students in some parts of the country was a strategy to discourage the pursuit of education.
MSSN National President, Malam Shehu Usman- Abubakar, said in a statement on Saturday, in Birnin Kebbi, that many students had withdrawn from school as a result of kidnapping.
He said that education was the major source of strength and power to every nation and community in the world.
“As kidnapping has started affecting schools, we, as members of MSSN, view it as an effort towards discouraging the pursuit of education, especially in educationally backward communities of the northern parts of the country.
“Therefore, more should be done to put a stop to that with all the might and urgency possible,’’ he said.
Usman-Abubakar urged governments at all levels to do more in ensuring the protection of lives and property of their citizens, saying that the rate of criminality in the country was alarming, especially banditry and kidnapping.
He, however, noted that security agencies had been doing a lot in combating insecurity in the country, while commending the Kebbi state government for its efforts in the immediate rescue of some of the kidnapped students of Federal Government College, Birnin Yauri.
“We urge other state governments affected to follow suit as set by Gov. Atiku Bagudu,” he said.
The MSSN president also urged Muslim faithful to return to Almighty God in repentance and be prayerful for a better Nigeria.
FG, UN Unveil Programme To Empower Youths
The Federal Government of Nigeria is set to partner with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) to empower 20 million Nigerian youths by 2030.
The initiative tagged: “Generation Unlimited” and set to be inaugurated today in Abuja, is targeted at 20 million persons between the ages of 10 and 24 out of the nation’s 65 million young people.
The Country Representative of UNICEF in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, said this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja yesterday.
According to him, the initiative is also being replicated in many other countries with 1.8 billion young people targeted around the World.
With specific reference to Nigeria, Hawkins said that the Generation Unlimited programmes were aimed at developing the capacity of young Nigerians to be better positioned as leaders of tomorrow.
He said that if the youths were not equipped with the right skills, especially in view of the ongoing digitisation of the World, they would be unable to bring value to the future of Nigeria.
The UN representative added that such initiatives would also help in turning the youth away from drugs or crime.
“Nigeria has 65 million people between the ages of 10 and 24, so young people of Nigeria are more importantly the future. That generation would shape the future of Nigeria.
“What Generation Unlimited is trying to do is to first act as a platform between the government, the United Nations and the International Community and the private sector.
“Out of the 65 million young people, Generation Unlimited is trying to help 20 million of those over the next 10 years to step over the generation that they are in to be able to meet their own ambitions and be valuable commodities in Nigeria.
“What is going to define the future of any country, particularly Nigeria is the digital platform – access to data, access to digital information.
“It is not only expanding the digital platform but expanding young people’s access to that platform.
“There are initiatives like School-2-School connectivity, looking at how we can bring digital learning into the schools, communities and ensure that young peoples’ skills around digital platforms come to the fore,” he said.
He pointed out that other areas include education skills on the one hand and employability and entrepreneurship on the other hand.
Hawkins said that UNICEF was particularly focused on connection between the skills and opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship, trying to develop the skills that jobs require.
Hawkins added that the last part was engagement of the young people not only to understand what they want to do but also to create an environment where they are contributing to the future of this country as a voice.
“Already, over the past year, we have been engaging with 450,000 young people through different initiatives around the country.
“There is a massive prospect in this country to engage young people. So in summary, Generation Unlimited is trying to help 20 million young people to achieve skills and jobs with digital platform being the main conduit for many of these jobs and skills.
“On Monday, Nigeria’s Vice President will inaugurate the Generation Unlimited Nigeria, this is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate a vision for the young people of Nigeria and give them the opportunity to engage in what happens in Nigeria in the future.
“There are many initiatives at the moment currently ongoing, especially around skills development, education a live skills learning.
“What we are trying to do at Generation Unlimited is to allow the platform of all of these to go to scale, using different initiatives to trigger off other initiatives to reach the 20 million that we want to reach in the next 10 years,” he said.
The UNICEF Representative listed some of its partners to include: GIZ, EU, USAID, Unilever, Microsoft, Tony Elumelu Foundation, and MasterCard, amomg others, adding that they were open for partnerships with institutions and the private sector.
PDP Tackles el-Rufai Over Insecurity, Insists Jonathan Resisted Insurgency
A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Emeka Kalu, has slammed the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, over comments on ex-President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan.
It would be recalled that El-Rufai had severally criticized Jonathan’s administration for being incompetent and weak in tackling terrorism.
The Kaduna governor also adduced that all the technical advice given to Jonathan was refused.
In a statement, yesterday, Kalu, a former governorship aspirant in Abia State, opined that under Jonathan, insurgency was resisted with all apparatus within the reach of the government to tackle the ugly trend.
He lamented that countless persons have lost their lives to herdsmen killings in the north and southern part of Nigeria while el-Rufai as the Chief Security Officer of Kaduna, with full confidence in Buhari-led government, is busy watching the atrocities while the perpetrators go unpunished as a result of ethnic sentiment.
Kalu queried, “What has he successfully put in action to contain the marauding and uncontrollable cases of kidnapping and banditry that had almost swept the entire nooks and crannies of Kaduna State or is he short of ideas now on how best to engage the criminals?
“Why has he not been able to apply those security tackling measures the technical committee that he was one of the members during Jonathan regime recommended to improve security situation in Kaduna State as the governor on seat?
The party chieftain, however, called on el-Rufai to stop playing politics with the deteriorating insecurity in the country, warning the governor and the Buhari-led All Progressives Congress to stop the mudslinging in politics, promote ethnic co operations and tolerance, as well as run inclusive government.
Parts of the statement said, “It is always easier to castigate a leader, find faults and apportion blames but when it gets to the doorstep of the fault finder, with all statutory power and resources to perform the same functions, the actor retires into his shelf as snail does.
“Instead, he would come up with a cheap propaganda that any person who killed a Fulani Man would have himself to blame. When interviewed for explanation, he said it was because Fulani are scattered in various parts of Africa and when you kill one in Nigeria, those in Sahara would come to say, you killed their fathers and brothers, then as result attack the locality in retaliation.
“Does this make any sense for a government that values the lives of her citizens? Why would the government condone criminals and give shot at side order in another part of the country to wipe away the people of that ethnic nationality in the pretext of fighting criminal. Are all criminals not the same or those from a given ethnic group are anointed not to be killed?
“The same expert on security intelligence as he claimed to be could not suggest how best to tackle bandits but with all velocity suggested how to treat and handle ethnic agitators who had not killed even an ant. This signifies the kind of government we run and expect the citizenry to wave banners of praises for us.
“Nigeria has a long way to go. Except we drop divided sentiment and nepotism, the journey would be farer for us; except the government eschews unnecessary cuddling of herdsmen with carrots hands by taking strict actions to stop their rampage and marauding activities, Nigeria will still be singing the same songs of sorrow instead of peace and unity.
“The formula is very simple. Stop mudslinging in politics, promote ethnic co-operations and tolerance, run inclusive government, drop revenge-oriented use of EFCC/DSS apparatus against party opponents, revive the dwindling economy, create jobs and employment using Federal Character Principles, open full resistance against bandits and all forms of terrorism, stop ethnic harassment of the southern Nigerian peaceful agitators, learn how to dialogue, work to restructure the fiscal federalism then Nigeria will become an ice in a hot water pot”.
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