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Kattey: Abductors Yet To Contact Family …Pray For His Release, Amaechi Enjoins Christians

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After days after dare-devil gunmen abducted the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province and Bishop, Diocese of Niger Delta North, Most Rev Ignatius Kattey, at the Eleme axis of the East-West Road, the kidnappers are yet to establish contact with the family of the second highest officer of the Anglican Church in Nigeria or made ransom demand.
The Tide gathered that all efforts by the family, the entire church and the Eleme community to reach out to the kidnappers have proved abortive, even as the Rivers State Government and the state Police Command have reassured that the revered Archbishop would soon be released.
While the state government had assured that it would do everything within its powers to ensure the release of Bishop Kattey unhurt, the police command has also expressed commitment to secure the unconditional release of the cleric as soon as possible.
The assurances are, however, coming against the backdrop of calls by the Lay Readers of the Diocese of Niger Delta North, and the people of Eleme, the bishop’s community, for the immediate and unconditional release of their kidnapped Dean of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion.
Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi assured yesterday that the state government would do everything to ensure the unconditional release of the bishop.
Secretary to Rivers State Government, George Feyii, who represented the governor during a visit to the bishop’s family, yesterday, assured that the government was working round the clock to secure the release of Bishop Kattey, unhurt.
In the same token, Police Public Relations Officer, Angela Agabe, told The Tide in an interview yesterday that police operatives were gradually closing in on the abductors.
Agabe said that fresh information on Monday night indicated that the kidnapped priest would soon breathe the air of freedom, noting that the police were combing all the nooks and crannies of the state in search of the bishop.
Meanwhile, lay readers in the Diocese of the Niger Delta North, have called for the immediate and unconditional release of Archbishop Kattey.
Rising from a prayer meeting at the Cathedral of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Port Harcourt, yesterday, the lay readers said that the criminality in the kidnap of the man of God was the height of national disgrace and embarrassment.
In a release signed by the Chairman, Diocesan Lay Readers Association, Sir Kelvin Obi and Secretary, Chris Okocha, described the dastardly act as a fight against God.
The association, which condemned the rising spate of criminality in the state, appealed to all Christian faithfuls to remain committed in prayers towards the safety of the Archbishop, and demanded for his unconditional release from the den of the dare-devil gunmen.
While expressing confidence in the efficacy of divine intervention in these trying times, the lay readers also called on security agencies to intensify their efforts towards the release of the man of God.
The lay readers, who numbered more than 150 at the prayer session, also prayed against darkness in the land.
Similarly, the people of Eleme have threatened to destroy roads, bridges, and other facilities in the area, if their illustrious kinsman is not released unhurt within 24 hours.
They issued the warning last Monday during a peaceful protest organised to press home their demand for the unconditional release of Archbishop Ignatius Kattey.
Meanwhile, Rivers State Governor and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has enjoined Christian religious leaders to intensify prayers for the unconditional  release of the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of the Niger Delta, Most Reverend  Ignatius Kattey.
Amaechi spoke yesterday when he paid a sympathy visit to the family of Archbishop Ignatius  Kattey at his residence in Eleme Local Government Area of the state.
He said his administration was doing everything humanly possible to ensure the unconditional release of Archbishop Kattey.
“This administration wants to assure you that, it identifies with this family because the kidnap of the Archbishop is a very serious matter and it has compelled us to identify with the family, and right now, everything is on track to ensure that Kattey returns to continue his assignment with God.
Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr George Feyii, Amaechi urged the  family of Bishop Kattey to remain strong in their prayer life and trust in the Lord for His  intervention and release of the kidnapped Anglican Archbishop by unknown gunmen.
Governor Amaechi further appealed to the kidnappers of Bishop Kattey to urgently effect his  release to enable him continue his ecclesiastical call to the service of God and humanity, which  he stressed, was for the benefit of all Nigerians and betterment of society.
Responding, wife of the Archbishop, Mrs Beatrice Ignatius Kattey while thanking Governor Amaechi for the visit prayed for God’s intervention and unconditional release of her husband by the kidnappers.
“My husband is a man of God that preaches peace, he believes in God and wherever he is, God  is with him, we are sure he will be well, but he should be released”, Mrs Beatrice Kattey said.
Wife of the Anglican Bishop also expressed regrets over the security lapses in the state and called for serious concern and attention to avert future re-occurrences.
Also speaking, Chancellor of the Diocese of the North, Sir Emeka Ichioku in his vote of thanks expressed confidence that Archbishop Ignatius Kattey would return to his family hale and healthy.
Earlier, Chairman of Clergy Association of the Diocese of the Anglican Communion of Niger Delta North, Venerable Richard Okpara also offered prayers for the family of Archbishop Kattey and God’s intervention for his unconditional release.
Similarly, Chairman of Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, King Godwin Gininwa has condemned the kidnap of Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of the Niger Delta and Dean of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Ignatius Kattey, describing it as an evil against God and humanity.
King Gininwa in a statement signed in Port Harcourt last Monday wondered what the perpetrators of such menace would achieve by abducting God’s own servant in their quest for material wealth.
He called on his abductors to release him unconditionally because “Most Reverend Ignatius Kattey has spent all his life serving God and humanity”, saying that it was callous of such individuals to have kidnapped a servant of God of no mean repute, a second in-command of the Anglican Communion in Nigeria.
According to the Gbenemene Tai, it has become so sad, the present deteriorating security situation in the state, adding that only a few weeks ago, another illustrious son of Ogoniland, the Honourable Commissioner for Sports, Mr. Fred Igwe,  escaped assassination.
King Gininwa, therefore, appealed to the police and other security agencies in the state to intensify their efforts for the release of Most Reverend Ignatius Kattey while maintaining adequate security in Rivers State, and called on all men of goodwill to also pray for divine intervention in the matter.

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Nigeria, US Sign Pact To Reduce Illicit Trafficking Of Ancient Arts

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The Federal Government and the United States, yesterday, signed the Cultural Property Implementation Act (CPIA) Agreement.
According to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, the CPIA would reduce the pillage of Nigeria’s ancient arts which are mostly smuggled to Europe, the US and other places for the benefit of art collectors.
Mohammed said the signing of the MoU became necessary because, despite all efforts by the Ministry of Information and Culture and the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, with the assistance of law enforcement agencies, to prevent illicit export of the nation’s archaeological and ethnological materials, widespread looting and illicit excavation of these materials still continue.
He said this when he signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the CPIA with the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, in the presence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, in Abuja.
Special Assistant to the President on Media, Office of the Minister of Information and Culture, Segun Adeyemi, disclosed this in a statement titled, ‘Nigeria, US Sign Pact To Reduce Illicit Trafficking of Ancient Arts.’
Mohammed was quoted as saying, “This legislation was enacted by the United States to restrict the importation into the US of archaeological materials ranging in date from 1500 B.C. to A.D. 1770 as well as ethnological materials, including those associated with royal activity, religious activity, etc from nations that have entered into the kind of bilateral initiative that we are signing here with the United States today.”
The minister said on the basis of the agreement, Nigerian antiquities being imported into the US without the requisite export permit will be seized at the border of the US and returned to Nigeria without the arduous and costly task of going through the labyrinth of judicial and diplomatic processes.
“We are optimistic that this agreement will reduce the pillage of our irreplaceable archaeological and ethnological materials, as the market for these materials is being shut in the United States against illicit traffickers.
“The agreement will last for an initial period of five years. If it works well, as we anticipate it will, it shall be renewed for a longer term. We implore other friendly nations to take a cue from the United States of America and join us in finding means to prevent the illegal importation of our antiquities into their countries,” he said.
The minister, who thanked the US Government, in particular the US Embassy in Nigeria, for making the MoU possible, said the Nigerian Government looks forward to a diligent implementation of the landmark agreement, so it can become a game-changer in the nation’s efforts to prevent the looting of its priceless ancient works of art.
In her remarks, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Beth Leonard, said the agreement was aimed at preserving, restoring and protecting Nigeria’s cultural heritage.
“In Nigeria, over the past decade, the US Mission has partnered with the Nigerian government and state institutions to preserve cultural landmarks and sites through projects worth over one million dollars and funded by the US Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation.
“Just last November, I signed a grant award to digitally survey the Busanyin Shrine located within the Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove. That $125,000 grant will help document a series of shrines within the Grove and provide training to local professionals in digital tools and cultural heritage management,” she said.
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Three Out Of 10 Nigerians Are Mentally Sick -Reps

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The House of Representatives has said that three out of every 10 Nigerians have one form of mental illness or another.
Quoting the World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics, the House added that over 20,000,000 Nigerians were currently suffering from various degrees of mental illness or disorder without psychiatric health care.
To this end, the House mandated its Committees on Health Institutions and Healthcare Services to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Health towards improving mental health facilities around the country and further carry out serious sensitization of Nigerians on this issue.
It also asked the Committee on Health Institution to explore the modalities of liaising with stakeholders in the health sector to promote, educate and sensitise Nigerians on mental health.
The resolution, however, followed a motion titled “Need to Address the Rising Cases of Mental Health in Nigeria” presented by Hon. Uchechuku Nnam-Obi from Rivers State and considered by the House at yesterday’s plenary.
Presenting his motion, Nnam-Obi noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) considers mental health as a state of well-being in which the individual can cope with the stress of life, work productively and contribute to the community.
According to him, mental illness manifests in mood disorder, anxiety disorder, trauma-related disorder, personality disorder, old age-related disorder, substance abuse disorder or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning.
He said: “According to the World Health Organisation statistics, over twenty million Nigerians are currently suffering from various degrees of mental illness or disorder without psychiatric health care.
“Three out of 10 Nigerians have one form of mental illness or the other, presently there is no mental health legislation in Nigeria. However, the Nigerian mental health policy is the only framework that has access to mental healthcare, dealing with mental and neurological disorders in Nigeria, discouraging stigmatisation against persons with mental disorders and has institutionalised standards for Psychiatric practice.
“The increase in cases of depression is traceable to multifactorial inter and intrapersonal issues which leads to suicidal death in the country and this requires urgent attention.
“Nigeria has only 130 Psychiatrists with over 20million citizens suffering from mental disorders.
“With the few functional Mental Health Facilities and inadequate mental health practitioners in the country, mental health cases are left for traditional practitioners, hence the upsurge in mental health in Nigeria.
“The statistics are troubling and the continued lack of a legal framework on mental health in the country will simply cause the situation to degenerate”
Adopting the motion, the House gave six weeks to the committees within which to carry out the assignment and report back to it for further legislative action.

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Wike, PDP Govs Commiserate With Tambuwal Over Brother’s Death

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Representatives of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum, yesterday, paid a condolence visit to the Sokoto State Governor, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal over the death of his elder brother, Alhaji Muhammed Bello.
Bello, who is also the Waziri of Tambuwal, passed on in Sokoto, last Tuesday night at the age 87.
He was the head of the Tambuwal family.
On the PDP governors’ delegation were, Governors Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State; Nyesom Wike (Rivers); Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu); Oluseyi Makinde (Oyo); and Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State.
The Vice Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, who led the delegation, said they were in Sokoto to commiserate with Tambuwal and his entire family over the sudden death of his elder brother.
“We feel your pain, and we understand that a great vacuum has been created, not only within the caliphate, but across Nigeria and other places where Daddy had sphere of influence. We believe that God Almighty will grant you the fortitude to bear this great loss.
“We are, however, consoled by the fact that Daddy left legacies that will remain indelible; one of them is your very good self and your impact and contributions to our dear country.”
The governors urged the Tambuwal family, particularly the Sokoto State governor, to remain strong, steadfast and uphold those virtues which the late Waziri of Tambuwal, cherished so much.
In his response, Sokoto StateGovernor, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, who is the PDP Governors’ Forum chairman, said the entire Tambuwal family was gladdened by the condolence visit.
According to him, his late elder brother, who lived his life in the service of community, held the family title, Waziri of Tambuwal for 37 years after the demise of their father.
“We are, indeed, very highly consoled not only by your presence, but your words of consolation. For you to have left behind whatever you are doing in your respective states to come all the way to Sokoto this afternoon, shows clearly how you sympathise with us and how close you are to us. I assure you that we appreciate this.”

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