The Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Oyo State branch, Pastor Benjamin Akanimu, has urged government at all levels to reintroduce Christian Religious Studies in primary, secondary and higher institutions.
Akanmu made the call while speaking on the significance of Easter, in an interview with newsmen in Ibadan, yesterday.
He said this would go a long way to help the young ones to know about God early in their life as they pursue their academic dreams.
He said this will also ultimately bring peace to the society, as the students grow with the fear of God.
Akanmu urged Christians to have faith in the power that resurrected Jesus Christ from the dead, live patiently and trust in God despite their plights.
“If Jesus didn’t resurrect, we will still be in sin, the Jewish leaders chose to make up the story that it never happened, but on the third day after his death He rose, today He is alive and reigns eternally.
“For broken homes, the neglected, betrayed, bereaved, prisoners, sick, among others, can be restored by the power of His resurrection, the same power that raised Jesus is available for us today, if we can embrace Him,” he said.
Also speaking, the Catholic Bishop of Oyo Diocese, Most Rev. Emmanuel Badejo, urged Christians to emulate Jesus who laid down His life for the redemption of man.
“Easter Sunday changes the history of humanity, for the righteous, death is a mere passageway, not the end, death will not have the final word, but love and God will; Jesus conquered the devil, death, sin and darkness.
“We must emulate Jesus and live sacrificially; our leaders must similarly make sacrifice for the people, no leadership has legitimacy if it doesn’t make sacrifice and serve citizens.
“Our government must do everything possible to protect Nigerians, secure freedom for the kidnapped, deal with all forms of killings,
“We suffer heavy loss of lives and the authorities do little about it, this must change.
“All Nigerians should believe in Christ and never lose hope, don’t commit suicide, do not despair, God conquered death so what else can He not do for us, let’s always love one another irrespective of tribe, religion or status,” he said.
Badejo further urged Christians to spare a thought for fellow citizens suffering from all manner of insecurity, especially in the North and other places, even as they celebrate the season.
“I express solidarity with fellow Nigerians who are victims of clashes, bloodshed, killings, kidnappings, other tragedies, I pray fervently for a turnaround for peace and harmony all over Nigeria,” he said.
In his remarks, Rev. Alex Okoye of All Saints Anglican Church, Koroduma, Nasarawa, called on the government to emulate the selfless life of Jesus Christ and offer selfless service to the masses.
Okoye urged them to also show love and compassion to the masses by fulfilling the promises they made during electioneering.
“Easter shows that Jesus Christ has power over death, grave, it gives Christians hope, it shows that he who believes in Christ has eternal life; Jesus Christ is the resurrection and life.
“As we celebrate Christ’s resurrection, I pray that everything dead in Nigeria comes back to life in Jesus name, amen,” he said.
It would be recalled that Easter is observed by Christians three days after Good Friday, it commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; churches in Ibadan metropolis joined their counterparts to celebrate the day.
However, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has felicitated with Nigerians across the country on the Easter celebration, and charged the Federal Government to ensure safety of lives, property and free movement of people.
The President of CAN, Rev. Samson Ayokunle revealed this in a statement by the Special Assistant, Media and Communications to the CAN president, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, last Saturday in Abuja.
Ayokunle urged all Nigerians to imbibe the teachings of Jesus Christ so as to drive out vices such as hate speech, bigotry, corruption, banditry and terrorism.
“Kidnapping, increasing wave of armed robbery and resurgence of insurgency coupled with relentless attacks by ethnic militia men are a great concern for patriotic Nigerians and an embarrassment to the nation. These issues should be addressed squarely, promptly and fairly.
“On behalf of CAN, I congratulate all Christians in Nigeria and beyond on this most auspicious occasion of this year’s Easter, which is a commemoration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour,” he said.
He said lack of love today was the breeding ground for religious intolerance, killings and destructions, which in turn lead to insurgency and other forms of violence.
He added that this has led to humanitarian crises such as mass human displacements, hunger, outbreak of sicknesses and diseases across the nation.
He, however, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for assuring Nigerians of his commitment to the provision of security for all, irrespective of tribe, religion or political divide.
The cleric said that Nigerians would want to see that this noble promise is translated into action in the most patriotic way.
SSANU, NASU Threaten Warning Strike Over Unpaid Arrears
The Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU), University of Jos, have threatened to embark on warning strike next Monday, if the Federal Government does not pay their N30billion unpaid arrears.
The Chairperson of ASSANU and Chairperson of Joint Action Committee (JAC), Esther Ezeama disclosed this, yesterday, during a peaceful protest at the premises of University of Jos, Plateau State.
She said the staff are protesting the poor condition of service, non payment of arrears accumulated to N30billion and noted that Federal Government has being paying lip service to their plights.
“If Federal Government does not look into our matter we will be going for a compulsory five days warning strike, after that we will go for indefinite strike if our demands are not made.
“We have being on this struggle since 2009 and government is no other willing to meet their demands, it has being promising them and failing, we are saying enough is enough. We want them to do something urgent to arrest the situation.
“We want the National Assembly, the office of the Accountant General, the National Universities Commission (NUC) should all put their heads together to resolve our problem before the system is shut down.”
The staff, who were protesting and holding placards with inscriptions reads, “Government must stop lip service, Federal Government should pay us our N30billion arrears, Federal Government must respect NIC judgment on staff school” among others.
Gunmen Kill Scores, Raze Houses In Ogoni Communities
No fewer than 10 people were killed and property worth millions of Naira destroyed when gunmen, suspected to be cultists, invaded Okwale and Taabaa communities in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The Tide reports that the first attack was launched about 6pm in Okwale community on Tuesday leaving, at least, four persons dead with the residence of one Chief Monday Abueh and others touched by the rampaging gunmen.
Also, similar violent attack was carried out in Taabaa community on Wednesday morning with about five persons killed; while the assailants razed the Palace of the Paramount Ruler of Taabaa, M.S.K Nule and burnt cars packed in the compound, three generator sets and other valuable properties.
The incident also spilled over to Nyokuru community in Khana, where the daredevil hoodlums set fire on the residence of the President, Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Comrade Legborsi Pyagbara, just as it was further leant that three policemen were injured.
It was not exactly clear what led to the invasion and sporadic gunshots as residents of the area ran in different directions and into the bushes to avoid being hit by bullets.
Recounting the incident to newsmen, the Paramount Ruler of Taabaa, M.S.K. Nule said efforts by the community to have a police checkpoint near the area has been unsuccessful, saying, “”This morning (Wednesday), some cult boys invaded Taabaa through our neighbouring community called Luekum. They entered into the community at about 6am. They moved straight to my palace and burnt down the entire place. And some ancestral properties of the palace were removed by the hoodlums before they set the buildings ablaze.
“They moved from my palace into the community, where they killed five people, four indigenes of the community and one outsider (stranger) who ran away from Kpor for refuge in Taabaa. They burnt people’s cars; my elder brother’s was also burnt.
“When those people came into the community, we ran and reported to the policemen at a police checkpoint in Taabaa along East-West Road. They were over 20 policemen at that checkpoint, with three Hilux vehicles and their private cars as at the time of the attack.
“They (policemen) told us that their duty is to protect the East-West Road and not the community; that we should call the Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura. The whole people in the community were there begging them but they insisted that it is not their duty to protect the community, except directed by the CP,” Nule narrated tearfully.
Nule revealed that he had written a petition to the State Police Command when he got wind of a planned attack on his community, saying, “While the operation was going on, I also called the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Nnamdi Omoni and reported to him.
“There has never been any crisis in the community since 2014 that the community had such experience,” Nule said, just as he called on the state government and security agencies to intervene and return normalcy in the area.
In her account, a resident who did not want her name in print for fear of being identified and attacked said, ”At about 6am this morning (Wednesday), I was preparing to travel to Port Harcourt. As soon as I got to the road, everywhere was dried; nobody was seen on the road and is a busy area. About 15minutes later, somebody came on a bike and asked me to run that the whole village is under siege. They said some militants have entered the community and that they have started killing people.
“I ran back to the house in safety. By the time the gunmen left the community, they have killed about five people, burnt cars and houses. Our Highness’ house was burnt and another building was also burnt. After they left my community, they went to Nyokuru, and we are not sure of the number of persons killed there. They invaded Okwale yesterday (Tuesday) evening and killed some people. They burnt cars and houses in the community, and one person was taken alive”.
A male resident of Taabaa told The Tide that “From 8am to 9am on Wednesday, some group of boys came to our community and started chasing people and shooting. We ran into the bush.”
Meanwhile, the member representing Khana/Gokana Constituency at the House of Representatives, Hon Dumnamene Dekor has promised to support security agencies to ensure that the perpetrators of the attacks were unmasked and made to face the law.
Dekor, who stated this after he visited the affected communities and the hospital where the injured policemen were being treated, said, “I understand in Okwale, there are about five persons killed; four corpses have been recovered; one person was taken alive. In Taabaa, five persons killed, several cars burnt, houses destroyed and it is quite sad.
“While thanking the security operatives for the swift way they acted to prevent loss of more lives and property, I want to call on them to improve on the security, especially in Khana Local Government Area.
“For those who carried out this dastardly act, everything is being done to unmask them and bring them to book,” the federal lawmaker stated.
Commenting on the incident in a statement, MOSOP expressed sadness over what it termed “unjustified attacks”, and called on security agencies to ensure that peace returns in the area.
The statement issued by MOSOP’s Publicity Secretary, Sunny Zorvah reads, “MOSOP receives with sadness reports from some Ogoni communities of the sudden emergence of violence and killings carried out by members of some cult groups in the area.
“Reports say the renewed violence, which took place in Okwale on Tuesday (yesterday), spilled over to Taabaa and Nyokuru communities, all in Nyokhana district in Khana LGA of Rivers State.
“MOSOP is pained over this unjustified attacks leading to the burning down of the house of the MOSOP President, Comrade Legborsi Pyagbara, in Nyokuru community.
“The movement also feels distressed over reports of the killing of about four persons early today (Wednesday) and razing of the palace of His Highness, “Chief Nule (Jnr) in Taabaa community, and yesterday’s killing of scores of persons and attack on the residence of Chief Monday Abueh and others in Okwale community by cult gangs.
“This ugly situation demands urgent and thorough actions by the security agencies and every necessary action required of the government.
“We call on the police and the Special Joint Military Task Force to ensure the return of peace to the troubled communities, go after perpetrators of this barbaric and retrogressive onslaught on the communities, but without hurt on innocent persons.
‘FG Not Committed To Ending Gas Flaring’
The Environmental Rights Activist, Nnimmo Bassey, has stated that the Federal Government lacks the commitment to bringing gas flaring by companies to an end.
Bassey, who is the executive director of Environmental Rights Action, stated that if the government was ready to end gas flaring that it should ensure that companies pay fines for gas flared.
The activist spoke in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, yesterday, at the Youth Climate Incubation Hub, organized for youths of the South-South zone by the Federal Ministry of Environment with support from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Bassey said that the government has not shown enough commitment to ending gas flaring in the nation, noting that the process requires a lot of investment.
He said: “We need to get youths active in the issues of climate change. We need to place Nigeria on a better foothold for the future. We are losing our habitat and our environment. So, we are for restoration of mangrove forests. If we are serious about tackling global warming one of the ways is tree planting.
“The only problem is that the government is not ready. If the Federal Government is committed to make companies pay fine for the gas they flare, the menace will be stopped. We have to take steps to stop global warming and climate change. Gas flaring has been going for over 62 years now and that is the primary thing that needs to be tackled.
“The deadline to end this malady is 2030, some of us feel it is too far. We are feeling that the deadline should be 2020. We should end it next year. It is achievable we should only be ready to invest.”
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