Following the xenophobic attacks against some Nigerian traders in Accra, the Federal Government has asked the Ghanaian government to protect Nigerians residing in Ghana.
The Chief Executive Officer, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa made the demand during a visit to the High Commissioner of Ghana to Nigeria, Rasheed Bawa, at the Ghanaian High Commission in Abuja, yesterday.
She expressed concerns over the attacks on the businesses of Nigerians in Accra by some disgruntled Ghanaians who were protesting the alleged involvement of some Nigerians in the abduction of two Canadians and other criminal activities.
The Presidential aide accused the unknown Ghanaians of attacking and destroying shops belonging to Nigerians, stressing that the relationship between Nigeria and Ghana should not be allowed to deteriorate.
She demanded assurances from the Ghanaian government on the safety of Nigerians living in the country, insisting that their investments should also be protected.
Dabiri-Erewa said: “We have come to demand the protection of Nigerians in Ghana and to ensure that the xenophobic attacks against them don’t re-occur. The whole nation should not be maligned and attacked for the crimes of a few. We want assurances that the attacks on Nigerians and their businesses will not occur again.”
Bawa in his response, assured that everything necessary was being done to protect Nigerians in his country, adding that President Nana Akufo-Addo had ordered the deployment of policemen and soldiers to protect Nigerians.
He also explained that three Ghanaian youths had been arrested for alleged involvement in the attacks on Nigerians, adding that the relationship between Nigeria and Ghana would not be allowed to suffer.
The envoy attributed the attacks to the security challenges facing the country which he said manifested in a series of abductions carried out by some Nigerians and their Ghanaian accomplices.
Bawa stated: “What happened three days ago was shocking. Some Ghanaians took laws into their hands and locked up the shops of some Nigerians, but nothing was vandalised and the President has directed an investigation. The President would not allow the relationship between Ghana and Nigeria to be destroyed. He was in Abuja during the Sallah to celebrate with President Muhammadu Buhari.”
Meanwhile, Ghana’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Rashid Bawa, yesterday urged Nigerians doing business in his home country to carry on their trade without fear of molestation from any quarter.
Bawa gave the advice at the High Commission in Abuja during a meeting with a delegation from the Nigerian Diaspora Commission led by the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Abike Dabiri-Erewa.
The envoy’s advice is coming against the backdrop of an attack on Nigerian spare part dealers by their Ghanaian counterparts in the Suame Magazine Industrial Enclave in Kumasi.
This follows the closure of shops operated by Nigerians after indigenous Ghanaian spare parts dealers in the area protested against the continuous operation of foreigners in the retail trade.
About 50 shops belonging to Nigerian spare parts dealers were locked up by agitated Ghanaians, who said they would not sit down and watch while foreigners flout the laws governing retail marketing in their country.
The envoy said that President Nana Akufo-Addo had directed security agencies to be on top of the situation and had urged Nigerians to resume their trade without any fear.
The high commissioner, who described the attack on the Nigerian spare parts dealers as very unfortunate, said that the attacks occurred because some young Ghanaians took laws into their hands.
He, however, said some people suspected to have been involved in the incident had been arrested.
He further said that the matter had been brought under control and that security agencies are working hard to ensure that the issue did not get worse.
The high commissioner explained that Ghana had been having security challenges in the past six months, citing alleged kidnapping.
“When a crime is committed between individuals, it is not between nations. So this should not be allowed to create anxiety between Nigeria and Ghana,” he said.
He appealed to the media not to destroy the relationship between both through provocative reportage of happenings.
Speaking earlier, Dabiri-Erewa had told the high commissioner that Ghanaians were living and working in Nigeria as well.
She, therefore, expressed the hope that the high commissioner would assure Nigerians in that country of the safety of their lives and property.
“We need assurance on the protection of Nigerians. We have Ghanians living in Nigeria and we treat them as brothers and sisters,’’ she said.
She told the envoy that the Nigerian government would like to be informed of any Nigerian who committed crime in Ghane.
“We should know, who they are; we should know, who those people are that are giving the country a bad name. Nigerians should not just be criminalised,’’ she said.
She also urged the media not to sensationalise the situation. Dabiri-Erewa also led a delegation from the commission to another meeting with Lene Dimban, the Togolese Ambassador to Nigeria.
In the course of the meeting, she asked for assurances of the safety of Nigerians living in Togo.
Responding, the ambassador assured the delegation that Togolese authorities would ensure that the incident that happened in Ghana did not occur in Togo.
Shell Donates Subsea Training Facilities To UNIPORT
The Nigeria deep-water arm of global energy giant, Shell, has donated multimillion naira laboratory equipment and software packages to the Offshore Technology Institute of the University of Port Harcourt as part of the company’s Nigerian content human capital development programme delivered in collaboration with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Speaking at a ceremony to hand over the facilities to the university, last Thursday, Managing Director, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo), Mrs. Elohor Aiboni, said, “The donations are aimed at strengthening advanced practical teaching and research in subsea engineering to give the students the required skills and competences for entry level jobs in the oil and gas industry”.
The facilities, valued at over $700,000, are in alignment with the Human Capacity Development Guideline of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
Aiboni, represented by SNEPCo’s Social Investment Manager, Dr. Gloria Udoh, expressed optimism that with the level of investment by NNPC and SNEPCo in deep-water training via the establishment centres of excellence and donation of cutting-edge information and communication technology centres, among others, Nigerian oil and gas industry would surpass its local content aspiration earlier than projected.
“This investment anchored on the maintenance of subsea infrastructure on Nigeria’s pioneer deep offshore field, Bonga, is expected to develop and upskill the cognitive and technical abilities of students who pass through the Offshore Technology Institute for the ultimate benefit of our industry and of our country,” Aiboni added.
With the new laboratory and software packages, according to Aiboni, the Offshore Technology Institute is positioned to deliver effective training in engineering design; construction and installation of offshore and subsea structures; computer simulations; civil and construction tests; 3D printing/engravement capability; Measurement/Metering Technology and Robotics; Alternative Energy Technologies; and Data Acquisition Learning System.
In his remarks, Vice Chancellor, University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Onwunari Georgewill, commended NNPC and SNEPCo with its co-venture partners for their goodwill to the university and particularly to OTI, and canvassed more areas of collaboration between the university and its industry partners.
Georgewell said, “This project’s completion is timely because it latches on to the university’s leadership philosophy, which focuses on advancing education through an integrated learning environment to produce industry-ready university graduates and workforce.
“The current administration of the university places a lot of emphasis on university and industry collaboration and partnership. This donation will therefore enhance the achievement of the postgraduate degree-awarding Offshore Technological Institute in the practical context.”
Also speaking, Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr. Simbi Wabote, described the human capital initiatives of SNEPCo as commendable.
Wabote added, “I commend your remarkable and consistent collaboration and partnership with the NCDMB towards the development of in-country capacities and capabilities.”
Represented by NCDMB General Manager, Corporate Service and Logistics, Mr Halilu Abdulmalik, Wabote said, “Your Nigerian content initiatives are consistent with the objectives and aspirations of NCDMB’s 10-year strategic roadmap, and we hope that necessary adjustments will be made to the curriculum to ensure optimal utilization by students in the university community.”
Obasanjo, Osinbajo, Wike, Others Bag CAN Awards
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Senator Rochas Okorocha, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, Emeritus Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and Mummy Esther Ajayi, were among prominent Nigerians who received awards at the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Sapphire awards in Abuja, last weekend.
Others, including Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie, and Chief Arthur Eze, also received awards at the event; while the kidnapped Dapchi school, Leah Sharibu, won in the Young Christian Achiever award category.
Former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, and Goodluck Jonathan, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustafa, and some Christian governors, serving and past National Assembly members bagged awards.
The awards were part of activities for CAN’s 45th Anniversary Sapphire Celebration Dinner and Award Night.
Earlier in his welcome address, CAN National President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, had said that the gathering was to celebrate 45 years of the church in Nigeria.
He said that Governance Category awards were for Christians in politics who had shown excellent and remarkable services.
“These include past presidents, serving governors and senators in our assessment that deserve such award.
“An award ceremony is applause of vision, personal discipline and determination; it is an event like this that makes people feel that their works are valued.
“The award is a catalyst that is expected to reinforce the awardees to serve humanity more and more,’’ he said.
The CAN president said it was heart breaking that majority of those in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps were Christians who were displaced by religious fanatics, bandits and gunmen in their territories.
He solicited the awardees’ financial support in fulfilling some of CAN’s obligations to fellow Christians and bringing to fruition the association’s projects.
Obasanjo, who was represented by the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, was the special guest of honour at the awards.
Obasanjo said that the award was significant in that it would encourage other citizens to serve humanity, adding “I will continue to do the best I can to uphold the principles of justice, love, equity, mutual respect, industry and the fear of God which epitomise the church of Christ until there’s no breath left in me.”
While showing appreciation to CAN on behalf of all the award recipients, VP Osinbajo said Nigerians needed to be more tolerant of other people’s views.
The vice president dedicated the award to those who, daily in different locations, distant and near, propagated the message of the love and reconciliation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, sometimes in difficult and life-threatening situations.
He said that the awardees were not necessarily the most deserving of Christians to be given any recognition but by the special grace of God which placed them in the high capacity they served.
He said, “As we have seen in the past few years, there’s a growing ethnic and religious chauvinism, and almost intemperate, vehement and violent dismissal of the views of people of other persuasions and faith without adequate consideration.
“At the same time, there is also the rise of cultural and identity politics. The answer to hate and intolerance and conflicts is the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must believe enough in it, to live it out as our article of faith.
“The gospel commands consideration of the views of others, treating them we would wish to be treated. Our words must be of grace, seasoned with salt.
“We must remain constant and relentless advocates of freedom of worship, respect for human rights, fairness, justice, rule of law because they are fundamental to peace and security. We cannot talk of peace and security without fairness and justice, and compliance with the rule of law.
“We are in the advantageous position that our contribution will be more easily noticed.
“So, this award is dedicated to the men who, daily in different locations, distant and near propagate this message of the love and reconciliation of the gospel of Jesus Christ in sometimes even difficult and life-threatening situations.
“And to many who have suffered deprivations, the families of those who have lost their lives by reason of their belief.
“And we are deeply grateful to the Almighty God for the opportunity and enablement to serve in the positions to which we have been referred.
“I bring, also, the very warm felicitations of the President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government of Nigeria on the 45th anniversary of the birth of this foremost association of Nigerian Christians.
“CAN was formed to, among other objectives, nurture the unity of the church in Nigeria and to work with the leaders of other faith and persuasions to build bridges and forge understanding, peace and unity among the various people and faith in our nation.
“CAN has not only been continually faithful to its founding vision, it has become a veritable force for peace, for unity and for social justice.
“Pursuant to the gospel, CAN has consistently spoken up on behalf of the least of those in our society,’’ he said.
He said that the current and past leaderships of CAN had acted in full realiasation and recognition of their roles as pivotal stakeholders alongside the government and private sector in nation building.
Earlier, Senator Rochas Okorocha, who noted the dire financial condition of the umbrella Christian organisation in the country, advised clerics to tone down their criticism of those in authority.
He said, “I just want to caution some Christian pastors concerning the way we use our pulpit and the kind of fire of insults and abuses that comes from there. When you abuse those who will give you money where will you get the money.
“The Bible says to pray for those in authority. You need to draw your leaders close. When you draw us closer and tell us what your problems are, it will energise us to help. Money will flow more than you need.”
Also, Imam Abubakar Abdullahi, who sheltered no fewer than 200 Christians in Barkin Ladi, Plateau, during an attack, was presented with the Special Recognition award.
The late Obadiah Mailafia, former CBN Deputy Governor, was given a post-humous award of Spokesperson for Oppressed alongside Matthew Kukah, Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Sokoto and Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana.
Awards were also given to best candidates in the 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination and Senior School Certificate Examination.
Highlight of the event was the cutting of the anniversary cake.
Bandits Free 10 More Kaduna Baptist Students, Keep 11
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), yesterday, confirmed that 10 more students of Bethel Baptist School in Kaduna State have been released.
The Vice President of CAN (19 Northern States and Abuja) and its Chairman in Kaduna State, Rev. Joseph John Hayab, said this in a short WhatsApp message to newsmen.
He said, “Ten more students of Baptist High School were released this afternoon. We have 11 now with bandits.
“We are thanking all Nigerians for their prayers and support.
“We are trusting God that the rest will be released very soon. All have been reunited with their parents.”
Earlier, 10 students of Bethel Baptist School in Kaduna were released on Saturday, September 18, after spending 74 days captivity of terrorists, with 22 others still being held.
Hayab had said, “10 students were released this (Saturday) evening and have reunited with their parents. We are now hoping for the remaining 21 who are still with the bandits.”
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