The Coalition of Northern Youth Groups (CNYGs) has said that the recent allegations that the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike ordered the demolition of a mosque in Port Harcourt were “falsehood” orchestrated by politicians to “fan the furnace of ethnic, religious or regional division just for self-serving and fiendish gains”.
In a statement made available to journalists in Kaduna, yesterday, National Convener of the group, Mohammed Sanni, said from available statistics, the Rivers State governor was more tolerant of other religions than most of those accusing him of intolerance.
According to him, “The Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, is a very good friend of the North and a brother to the Muslim community,” adding that it is mischievous for anybody to run to alter the narrative.
He said when news of the demolition of the mosque in Port Harcourt broke, it carried out investigations and found out that the structure being labelled as a mosque was a personal building of an individual who did not obtain necessary permits for his structure.
“The recent wild rumour of an alleged demolition of a mosque located at Trans Amadi, Rivers State, is not only false and misleading but intended to draw religious ire, stir political tension and widen the chasm of national division, which rather requires healing and bonding at this point in time.
“It should be noted that we immediately swung into action on hearing the disturbing news and have conducted an on the spot visit to the said location and our findings are very contrary to the falsehood being peddled.
“A diligent assessment of the location showed that even though structures were demolished around that area, none of such structures was or is a mosque building.
“On further interaction with residents and the Muslim community in the area, we gathered that the said location being labelled as a mosque building belongs to an individual who was building his personal structure without government approval.
“The said fellow had gone ahead to erect a foundation on the site ostensibly to wade off government action, he thereafter proceeded to unilaterally label the location as a mosque.
“Further findings led us to the clear revelation that the matter has been properly addressed by the relevant courts and the government was acting within the precincts of the law.
“Judging from this, rationality should only dictate that if the property owner has/had any issue of contention, the courts were and are still open to address his grievances rather than resorting to inflaming the polity with tense religious passions.
“Available statistics on religious tolerance clearly shows that the executive governor of river state is far ahead of others and as such his name and person should not be a drag to such issue all in the name of painting him black before our northern brothers and sisters.
“His policies are friendly and his administration operates an open door policy irrespective of your region and religion. And what else did u expect from a nationalist like him? We are aware of the plot against him and we shall enlighten our fellow youths from the northern part of the country against such plot!
“We have also seen the gusto with which political horse traders and religious alarmists have taken the matter and have therefore deemed it of prime importance to address our youth throughout the North and also that resident in Port Harcourt to remain calm and maintain the peace as we are still in wide consultations. It should not be lost on everyone that the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, is a very good friend of the North and a brother to the Muslim community.
“Records show that he has always maintained a very cordial relationship with the Muslim community in Rivers State. It is, therefore, nothing but high pitched mischief for anyone to go about town with the anti-Muslim narrative.
“Finally, we wish to assure our brothers from the South that they can and should go about their businesses within the Northern states peacefully and confidently as we have commenced a series of proper sensitization of our youth,” he said.
However, against the backdrop of the unwarranted attacks against the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike over the non-existent mosque at Rainbow Town, Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, the member representing Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency, Rt. Hon. Dumnamene Dekor has frowned against the unsavoury comments of those he described as political desperadoes with no other aim than to incite the Muslim community against the state governor.
Dekor, a one-time commissioner for works in Rivers State, dismissed as false and misleading the claims that a mosque existed on the land.
According to him, there has never been any mosque situated or located on the said land.
The lawmaker, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt, last Monday, wondered why these critics would continue to mouth over a matter which predated Governor Wike, having been resolved by a subsisting court judgment in Suit Number PHC/986/2012 between Registered Trustees of Trans Amadi Mosque, Port Harcourt (claimant) versus the commissioner, Ministry of Urban Development and Physical Planning, Rivers State, the governor of Rivers State and the attorney general of Rivers State (defendants).
Dekor affirmed that the court in that judgment ruled that the claimants had no approval to build on the disputed land.
He recalled that these anti-Wike propagandists had in all their commentaries affirmed that under former Governor Rotimi Amaechi, the said ‘mosque’ had suffered two demolitions.
“To every rational thinker, one again wonders why there was no hue and cry against Amaechi. Why all these noise against Wike? It clearly shows that there is more to all these than meets the eye”, he said.
The House of Representatives member, who was a one-time deputy speaker in the Rivers State House of Assembly, noted that this mosque demolition drama that was playing out in the state could be likened to the biblical story of two women who appeared before Solomon contending for the ownership of a baby, adding that while the culprit ascribed to the suggestion of cutting the baby into two equal part, the mother of the baby declined, reasoning that when the baby grows up, it would know its mother.
“These enemies of the state are fanning the embers of hate against Governor Wike, rooting to burn down the state just because they no longer have any stake in Rivers State for the simple reason that they have long been rejected by the people”, he stated.
2023: PDP Govs Task NASS On New Electoral Law
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) Governors Forum has tasked the National Assembly to immediately set up a conference committee to harmonize the two versions of the Electoral Act Amendment passed recently by the two chambers.
In a statement, yesterday, the Chairman of the forum and Sokoto State Governor, Hon Aminu Tambuwal, said any delay in the passing and assenting of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill will hamper preparations for the conduct of the 2023 polls.
The forum also charged the National Assembly to adopt the version of the bill passed by the House of Representatives, as it gives the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the latitude to adopt electronic transmission of election results.
“The PDP Governors’ Forum requests the Senate and House of Representatives (House) Conference Committee when set up, to adopt the House version of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill on the issue of electronic transmission.
“It should be noted that Section 52(2) of the House version says, ‘Voting at an election and transmission of result under this Bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the commission,’ and Section 52 (2) of the Senate version provides, ‘The commission may consider electronic transmission of results provided that the national coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) and approved by the National Assembly.
“The Senate version which subjects the decision of INEC to deploy electronic transmission to the decision of the Nigerian Communications Commission and National Assembly is manifestly a usurpation of the powers of INEC and offends relevant provisions of the Nigerian Constitution that guarantees INEC’s autonomy and independence,” the opposition governors.
According to them, INEC has demonstrated capacity to transmit votes electronically with the introduction and deployment of the Biomodel Voters Accreditation System (BVAs), used in the recent bye-election in Delta State.
The PDP governors further charged the National Assembly conference committee on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, to jettison the position of the House to compel all political parties to adopt one method of conducting primary elections.
“The forum is of the view that political parties should be allowed discretion to adopt either direct or indirect primaries in their Constitutions and in practice.
“The Senate version that retains the original provision in the Electoral Act should be adopted in the interest of the growth of our political parties and freedom of choice, the hallmark of a functional democracy.
“This intervention of the PDP governors is predicted on the need to ensure a free, fair and credible election, that strengthens Nigeria’s democracy, constitutionalism and rule of law. Only a credible election will guarantee accountability and good governance which Nigeria so desperately needs today,” the governors stated.
Cholera: NCDC Records 46 New Deaths In One Week
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says 46 new deaths linked to suspected cholera cases were recorded in the country in the past one week.
The NCDC said this via its officially verified website, yesterday morning, stating that the situation report was published based on data sent in by the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, for the respective reporting week.
It stated that eight states accounted for the new cholera fatalities.
The public health agency, in its epidemiological report for August 30 to September 5, said a total of 2,323 people had so far died as a result of suspected cholera infections in 25 states and the federal capital territory (FCT), since the beginning of 2021.
It stated that 1,677 cholera infections were recorded in 12 states within the period of one-week, bringing the total suspected cases to 69,925 as at September 5.
“In the reporting week, 12 states reported 1,677 suspected cases – Bauchi (566), Katsina (282), Sokoto (258), Yobe (183), Borno (179), Niger (94), Kaduna (66), Adamawa (34), Gombe (8), Kano (4), Kebbi (2), and Nasarawa (1),” the report said.
“There was a 58% decrease in the number of new suspected cases in week 35 (1,667) compared with week 34 (3,992).
“Of the cases reported, there were 46 deaths from Borno (13), Sokoto (12), Katsina (8), Bauchi (6), Niger (3), Kaduna (2), Adamawa (1) and Kano (1) states with a weekly case fatality ratio (CFR) of 2.7%.
“Twenty-five states and the FCT have reported suspected cholera cases in 2021. These are Adamawa, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ekiti, Enugu, FCT, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Osun, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, and Zamfara.
“As at September 5, 2021, a total of 69,925 suspected cases, including 2,323 deaths (CFR 3.3%) have been reported from 25 states and FCT in 2021.
“Two new states (Osun and Ekiti) reported cases, though with dates of onset in weeks prior to week 35,” it explained.
The NCDC added that the national multi-sectoral EOC activated at level 02 continued to coordinate the national response.
Cholera is a waterborne disease with a high risk of transmission where there are poor sanitation and disruption of clean water supply.
The wrong disposal of refuse and practices, such as open defecation, endanger the safety of water used for drinking and for personal use, thereby leading to the spread of water-borne diseases such as cholera, and without proper WASH, Nigeria remained at risk of cholera cases and deaths.
Buhari Seeks Senate’s Approval For $4bn, €710m External Loan
President Muhammadu Buhari, has asked the Senate to approve a fresh loan of $4,054,476, 863.00, €710million, and a grant of $125million to finance critical projects in the 2021 budget.
Buhari’s request was contained in his letter read by Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, at plenary following the resumption of the upper chamber from its two-month annual vacation, yesterday.
According to the President, the request is an addendum to the proposed 2018–2021 Federal Government External Borrowing Rolling Plan earlier approved by the National Assembly.
He said that the projects listed in the addendum to the 2018–2021 Federal Government External Borrowing Rolling Plan are to be financed through sovereign loans from the World Bank, French Development Agency, China Exim Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Credit Suisse Group, among others.
“In view of other emerging needs and to ensure that all critical projects approved by FEC as at June, 2021 are incorporated, I hereby forward an addendum to the proposed borrowing plan,” Buhari said.
The letter titled, ‘Addendum to the request for Senate’s concurrent approval of multilateral fund projects under the 2018-2021 Federal Government external borrowing (rolling) plan’ reads, “I write in respect of the above subject and to submit the attached addendum to the proposed 2018-2021 Federal Government external borrowing (rolling) plan for the consideration and concurrent approval of the Senate for same to become effective.
“The distinguishing Senate President may wish to recall that I earlier transmitted a request on the proposed 2018-2020 Federal Government External Borrowing Plan for the concurrent approval of the Senate in May, 2021.
“However, in view of other emerging needs and to ensure that all critical projects approved by FEC as at June, 2021 are incorporated. I hereby forward an addendum to the proposed borrowing plan.
“The projects listed in the addendum to the 2018-2021 Federal Government External Borrowing Rolling Plan are to be financed through sovereign loans from the World Bank, French Development Agency, China Exim Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Credit Suisse Group and Standard Chartered/China Export and Credit (SINOSURE), in the total sum of $4,054,476,863.00, plus €710million, and grant component of $125million.
“The Senate is kindly invited to note that the projects and programmes in the borrowing plan were selected based on positive, technical and economic evaluations and the contribution they would make to the socio-economic development of the country, including employment generation and poverty reduction as well as protection of the most vulnerable and very poor segments of the Nigerian society
“The Senate may also wish to note that all the listed projects in the addendum form part of the 2018-2021 External Borrowing Plan and covered both the Federal and States Government Projects and are geared towards the realization of the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan that cut across key sectors such as infrastructure, health, agriculture and food security, energy, education and human capital development and Covid-19 response efforts.
“I hereby wish to request for the kind consideration and concurrent approval of the Senate for projects listed in the addendum to the 2018-2021 Federal Government External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan to enable the projects become effective.”
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