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Going Too Far…

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In his first broadcast to Nigerians after his longest stay away from the country on medical vacation during his first tenure, President Muhammadu Buhari used this expression “going too far…” The issue was that during his absence there were some agitations to rekindle Biafra, restructuring, etc. So, it became necessary to warn such agitators that they were going too far. Nigerians had expected in vain to hear their President say something about his prolonged health vacation and other matters relating to it, but something else was more important.
Perhaps, some well-meaning Nigerians may not be going too far in drawing the attention of the Federal Government to certain issues that should be of concern to a responsible leadership. Two of such issues were raised in The Tide newspaper, Wednesday, January 8, 2020, namely: “Nigeria Now Fulani Republic” (Page 6) and “You Are Fanning Embers of Civil War, Kuka Tells FG” (Page 7).
Alaigbo Development Forum (ADF) condemned the recent Federal Government’s Visa Free Policy for Africans. Chairman, Central Planning Committee of ADF, Dr. Onyi Gbiyie, called for thorough examination of an alleged January 13, 2018 call by National Movement of Fulani in Nigeria, “for all Fulani in Africa to prepare, get armed and come over to Nigeria for an immediate and inevitable Jihad 9war) ,“ Has this a connection with the Visa Free Policy for Africans?
The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev. Matthew Hassan Kuka, was quoted as saying that “The Federal Government is using different methods to achieve the same goal of Islamic dominance…” He went on to say: “if the people in power don’t do enough to integrate Christians, then they give oxygen to Islamism. If they have countries where everybody in power is Muslim, then you give vent to the idea that Islam should be supreme.”
In the Guardian newspaper of August 27, 2009, one Edwin Madunagwu wrote as follows: “if the ruling classes and blocks continue to behave as if Nigeria is their property and Nigerians are their slaves – to exploit as they wish – and if popular – democratic and Pan-Nigerian forces cannot remove them from power, then a fate worse than disintegration will befall us.”
It is a historical fact that religion is often co-opted and used as an instrument of power hustling and influence peddling. Those who pursue such strategy for political purpose rarely go too far before they encounter bitter challenges. Neither can a peaceful and stable polity come about through subterfuge.
It does not require the crafting of a bill on hate speech to reposition Nigeria or get maximum support of Nigerians. Neither should the settlement of the Fulanis in diaspora take some clever forms that would create some animosity in the country. Those pursuing such projects by subtle means would not go too far before they would encounter oppositions.
Why was it considered expedient to disburse the sum of N100 billion to the Miyetti Allah group by the Federal Government, when Ruga project could not fly? Similarly, why was IPOB considered so dangerous to warrant declaring it a terrorist organisation, while repentant Boko Haram terrorists are being re-cycled into the Nigerian armed forces?
Did the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) go too far by asking “how many Christians are heading any of the security agencies in the country”? Or did a former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, go too far when he raised an alarm about possible moves to Islamise and Fulanise Nigeria? Surely, a man in that position must have some reliable intelligence reports to be able to make such a weighty allegation.
If there is anything going too far in Nigeria, it is the joke in some quarters that Nigerians have become so gullible, malleable and docile that they can be recolonised. It is true that the military laid the foundation during several years of intervention in politics, but it would be false to assume that a state of docility can remain so indefinitely. One may not be going too far to ask if the nation’s armed forces are truly neutral, nationalistic and democratic in temperament! Also include the security apparatus.
To go too far is to do things in excess and cross the line of decency with impunity. Political chicaneries and religious zealotry can be taken too far when compulsion rather than conviction becomes a means of winning the minds of people.
Even the Holy Quran stresses this issue of a free volition, saying: “Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from error. Whoever rejects evil and believes in God hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks.”
The origin of the “Arab Spring” began with the use of compulsion and intimidation to win popular acceptance. It was a proof of the truth that taking the docility of the masses too far and the use of the instrument of intimidation, can be counter- productive. There come a time when the merchants of power can run short of ideas and when prevailing tools of coercion can no longer perform magic. It is usually then that the deficiencies and hidden agenda of power holders can come to light. Things would fall apart!
The issue of one group taking an undue advantage of another group considered as weak, docile or conquered, can create instability in society. Be it in economic, political, religious or a combination of many forms, domination is a factor that raises tension. It is quite worrisome that the issue of resource control in Nigeria is not being seen as the basis of social justice. The use of “gun-boat diplomacy” of which the Ken Saro-Wiwa saga is a reminder, would not always be a winning streak.
A highly placed elder statesman said that the treatment given to Niger Delta people should not be taken too far. Those who lead others should go far enough to feel the pulse of the mases.
B. Nmirize

 

Bright Amirize

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Wike Lifts Curfew On Parts Of Port Harcourt …Lifts Suspension Of Obio/Akpor LG Chairman, Deputy …As RSG Moves To Implement Palliatives

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has lifted the curfew imposed on Education Bus Stop to Agip Junction along Ikwerre Road, and Obiri-Ikwerre Junction to Ozuoba, Rumualogu and Choba, effective, today.
Wike also lifted the suspension of the chairman and deputy chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area.
He announced these decisions during a state broadcast, yesterday.
Wike said: “With effect from tomorrow, April 3, 2020, the 24 hours curfew imposed from Education Bus Stop to Agip Junction along Ikwerre Road and Obiri-Ikwerre Junction to Ozuoba, Rumualogu and Choba has been lifted.
“All borders and markets in the state remain closed.
“Following the interventions of some well-meaning citizens of the state, the suspension of the chairman and deputy chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area has been lifted.
“However, this should serve as a warning to local government chairmen and traditional rulers who will allow markets to be open in their areas.
“Residents of Mgbuosimini-Rumueme in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area are hereby warned to desist from flouting government directive on closure of markets or be prepared to face unpleasant consequences.
“Commercial vehicle operators will soon get appropriate directives on their operations in order to maintain social distancing”, the governor said.
Wike explained that his administration was working out palliative measures to cushion the effects of the sit-at-home directive.
He said: “Implementation of palliatives to cushion the effects of recent directives on the citizens will soon take effect.
“International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the state should support government by donating towards the containment of the virus”, he appealed.
The governor thanked Rivers people for their cooperation, saying, “My Dear Good People of Rivers State, let me sincerely thank all of you for your patience and understanding all these days.
“The sacrifices we are all making have greatly helped us not to record any positive case since the index case was reported.
“As we continue to put in our best as human beings, we expect that the Almighty God will intervene on our behalf and wipe away this plague from our midst.
“May I, therefore, urge you all to continue to seek the face of God as we earnestly await His divine intervention,” he added.

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US, UK Diaspora Groups Hail Wike’s Measures Against COVID-19 Spread

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Two Rivers groups based in the United States of America, Ikwerre Peoples Forum, and Rivers Development Forum, have commended the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike for taking proactive measures to check the spread of Coronavirus in the state.
In separate press statements, yesterday, the two groups expressed satisfaction that the governor was committed to the protection of Rivers people through actions that have stopped the explosion of Coronavirus in the state.
The Chairman of Ikwerre Peoples Forum, USA, Mr Michael Ewule, said that after Lagos State, Rivers State was the next major hub in the country that can be accessed through air, land and sea.
He said that the determined efforts of Wike saved the state from the uncontrolled spread of Coronavirus in the state.
The forum stated that: “We have watched closely what is happening all around Nigeria, and we are happy that our Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has worked hard to prevent Coronavirus from spreading.
“We support the measures that have been taken by Governor Nyesom Wike to stop Coronavirus from killing our people. Worldwide, such measures have been taken by governments to stop Coronavirus”, the forum noted.
The group urged the Rivers State Government to continue to review the measures in line with new developments.
The forum stated that it was working with non-governmental organisations and faith-based groups in Rivers State to reach out to Rivers people with donations of hand sanitizers and face masks.
The group also commended Governor Nyesom Wike for setting up a world-class treatment centre, which was handling the index case in the state.
The IPF further lauded the Rivers State governor for mobilising health professionals, facilities and drugs to tackle the disease.
Similarly, the Chairman of Rivers Development Forum, USA, Piegbara Baridoma, said the union was happy with Governor Nyesom Wike for working for the people at this tough time.
He called on Rivers people to support the governor to keep the state healthy through the right measures.
Baridoma noted that the sensitization process by the Rivers State Government since the index case of Coronavirus in Nigeria was reported has helped to create awareness of the disease in the state.
He explained that because the people are aware, it would be easier for health professionals in the state to contain the disease.
Meanwhile, Rivers United Front, a Coalition of Rivers State Indigenes based in the United Kingdom has commended Governor Nyesom Wike for displaying pragmatic leadership in the fight against coronavirus.
In a statement issued by the President and the Secretary of the Group, Dr.Tubotamuno Mpaka and Mr. Kingsley Chimzi respectively, they stated that the proactive approach employed by the Governor has helped to contain the virus.

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Lockdown: Open Food Reserve Centres Now, PDP Tells Buhari

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Federal lawmakers from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the House of Representatives have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately unlock the national food reserve agency and distribute items to Nigerians across the 774 local government areas.
This, they said, will curb the spate of hunger in the land amid the lockdown order to halt the spread of Coronavirus pandemic in the country.
In a statement issued by the parliamentarians under the umbrella name, “PDP House of Reps Caucus”, yesterday, signed by their leader, Hon. Kingsley Chinda (Rivers State, PDP) and made available to newsmen in Abuja, the members said that available records indicated that compliance to total lockdown has not always been 100 per cent successful if the food question was not addressed.
While commending Buhari for the directive during his state broadcast last Sunday, the caucus, in the statement titled, “COVID-19 Pandemic: A Call for Further and Decentralized Action”, also asked the National Assembly to immediately enact a law for national food prices control.
The caucus said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly taken our country on the emergency course, unexpected and unanticipated at the beginning of the year that strategic legal, policy and legislative responses have dovetailed into measures directed at curtailing or halting the pandemic.
“As members of the PDP Caucus of the House of Representatives, we have consistently called, and we still continue to call, for measured responses that take the poor economic conditions of Nigerians, the rights of citizens, the scaling up of the medicare framework, into account in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While many governors have stepped away from what Prof Wole Soyinka rightly described this week as an attempt to halt the spread of the pandemic virus by constitutional piracy, we note that the absence of a structured federal response, based on the dictates of the law, may have led them to ramp up measures outside the remit of their constitutional powers.
“The rule of law has now prevailed, and it is in this light we welcome some of the measures outlined in the President’s belated broadcast and in the Regulation (COVID-19 Regulation 2020) made pursuant to Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Quarantine Act; though the presidential broadcast and Regulation took a long time coming. Well, better late than never. While we find the measures largely satisfying, it is our considered view that the palliative measures outlined in the presidential broadcast and regulation are not far-reaching enough, while some are completely inapplicable.
“Experiences through history have shown that citizens’ rights to movement are often heavily implicated when measures directed at halting the spread of contagious diseases and restoring public safety do not address the food question behind the curtains, worsening food security conditions.
“During the Ebola outbreak a few years ago, citizens of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone openly defied the restrictions that were imposed on movement to limit the transmission of the disease, after staying indoors for a few days in hunger. We must learn quickly from these experiences by ensuring that immediate measures on food security are ramped up.
“One way of doing this is to open up our national food and grain reserves across the country and distribute food to the poorest of the poor in our country at the Local government level. The President should as a matter of utmost urgency issue an Executive Order, pursuant to his powers preserved by Section 5 of the Constitution 1999, directing the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, National Food Reserve Agency and National Emergency Management Authority to release and manage the distribution of food in our national reserves.
“The Executive Order must set out clear consequences for breach, particularly as they relate to public officials who seize on the times to make brisk businesses and gains from the miseries of the people.
“Other measures such as food prices control should be ramped up; though specific, targeted and temporary legislation on food prices control will be needed for enforcement. This is where the National Assembly comes in – by establishing a framework of teleconferencing and social media communication, where the current lockdown and the medical advisories that bar public gatherings make it impossible for the reconvening of the National Assembly, to deliberate and pass such bills, as the Food Prices Control, COVID-19 Containment, Emergency and Disaster Management, into law.”
Also commending the Speaker of the House, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila and the House for the timely passage of an emergency bill to provide palliatives and the donation of members’ of March and April, 2020 salaries to fight the disease, the opposition lawmakers, however, asked that their deductions be transferred directly to their constituencies, saying they had no confidence in the sharing formula of the government.

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