The United States-based Interfaith leaders, after a fact-finding mission to northern Nigeria which has been under sectarian attacks since 2009, has declared Nigeria a ticking time bomb which may soon become the most dangerous place on the planet.
‘Does anyone give a damn about the innocents dying every day in West Africa? If so, it’s time to show it,’ the leaders of the mission, Rabbi Abraham Cooper and Rev. Johnnie Moore, said at an event after their return to US, yesterday.
A source close to the mission confirmed that the Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Rabbi Abraham Cooper; and the President of The Congress of Christian Leaders and a Wiesenthal Centre honouree, Rev. Johnnie Moore; last week, embarked upon a fact-finding mission to northern Nigeria to investigate targeted attacks by Islamist extremists against vulnerable Christian communities and other issues related to the ongoing conflict in West Africa.
Throughout the week, they met with Christian and Muslim religious leaders, representatives of non-governmental organizations, senior government officials, and more than 50 survivors of attacks by Boko Haram, ISWAP, and herdsmen.
Consequently, Cooper and Moore said in a statement after the interface, “You, like us, have no doubt heard of the attacks on communities throughout vulnerable parts of Nigeria.
“You’ve heard of the kidnapping and abuse of young women, the churches that have been burned, the homes that have been razed, and of the million or more children now roaming the streets out-of-school.
“Maybe, last week, you also heard about the second anniversary of the kidnapping of the courageous teenager, Leah Sharibu, or the torching of a bus the week before that or of the grotesque beheading of a noted Christian pastor two weeks before that.
“After our journey there, we want the world to know that you haven’t heard half of it. The terrorists aim to ethnically cleanse northern Nigeria of its Christians and to kill every Muslim who stands in their way.
“If things don’t change immediately, portions of Nigeria and the broader Lake Chad region may soon become the most dangerous place on the planet.
“This portion of Africa will be ground zero for the next generation’s war on terrorism, and the humanitarian cost of letting these problems fester and multiply in the near-term could result in disaster for much of Western Africa.
“Our message to the leaders of Nigeria is that the status quo is unacceptable, and the government must do more to immediately fulfill its fundamental responsibility to protect all of its citizens”, Cooper and Moore added.
Similarly, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has cried out over the killing of Christians in Nigeria.
Kanu called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to take actions against the killing of Christians across Nigeria.
In a series of tweets, yesterday, the IPOB leader stated that the abduction of Leah Sharibu by Boko Haram insurgents and attacks on people of the South-East were examples of killings against Christians.
The IPOB leader urged both the ICC and the United States’ State Department, and international community to stop such atrocities.
He tweeted: “When will the world take action to stop violence against #Christians in Nigeria?
“The OTP of the @IntlCrimCourt’s preliminary examination of crimes against Christians in #Nigeria including #Biafrans must proceed to a formal investigation.
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COVID-19: Ignore Facemask, Risk Arrest, Prosecution, RSG Tells Residents
The Rivers State Government has expressed worries over the high level of non-compliance of health protocols with respect to the Covid-19 pandemic, warning that henceforth any resident caught without wearing facemask will be arrested and prosecuted.
The State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim handed down the warning while speaking on a live Radio programme in Port Harcourt on Saturday and monitored by the Tide.
Nsirim who is Chairman of the State Inter-ministerial Committee on Enlightenment for Covid-19 recalled the unhappiness of Governor Nyesom Wike during last Wednesday’s State broadcast with the attitude of many residents who flaunt extant directives on the wearing of facemask and other health protocols.
“The Governor in that broadcast also expressed concern that a lot of people in the State are not obeying the protocols. Social distancing, wearing of facemask and he spoke specifically in what is happening in some churches. Government will introduce policies, the onus is on the populace to obey those policies.
“Not just obeying it, the Covid-19 pandemic that we are talking about has defied medical solution for now. So to flatten the curve, everyone living and doing business in Rivers State has to take responsibility.
“If I take responsibility and everyone around me takes responsibility to observe the relevant protocol, we are sure to flatten the curve. But if people live righteously and just do as if nothing is happening because there are places where people are just living in denial.
“Some people still believe that there is nothing like Coronavirus. Two weeks ago, my committee rounded off street to street campaign in all the 23 local government areas of the State. They still met people who are in this denial. That is the challenge.
“The Governor is desirous that Rivers State remains safe. That is why he is initiating policies to ensure that strategically the state is somehow isolated from the national spread,” the Commissioner said.
Nsirim further said, “If you go around the State, since the executive order on facemask was introduced. You will notice that less than
30 per cent of the populace are really obeying that executive order. What we are seeing in the State is that people just put the mask around their chin.
“You go to some churches we see people open their mouth and things will be spewing out in the enclosed environment on the chin. The Governor is saying that to give this wearing of facemask the kind of weight that it deserves to save our people, a special taskforce be put in place.
“That is the only sure way because a lot of people are still living in denial. He said the governor’s broadcast is very clear, arrest and prosecute. Henceforth we will arrest and prosecute people not wearing facemask in public places,” he stated.
The Rivers State Government spokesman said arrangements have been concluded to monitor churches that fail to observe the guidelines of not more than 70 persons per church service, wearing of facemask, provision of water for hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers, while weddings and burial ceremonies should not exceed 50 persons.
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