The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, admitted that Nigeria could be heading for a national break up, if urgent action is not taken, collectively, to mend/address the identified cracks that could fasten the unfortunate break up.
Osinbajo said that, though, the task of mending the cracks could face severe opposition but it can only be achieved and diffused by consistent focus and prayers by Nigerians who desire more peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.
The Vice President, who spoke through the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, at the 60th Independence Anniversary interdenominational church service held at National Ecumenical Centre, Abuja, yesterday, made reference to the story of Nehemiah in the Bible, and his role in rebuilding the broken down walls of Jerusalem.
The service, which was attended by representatives of the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Head of Service of the Federation, Permanent Secretaries, military officials, members of the diplomatic community and other senior government officials, provided opportunity for prayers, praises and cutting of anniversary cake.
Osinbajo, in his remarks, encouraged Nigerians to study the story of Nehemiah and replicate same in Nigeria for a better country.
“The story should be a challenge to every Christian in Nigeria who is desirous of following the part of Christian way of life.
“It’s only that kind of Nehemiah’s love that will make us as Nigerians to rebuild the cracks we have in our walls (Nigeria) today. For us in Nigeria, Nehemiah should be taken as a metaphor for that Nigerians who either reside in Nigeria or outside, to cry to God to use the abandoned opportunities in Nigeria to address our challenges of nation building.
“Fortunately for us, our walls are not yet broken but there are obvious cracks that could lead to break if not properly addressed. Nehemiah started with fervent prayers, seeking the Face of God and pleaded with his king to allow him return to Jerusalem to rebuild the broken walls. Because wall signifies peace, security, contentment and prosperity. It signifies the essence of the state of the nation.
“There’s urgent need for Nehemiah in our country, Nigeria, today. And like Nehemiah faced opposition in his efforts to rebuild the walls, any Nigerian that desire to rebuild Nigeria must also be ready to face stiffer opposition which will come in torrents. It can only be diffused by consistent focus and prayers.”
Osinbajo was, however, optimistic that the 60th Independence anniversary could herald a rebirth of Nigerian nation, and “no group is more prepared for this task than our religious bodies.”
He, thus charged the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to provide quality leadership to its faithful and properly guide them in making Nigeria a great country that it has been destined to be.
Also speaking in a sermon, CAN President, Dr. Samson Ayokunle, stressed the need for justice which, he said, will birth peace, tolerance and love.
He said: “A nation that is religiously plural like ours require love in practice so as to co-exist without fighting one another. What is sane in using the name of God or hide under the cloak of religion to kill a fellow human? If God wants all of us to be of one ethnicity, race or religion doesn’t he have the power to do it? Why do we want to play God and wickedly terminate the lives of others in account of religion?.
“Nigeria is blessed with abundant human and material resources located in different parts of this country. This underscores the indispensability of all the regions and ethnic groups.
“For us all to be on the same page, have sense of belonging and be happy, the doctrine of equality, that is equal access to employment, governance and education, must be available to all. The principle of inclusivity must be adopted. Nobody or region must be excluded from the scheme of things in Nigeria.
“We must not allow exclusion in any form to manifest in our national life because that would be dangerous for our pilgrimage or voyage together. All ethnic and religious groups must be given equal opportunity in the way we do things, otherwise, why should I remain where I was not recognized or where I was cheated? Will I not rather go on my own way?.
“Why should I be denied access to build my place of worship in any region of the country by government official?. Why should my child be denied the opportunity to study any particular course in any university after he or she has passed the required examination on account of the child’s religion or ethnicity? Ethnicity is ascribed, it is divinely conferred, not achieved by the individual.
“We must know that there’s mutual suspicion of one another in Nigeria, either along ethnic or religious lines. We have refused to do many things we agree to do at dialogue tables because lack of love and suspicion. We need to do away with lack of trust in order to build a great nation.”
GoG: Nigerian, Ghanaian Navies Meet On Joint Operations
Against the backdrop of renewed piracy and hostage-taking incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria’s Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo and his Ghanaian counterpart, Rear Admiral Issah Adam Yakubu, have commenced a security engagement aimed at joint security initiatives to tackle the situation.
Speaking during the meeting held at Naval headquarters, Abuja, Vice Admiral Gambo said, “The Gulf of Guinea is currently bedevilled by the activities of criminal elements who take advantage of limited capability of the navies in the region to adequately secure the area.
“The threat posed by the activities of these criminal elements constitute a major challenge not only to the littoral states but equally undermines regional development and global trade.
“Notably, the trans-boundary and trans-national nature of maritime crime makes the security of the maritime domain a task beyond the capacity of any country acting alone.
“It is against this backdrop that this bilateral engagement was convened at the instance of the Heads of Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Republic of Ghana towards addressing the maritime security challenges within the region”.
Vice Admiral Gambo expressed belief that “the engagement would foster greater collaboration and burden sharing that is hinged on cooperative maritime security framework as envisioned in the 2013 Yaoundé Protocol to arrive at strategies that would help address the maritime insecurity for enhanced economic prosperity in the region”.
Declaring the technical session open, the CNS said, “In deliberations, please consider amongst others: maritime area of interest covering Zone E and integration of the capabilities of the countries in Zone E, emplacing a robust intelligence sharing mechanism and collaboration with international partners”.
On relations between both countries, Gambo said, “This good relation is equally manifest in the several interactions between the Nigerian Navy and Ghana Navy. I must not fail to mention the remarkable contributions of the Ghana Navy-CNS to manpower development during his tour of duty at the prestigious AFCSC, Jaji as a member of the Directing Staff. I have no doubt that this engagement would further strengthen the existing cordial bilateral relations between Nigeria and Ghana navies.
In his address, Chief of Naval Staff of Ghana, Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu, noted that he and his delegation were in Nigeria at the behest of President Nana Akufo Ado to engage the Nigerian Navy and come out with collective strategies to tackle insecurity which is in the ascendancy in recent times in the Gulf of Guinea.
“We hope our navies will buy into this engagement to improve security in the Gulf of Guinea. We know our big brother Nigeria has bigger capacity to chart the way forward”.
He disclosed that, “Since year 2020, the situation has bot been good in the Gulf of Guinea”, noting that “Last May, two Ghanian vessels were attacked and 10 persons were abducted with investigations still ongoing”.
Consequently, the Ghanian Navy Chief said, “We are proposing an ECOWAS naval task force and joint maritime security architecture to checkmate these threats, adding that this was done in the past successfully during ECOMOG operations without problems with inter-operability and doctrinal issues.
Furthermore, he proposed the setting up of a ‘transit corridors’ where ships from fellow West African countries can go to anchor for assistance and joint naval assets will conduct regular patrols especially for protection of commercial fishing vessels.
Wike Orders Destruction Of Criminal Hideouts In Rivers
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has ordered the destruction of all criminal hideouts in Ahoada, Elele, Eleme and Onne to prevent attempt to undermine security of the state.
The governor said criminals were already coming to terms with the reality that Rivers State was too hot for them to invade at will and detonate their foolish attacks on targeted security posts and personnel.
Wike, who made this assertion in a state broadcast, last Friday, disclosed that the state government has identified the hideouts, safe houses and secret places that provide both cover and comfort for the hoodlums to plan, execute and return to after operations.
“This was the reason we ordered the destruction of all the shanties and makeshift structures located along Elele to Ahoada expanse of the East–West Road to deny the criminals the opportunity to continue to undermine our security from these hideouts.
“We have equally decided to destroy all the shanties, illegal shops and mechanic sheds along the Eleme to Onne stretch of the East-West Road having discovered these places also as hideouts and operational bases for criminals and criminal activities in the state.
“Consequently, I hereby direct owners of such shanties and illegal structures along the Eleme – Onne axis of the East-West Road to vacate the area within two weeks from June 11, 2021, as the state government will go ahead to destroy these structures without any further notice.”
Wike said the government was not unmindful of the economic effect these measures would have or may have had on residents carrying out businesses in the affected areas.
He, however, stressed that government was merely discharging its constitutional responsibility to advance the collective security of all with no ethnic targets in mind or attachment to political sentiments.
He explained that the existing curfew in Rivers State will not last one day beyond necessary, and pleaded with all residents to endure the temporary inconveniences in the interest of the state and collective wellbeing of all.
“We will continue to take the war on criminality and insecurity to the den of the criminals and we will neither yield nor lower the tempo of our assault until they are comprehensively neutralized. As a matter of fact, they want us to prematurely terminate the state wide night time curfew in order for them to have the leeway to operate again and roll back the gains of the last few weeks.”
Wike said he has received reports about the excesses of the State Task Force on Illegal Trading and Parks, especially the alleged shooting of motorists, extortions and abuse of the human rights of citizens.
He assured that government would not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law on any member of the task force who crosses the boundaries of the law and rational behaviour.
The governor, who appealed to motorists and residents to be responsible road users by complying with the clear regulations against illegal trading, indiscriminate parking and irresponsible driving, noted that the situation where some motorists would have the effrontery to compete for traffic space with or even attempt to block his official vehicular convoy leaves much to be desired.
He has meanwhile, directed the management of the Rivers State Waste Management Authority to clear the state of filthiness within one week or be disbanded without any further notice.
Army Begins Shooting Exercises In Rivers
The Nigerian Army, 6 Division, has announced that it would commence its annual range classification exercise from yesterday to Sunday, June 27.
The division’s spokesman, Lt.-Col. Charles Ekeocha, said in a statement in Port Harcourt, that the exercise aimed at ascertaining the professional competence of troops on the use of firearms.
He said troops from the division and its affiliated formations and units would conduct the exercise at the Army Shooting Range in Igwuruta and Elele Barracks, both in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
“The shooting exercise is a routine activity in the Nigerian Army which involves the firing of various calibre live ammunitions.
“Members of the public, especially residents of Igwuruta and Elele, as well as its environs, are advised to keep away from the general shooting area,” he stated.
The Army spokesman also advised the public not to panic over the movement of troops, military hardware and sound of gunshots.
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