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Wike, PDP, Buhari, Obasanjo, Others Mourn Mantu

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike says he is profoundly shocked to learn of the abrupt death of former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ibrahim Nasiru Mantu.
The governor, who expressed the deepest sympathy of the government and people of Rivers State to the Mantu’s family, said the former Deputy Senate President’s public service was so distinguished and his sudden death a significant public loss.
“We are saddened by the death of Senator Ibrahim Nasiru Mantu. We had the privilege of him inaugurating the Community Secondary School, Obeakpu-Ndoki, Rivers State in June, 2021, and we appreciated the support that he gave us. We send condolences to the entire Mantu’s family and pray to God to grant them the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.”
Also, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed sadness over the death of former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ibrahim Mantu.
The party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday, in Abuja, described late Mantu, as a “pillar in the PDP,” who could not be forgotten.
Mantu was reported to have died, yesterday morning in DIFF Medical Centre, Abuja, at the age of 74.
Ologbondiyan said that the PDP was devastated and inconsolable by the death of one of its leading elders and a member of its Board of Trustees (BoTs).
He said that Mantu’s death was a huge tragedy which had befallen not only the PDP but Nigeria at large.
“Sen. Mantu was a highly resourceful leader, an excellent lawmaker, exemplary democrat and dazzling political mobiliser; a very humble and detribalised statesman, who spent his life in innumerable sacrifices towards the unity, stability and economic development of our dear fatherland,’’ he said.
Ologbondiyan noted that late Mantu brought his love for the nation, as well as his skills to bear in the Senate, where he served as chairman, Senate Committee on Information, and Deputy Senate President.
He also noted that the late deputy Senate president, who died, yesterday, played key roles in stabilising the Senate for greater legislative productivity.
“His political dexterity as the chairman of Joint National Assembly Constitution Review Committee from 2001 to 2003 and from 2003 to 2007, laid the strong foundation for successful reviews of the constitution to reflect the aspirations of Nigerians.
“Mantu was a pillar in the PDP and our party will never forget his sacrifices to ensure the success and growth of the PDP at all levels.
“Above all, Senator Mantu was a good man, a God-fearing soul, who spared nothing in ensuring the wellbeing of others above personal pursuits.
“Mantu’s death is indeed a big blow to our party, but we draw solace in the fact that he lived a fulfilled life and made impart in his calling as a patriot,’’ Ologbodiyan said.
The national publicity secretary said that as the PDP grieves, the meeting of its National Working Committee (NWC) earlier slated for yesterday had been rescheduled for today in honour of late Mantu.
“Our party commiserates with the Mantu family, the PDP fold in Plateau State, the people of Plateau Central as well as the entire state.
“The PDP also prays for God to grant eternal rest to the faithful departed and to the bereaved, the fortitude to bear this huge loss,’’ Ologbodiyan added.
Similarly, President Muhammadu Buhari has sent his condolences to family of former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, who died in Abuja.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, Buhari also commiserated with the people of Plateau State and National Assembly, the two constituencies he served in his lifetime.
“President Muhammadu Buhari condoles with family of former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, joining Plateau State Government and indigenes in mourning the passing of the renowned politician.
“President Buhari commiserates with leaders and members of the National Assembly, friends and political associates of the former Deputy Senate President, who dedicated most of his life to service of his people.
“The President prays for the repose of the soul of the departed, believing his legacy of reconciliation and promotion of peaceful co-existence will always be remembered, especially in bringing more harmony in his state and the country at large,” the statement reads.
Reacting, the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo expressed shock over the death of the former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu.
Obasanjo said that the late Deputy Senate President served Nigeria meritoriously and accorded his administration reform agenda between 1999 and 2007.
Obasanjo, in a condolence letter addressed to Mantu’s son, Musa, on behalf of the family, yesterday, stated that he valued his unequivocal support to his government.
The former President in the letter issued to newsmen by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, also recalled Mantu’s role to terminate the move to change the government in Sao Tome and Principe in 2003.
The statement read, “He used his God-given position to properly ground the democratic process and engender the stability, peace, growth and development of our fatherland, Nigeria, at the time. He operated and conducted himself with courage, conviction, consistency and the fear of God.
“It is also on record that Senator Mantu was part of my delegation that championed the termination of the unpalatable and criminal adventure of some over-ambitious elements in Sao Tome and Principe on July 16, 2003, with all efforts deployed to restore the country to democratic governance based on the principles of accountability, transparency, respect for human rights and the rule of law. His was a life of great purpose, true service, and solid accomplishments.”
The former President emphasised that “no doubt, your late father will be sorely missed by those who knew him, particularly his colleagues in the Senate and surely by his state and his friends.
“Thus, as you mourn his demise, I would urge that you take consolation in knowing that he lived a fulfilled life and left behind a good name that you should all be proud of.”
In the same vein, the former Vice President of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, said he received with shock and deep regrets the death of a former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ibrahim Nasiru Mantu.
In a statement issued by his media office in Abuja, Atiku said his association with Mantu dated back to the era of military guided political transition programmes
The former Vice President noted that while he was in the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP), Mantu was a leading political light in the Nigeria Republican Convention (NRC).
According to Atiku, Mantu, who until his passing away, was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party NEC, said, “was a friendly soul who loved Nigeria and promoted national unity”.
The Waziri Adamawa said that as Vice President, following the restoration of democratic rule, he worked together with Mantu, who was then the Deputy Senate President and others to stabilise the nascent democracy within the first tenure of the Fourth Republic.
“Mantu was very central in the management of the frosty relationship between the executive and the legislature in those difficult years of learning the nuances of democratic practice.”
He alluded to Mantu’s dogged and tenacious spirit which he said was instrumental in lifting him from humble beginnings to a life of statesmanship.
Atiku said that as a senator representing Plateau Central and a Deputy Senate President, Mantu saw his responsibility as going beyond the Plateau and the Senate chambers to the level of a nationalist who thought of Nigeria first.
He said that Nigeria would miss Senator Mantu‘s political experiences which spanned over four decades.
However, the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, has reacted to the death of former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ibrahim Mantu.
Ortom, in a statement released by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, yesterday, said the demise of Senator Mantu is a painful loss to Nigeria.
According to him, Mantu’s death occurred at a time the country urgently needs the wise counsel and experience of statesmen such as the former Deputy Senate President to help it overcome the current security and economic challenges.
The governor describes Senator Mantu as a true democrat and patriot who played a vital role in nursing the country’s nascent democracy from 1999 to where it is today.
He stated that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in particular, will deeply miss its former Board of Trustees member who made selfless contributions to the growth, unity and success of the party.
Ortom sympathized with the Mantu family, the government and the people of Plateau State, and prayed for God to grant the former Deputy Senate President eternal rest.
Mantu died in a private hospital in Abuja at about 2am, yesterday.
Mantu was said to have been ill for nine days.

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Shell Donates Subsea Training Facilities To UNIPORT

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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.”

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Obasanjo, Osinbajo, Wike, Others Bag CAN Awards

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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.

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Bandits Free 10 More Kaduna Baptist Students, Keep 11

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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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