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Jonathan Expresses Nigeria’s Commitment To AU Objectives

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President Goodluck Jonathan said yesterday that Nigeria remained committed to the strategic objectives of the African Union.

Jonathan, who is attending the AU summit for the first time as President, gave the assurance while addressing the 15th African Union Ordinary Summit in Kampala.

He said that Nigeria would pursue and ensure the realisation of all programmes of action and the instruments of the AU.

Jonathan also used the occasion to condemn the July 11 terror attacks on an Ethiopian restaurant in Kampala in which 76 people were killed and 65 others injured.

He extolled the virtues of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua whom he called “my brother”.

“His demise remains a great loss to Nigeria and the continent, because of his love for justice and rule of law which AU stands for.

Jonathan also used the occasion to congratulate the South African government for the successful hosting of the 2010 World Cup.

Earlier, before the summit began, two minutes silence was observed for the late Yar’Adua and those killed in the July 11, terror attacks in Kampala.

In his address of welcome, President Yoweri Museveni called on the AU to condemn in strongest terms the activities of Al-Shabbab in Somalia.

“I reject in totality the new form of colonialism through terrorism.

“The AU should not accept anyone who has no respect for the union. Who are they? Who they represent?”

“Attacking AU combatants, manipulating and using children as canon fodder?, Let us rise in consonance and get them out of Africa,”

Museveni said.

He called on the AU not to depend solely on foreign loans for the development of infrastructures in Africa.

Speaking on the theme of the summit: Maternal, Infant and Child health and development in Africa, Museveni also said that Uganda had made considerable progress in obstetric care.

He said that Uganda has advocated for improved maternal and newborn health.

This method, he said, was in covering 54 districts and 553 health facilities and assessing the availability of trained midwives and doctors in child births.

The Summit tagged “Kampala 2010’’ is expected to focus on action plan to reduce mother and child mortality and take decisive and implementable actions to improve on maternal, infant and child health.

Thirty five leaders are attending the summit out of the 43 that indicated their intentions to attend.

The Summit is also expected to consider, among other continental issues, the proposal by the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi for the transformation of the AU into an African Union Authority (AUA).

It will be recalled that the 13th Ordinary Session of the AU held in July 2009 in Sirte, Libya brainstormed on issues related to the Union Government that culminated in a consensus to establish AUA to replace the African Union Commission.

Gaddafi, the then Chairperson of the AU and the proponent, contended that the transformation would bring stability to Africa as the continent would be speaking with one voice, defending common position in international negotiations.

The Summit is also expected to consider the African common position on the reform of the United Nations (UN) Security Council for full representation of Africa in all the decision making organs of the UN.

Tagged the “Ezulwini Consensus’’ on the Security Council, it was agreed that full representation of Africa in the Security Council means not less than two permanent seats with all prerogatives and privileges of permanent membership and five non-permanent seats.

The gathering of all heads of government from all the 52 AU member nations will also consider its earlier decision to put a definitive end to the scourge of unconstitutional changes of government in member nations.

The scourge the leaders consider as undermining the progress achieved in the on-going democratisation processes in the continent and constitutes a threat to peace and security in Africa.

In addition, the Summit will review its efforts on the Tripoli Declaration on the elimination of conflicts in Africa and the promotion of sustainable peace as well as the proclamation of 2010 as the Year of Peace and Security in Africa.

Other issues for considerations at the Summit are the integration of NEPAD into AU structures and processes, the Africa-Arab cooperation for food security in the continent, climate change and the implementation of the AU border programme.

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Banigo Tasks Christians On PVCs’ Collection

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Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr Ipalibo Harry Banigo, has attributed the success of the Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration to the prayers of Christians.
Banigo said this at the 2023 life members’ conference/fund raising of the Bible Society of Nigeria (BSN), Rivers/Bayelsa Area in Port Harcourt.
The deputy governor, who was represented by a director in the Office of the Deputy Governor, Mr. Benjamin Robert, also commended the executive of the society for its consistency in the propagation of the gospel of Christ.
She, however, charged Christians to participate actively in the ongoing political process by collecting their permanent voters’ cards (PVCs) with a view to voting for God-fearing persons during the forthcoming general election.
While pledging her continuous support,she called on members of the society to identify with the needs of the BSN to enable it realise its aspirations of building a Bible House in the state.
Meanwhile, authorities of the Rivers/Bayelsa Area of the Bible Society of Nigeria have lamented its inability to build a Bible House, years after its inception.
The Chairman of the area, Elder Omoni Ayo-Tamuno, who said this in his address at the conference, also expressed concern over the low participation of Christian churches in the state in the activities of the society.
He regretted that the area was at the moment struggling to meet its quota of Bible distribution.
According to him,”As stated earlier,the area is facing serious challenge to exist or not in the coming year as regards our meeting the national target, especially in the area of Bible distribution.As at the time of this conference, we have only distributed about 1,200 copies of the Bible, leaving a deficit of 6,300 to meet the 7,500 target”.
He said that if the target was not met, the Rivers/Bayelsa Area would be merged with Delta or Akwa Ibom states.
The chairman also regretted the lack of concern by Christians in Bayelsa State towards the activities of the society.
Ayo-Tamuno said the conference was to review the activities of the society for this year, and also plan ahead for the subsequent year.
He commended the Bishop, Diocese of Okrika Anglican Communion, Rt Rev. Enoch Atuboyedia, for directing all churches in the diocese to support the society.
Also speaking, Chairman of the occasion, Engr. Obinna Douglas, urged Christian community in the state to support the society.
He said all churches in the state needed Bibles for evangelism, stressing the need for them to patronise the activities of the society.
Douglas also commended the executive of the society for being at the forefront of placing Bibles in the hands of everyone in the state.

By: John Bibor

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N’Delta Stakeholders Kick Against Move To Replace PAP

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Niger Delta stakeholders have described as “unreasonable” and “vexatious” the plan by the Federal Government to substitute the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) with the crude oil pipeline contract recently awarded to some persons in the region.
It warned that the plan would trigger another round of agitation and frustrate the campaign against oil theft in the region.
According to the stakeholders, made up of traditional rulers, elders, women groups, youth groups, former militant leaders and stakeholders from across the nine states of the Niger Delta region, the plan of the Federal Government was revealed by the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Major General Barry Tariye Ndiomu (rtd), during a “Presidential Mandate briefing” with employees of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, last Wednesday, at the Sheraton Resort, Abuja, FCT.
They noted that part of the plan to shut down PAP was Ndiomu’s directive to the staff of the PAP to immediately commence the process of winding down the PAP prior to the expiration of his tenure on March 1, 2023; approximately 90 days before the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure of May 29, 2023.
The stakeholders, in a statement issued via electronic mail and signed by High Chief Maxwell Ayamabele, condemned the actions and steps taken so far by Ndiomu terming his action as “inexperienced, naïve, and disrespectful to all traditional rulers, women groups, youth leaders and former militant leaders that participated in the amnesty process under the leadership of late President, late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
“Since Gen Ndiomu’s appointment, the smooth operations of the Amnesty programme have shattered; causing serious tension across the region due to Ndiomu’s so-called presidential mandate to urgently terminate the Amnesty programme in exchange for the pipeline surveillance contract.
“Gen Ndiomu failed to meet with the relevant stakeholders that fought for the establishment of the Presidential Amnesty Programme to brief them and the people in the region about the reasons behind his plans to urgently terminate a programme that directly and indirectly benefits over a million families across the Niger Delta region.”
Ayamabele further cautioned Gen Ndiomu to desist from his plan to forcefully reduce the number of Amnesty beneficiaries in the different camps by almost 50per cent; from 30,000 ex-militants to 15,000, stating that such an illegal act to deny legitimate beneficiaries of the amnesty programme will surely be resisted.
They warned Ndiomu against “allowing himself to be used by the Fulani – Kanuri oligarchy against his own people to perform an impossible, dead-on-arrival plan,” stating that “all ex-militants and stakeholders across the nine states of the region will use every means necessary to resist him and the presidency’s plan during the remaining few months of the administration.”

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‘Pipeline Surveillance Contracts Must Promote Ethnic Cohesion, Not Rivalries’

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The leadership for the Movement for Survival of Ijaw Ethnic Nationality in Niger Delta (MOSIEN) has said that the pipeline surveillance contracts to indigenous Ijaw contractors by the Federal Government should promote ethic cohesion rather than rivalries in the region.
The group also condemned petitions to the Presidency on the contracts by some non-state actors, saying that such letters lack substance and were ill-orchestrated.
This was contained in a statement by the President, MOSIEND Worldwide, Amb Kennedy Tonjo-West made available tonewsmen in Port Harcourt.
Tonjo-West said some non-state actors had been hitting hard, expressing disaffection, threatening and issuing one ultimatum after another, adding that some even went as far as transmitting letters to President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We are asking Mr President to disregard such petitions as the fact stated therein is unfounded.
“The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), now a private business outfit, has said in response to some uninformed agitations that the contracts were awarded with strict adherence to the Public Procurement Act, and that the companies were qualified, and we think that they deserve commendation for getting it right”.
The President noted that the contracts to indigenous contractors had provided employment opportunities to Ijaw youths and others trained to be specialists.
“This singular policy by the government is already generating employment for thousands of jobless youths within the communities who are now trained and engaged by the companies in line with their contractual obligations.
“We called for caution because the Federal Government in their wisdom deemed it right to involve community participation in addition to the military is dedicated efforts in the fight against illegal bunkering and oil theft in the region”.
He appealed to all aggrieved youths to learn to put common interest above all, and show love, oneness and brotherhood.
“We should learn to put our common interest above all and show our adversaries that we love ourselves, we should cooperate, tolerate and respect each other, promote harmonious relationships, support and share in the success of our neighbours.
“We should avoid intimidating any tribe or ethnic nationality due to their size or educational standing.
“As people from the Niger Delta, we cannot be crying of mistreatments from the government and mete out the same treatment to fellow Niger Deltans.
“If we cannot understand ourselves on this ‘small opening’, how can we sustain our cries for better deals from the government and oil companies”, Tongo-West added.
“We are not at war with ourselves; all the ethnic nationalities in the region are one people, blessed by God, and designed to live together”, he said.
MOSIEN further advised “individuals, ethnic nationalities and tribes which are not directly part of the contracts never to give up on our working together, let us be proactive and consciously allow for a win-win approach to enable us to grow and progress together, but apply the re-orientation and re-positioning mechanism to recovering our lost values as a region”.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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