Rivers State Governor and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has enjoined Christians to pray fervently for the nation and its leaders and take advantage of the Easter period to show love and forgiveness.
A release signed by Amaechi’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. David Iyofor, says the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ was a clear indication of the love of God for mankind, and urged Christians to always emulate Jesus Christ and imbibe the virtues of love and forgiveness.
“Let me call on Christians to always pray for the growth of Nigeria. We should also remember that it was out of love that Christ died and forgave us of our sins, so we should also learn to love and forgive one another. That’s a sure path to building a better nation,” Amaechi said.
In his message, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday, urged Nigerians to embrace love and peace, as exemplified by Jesus Christ.
Jonathan gave the advice in his goodwill message delivered at a service to mark Easter at the Our Saviour’s Church, Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), Lagos.
“We are here today because Christ was killed, buried and rose from the dead. We have hope that he will come again,” he said.
Jonathan said he decided to celebrate 2013 Easter with Lagosians, and to sincerely thank all Christians for their prayers.
“Through the various intercessory prayers, God has continued to stabilise the country. If not, it would have been worse,’’ Jonathan said.
He said that the country had challenges, “especially in these days of terrorism’’.
The president said the government was working hard to check terrorism, adding that such incidents should make Christians wonder the kind of social environment that existed during Jesus Christ’s time.
He said that as a mortal, he would do his best within the nation’s limited resources, to fix infrastructure such as railways and roads, as well as stabilise the power sector.
Also speaking, former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd), urged Christians to continue in the faith.
Gowon, who is the leader of ‘The Nigeria Prays’, told the President that, if he continued in the faith, things would be well with him.
“Trust in the Lord. He is all sustaining. He did, when l was ruling the country,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Lagos, Alfred Adewale Martins, yesterday urged President Goodluck Jonathan to rise above the challenges facing the country and deliver his electoral promises to Nigerians.
The prelate gave the charge at a media briefing where he condemned the level of insecurity, corruption and unemployment in the country.
Martins urged the president to address the contending issues of good governance and commit all available resources to address them.
“Nigerians are tired of mere promises, they want concrete action.
“They want to see in practical terms that this government is committed to fighting insecurity and restoring the country to its past glory.
“Events of the past few weeks, particularly the spate of insecurity in the land, leave much to be desired.
“A specific reference is the callous bombing of a South-bound luxury bus, in which several people were sent to their early grave. This is clearly inhuman, ungodly and unacceptable.
“I want to join other people of goodwill to condemn this dastardly act and to pray for the repose of the souls of the deceased, that they might find lasting peace in the bosom of our Lord,” he said.
Martins commended security operatives for the discovery of lethal bomb-making materials and ammunition in Lagos, and urged Nigerians to be vigilant and to pay attention to events and activities around them.
He also advised landlords to pay attention to those they hired out their properties to.
“I believe this is a way by which we can, as citizens, help to secure ourselves and our environment,” he said.
In the same vein, the Northern States Governors Forum has urged Christians to imbibe the ideals of perseverance, sacrifice and commitment to the will of God which characterised the Lenten season.
The Chairman of the forum and Niger Governor, Dr Babangida Aliyu, yesterday congratulated Christians and all Nigerians, who are alive to witness this year’s Easter.
“We are alive today only by God’s grace and favour and not that we are in any way special before the Almighty,’’ he said.
In a statement signed by Governor Aliyu’s Chief Press Secretary, Danladi Ndayebo, the forum urged Nigerians to continue to render selfless service to humanity.
He said that this underscored the essence of Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday.
The forum urged citizens to use the opportunity of the Easter celebrations to pray for the quick resolution of the security challenges confronting the nation.
It urged Nigerians to pray and work for peace, stability and progress of Nigeria, while supporting the actualisation of the nation’s transformation agenda.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis has prayed for peace in the world during his first Easter Sunday message, delivered from the balcony of Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.
Addressing an audience of about 250,000 people from around the globe, the pontiff specifically prayed for reconciliation in places of conflict including the Korean peninsula, Mali, the Middle East, and Nigeria, saying that hostage-taking, senseless killings, and bombing by Boko Haram Islamic sect were unnecessary.
“Yes, Christ is our peace and through him we implore peace for the world. Peace for the Middle East, and particularly between Israelis and Palestinians, who struggle to find the road of agreement, that they may willingly and courageously resume negotiations to end a conflict that has lasted all too long. Peace in Iraq, that every act of violence may end, and above all for dear Syria, for its people torn by conflict and for the many refugees.”
After the Easter Mass, the Pope was driven around the square in an open vehicle. He kissed babies and handicapped children along the way and waved to the cheering crowds.
Christians around the world celebrated Easter yesterday. It is the holiest day of the liturgical year that marks the resurrection of their savior Jesus.
United States President Barack Obama and his family attended an Easter service yesterday morning at an Episcopal church near the White House.
In his weekly address Saturday, he said Easter provides an opportunity “to rededicate ourselves to interests larger than our own.”
Many Christians traveled to the Holy Land to visit places where Jesus preached and was crucified.
In Syria, Christians observed Easter in a somber mood, many of them attending mass in areas devastated by conflict.
Iraqi Christians attended churches amid tight security.
In the Philippines, President Benigno Aquino said that just as Jesus rose from the dead, hope has been resurrected among Filipinos against the forces of graft and corruption.
In Australia, on Melville Island in the Tiwi Islands group, worshippers observed Easter with a unique blend of indigenous culture and Catholic influences.
Not all Easter celebrations are strictly religious. Hundreds of New Yorkers participated in the annual Easter Parade that features the city’s residents clothed in their best finery topped with elaborate hats.
RSHA: Amaewhule-Led Lawmakers Defy Court Order, Elect New Leaders
The crisis rocking the Rivers State House of Assembly took a new twist on Wednesday as lawmakers loyal to the former Speaker, Martin Amaewhule, sat under tight security in the complex.
This is contrary to the court order asking the two factions of the State House of Assembly to maintain the status quo pending the determination of a suit filed by the Edison Ehie faction.
Recall that Ehie faction had obtained a court order that parties should maintain the status quo pending the determination of a suit seeking to sack Amaewhule as the House Speaker.
The Rivers Assembly had become factionalised following an unsuccessful move to impeach Governor Siminialayi Fubara.
The Amaewhule-led lawmakers are believed to be loyal to Fubara’s predecessor and political godfather, Nyesom Wike.
It was learnt that ahead of Wednesday’s sitting, cleaners had on Tuesday been deployed to clean up the Assembly complex, which had been under locks, since October 29, following an explosion in the complex the night before.
One of the cleaners said they were instructed to tidy up the complex ahead of a sitting on Wednesday.
It was gathered that the Wednesday sitting was held for about two hours as a team of riot policemen and security vans were stationed in front of the House to prevent any breaches.
It was gathered that the lawmakers elected a former Chief Whip as the new Majority Leader of the Assembly.
The member, representing Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Constituency 1, Frankline Nwabochi, was named the new Chief Whip.
An unsigned statement sent to the Assembly Press Corps obtained by The Tide said the two new principal officers accordingly took their oath of office.
Amaewhule congratulated them, charging them to be committed to their new responsibilities.
According to the statement, the lawmakers also passed the first reading of a Bill seeking to amend the Rivers State Local Government Law, No. 5 of 2018.
They also debated on the Rivers State House of Assembly Funds Management (Financial Autonomy) Bill, 2023, which passed second reading on Wednesday.
Amaewhule who described the Bill as important, expressed his conviction that Governor Fubara would assent to it after the lawmakers finally pass it.
He hinted that the governor had withheld funds meant for the Assembly for the month of November.
He said the lawmakers were determined to perform their constitutional duties despite the distractions.
He thereafter referred the Bill to the House Committee on Public Accounts for public hearing and further legislative scrutiny.
The other faction of the Assembly led by Ehie, and loyal to Fubara, had yet to react to the Wednesday development as of the time of filing this report.
Ogoni Group Mulls Recall Of Lawmakers Over Foiled Fubara’s Impeachment
An Advocacy group in Rivers State, Ogoni Development Drive (ODD), says it has begun the process to recall four Ogoni lawmakers from the Rivers House of Assembly over their alleged roles in the botched impeachment of Governor Similanayi Fubara.
The lawmakers are Dumle Maol (PDP, Gokana constituency), Barile Nwakoh (PDP, Khana), Aforji Igwe (PDP, Eleme) and Bernard Ngba (PDP, Tai).
The group’s Convener, Comrade Solomon Lenu, made this known at a news conference in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Recall that Fubara survived an alleged impeachment plot on October 30.
ODD said it had on November 10 issued a seven-day ultimatum to the four Ogoni lawmakers who partook in the plot that attempted to serve an impeachment notice to Governor Fubara.
The four lawmakers, now suspended, were asked to apologise to the Ogoni people whom they represent and to Gov. Fubara for denigrating his exalted office or risk being recalled.
“Instead of heeding this advice and embracing the olive branch extended to them, they rather embarked on an egocentric escapade,” the group said.
Lenu further said the lawmakers rather than heed to the advice by ODD, engaged in various meetings that purportedly plotted to unseat the governor.
“Governor Fubara was collectively voted for by the entire Rivers people, and as such, the action by the lawmakers has not gone well with all men and women of conscience.
“It is illogical for the erring assembly members to think it is right to impeach an innocent governor for no just cause but wrong to recall them for erring against their constituents.
“The suspended lawmakers called a bluff of ODD ultimatum, and so, we have decided to carry out this recall process in earnest, to put our democracy aright,” he said.
Lenu said the group had already reached an advanced level in sensitising and mobilising the lawmaker’s constituents to recall them.
He said that ODD had also obtained the comprehensive voters’ register of all voters in the four local government areas and constituencies.
According to him, an electronic capture form has also been created to make the petition process easier for students at various tertiary school campuses and those on holiday to sign the petition.
“So far, the response from the aggrieved constituents has been very impressive, and we shall in a few weeks’ time complete the compilation of the required signatures.
“The signatures are required for INEC to call for a referendum, which shall be carried out in branches with strict security guidance, to abort any sinister counterplot against democracy.
“We know this process is not going to be easy, but we are ready to go all the way, to create a sense of responsibility in our elected leaders,” he said.
Lenu said instilling a sense of responsibility in politicians and elected leaders would further entrench democratic tenets in the country.
The ODD convener called on the people of Ogoni to come forward and sign the petition, to end political “jamboree and illicit godfatherism” in the state.
The Tide reports that 26 lawmakers on Oct. 30 proceeded to impeach Fubara but were stopped by four pro-Fubara lawmakers led by Ehie Edison (PDP-Ahoada East II).
Mr Martins Amaewhule (Obio Akpor constituency), a close ally of a former governor, was later ousted as Speaker and Ehie sworn in as the new Speaker.
However, Amaewhule insists that he is still the Speaker of the House of Assembly, resulting in some form of confusion over the office of the Speaker.
FRSC Commander Faces Sanction Over Unauthorised Comments
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), yesterday, disowned the Unit Commander, Central Business District Unit Command, Assistant Corps Commander IL Ibrahim, over his recent statement on Vehicle Inspection Officers, otherwise known as Directorate of Road Traffic Services.
Ibrahim was quoted to have said that VIO officials did not have the right to arrest road traffic violators, including overloaded vehicles and motorists caught using phones while driving.
But Deputy Corps Marshal, Bisi Kazeem, in a statement, yesterday, said Ibrahim’s comment was not the position of the Corps.
Kazeem added that the concerned official had been recalled to the national headquarters for necessary disciplinary action.
The statement read, “The Federal Road Safety Corps wishes to make a pertinent clarification regarding the pronouncement by the Unit Commander, Central Business District Unit Command, Assistant Corps Commander IL Ibrahim, that Vehicle Inspection Officers, otherwise known as Directorate of Road Traffic Services, do not have the right to arrest road traffic violators, including overloaded vehicles and motorists caught using phones while driving.
“The general public is advised to disregard the statement as it had no approval of the Corps Marshal, Dauda Ali Biu, and does not in anyway reflect the corporate or general position of the Corps.
“It is important for the public know that the laws establishing VIOs/State Traffic Management Agencies give them the statutory mandate to make arrests on different offences depending on the state within which they operate. As such, the agencies should be given the maximum cooperation for the enhancement of safety on our roads.
“On this note and in line with sustaining the Corps’ resolve that road safety is a collective responsibility, and in acknowledgement of the roles the State Traffic Management Agencies like the Vehicle Inspection Officers play in complementing the statutory responsibilities of the FRSC through enforcement of traffic laws, the Corps Marshal has ordered the immediate withdrawal of the Unit Commander to the national headquarters for necessary administrative and disciplinary actions.
“The public is admonished to always comply with all established traffic regulations and cooperate with security agencies deployed to maintain law and order on the highways, irrespective of their corporate mandate.”
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