The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned the invasion of a church by men of the Nigeria Police Force to arrest Uche Nwosu, son-in-law of a former Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, during a church service at Eziama Obieri in the Nkwerre Local Government Area of Imo State.
According to the religious body, the move by the officers desecrated the house of God.
This was included in a statement issued yesterday by Special Assistant (Media &Communications) to the CAN President, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji,
The association said it was embarrassed by this act by men of the police force as it could not remember whether such had ever happened before in our country.
CAN said it was not asking the police or the security agencies not to do their constitutional duties but urged officials to be more circumspect in carrying out their duties.
A statement from the body reads, “The National leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) condemns in strong terms the arrest of one Mr Uche Nwosu at St Peter’s Anglican Cathedral, Umunwokwe village, in the Eziama-Obieri Nkwerre Local Government Area of Imo State.
“We feel highly embarrassed by this ugly development and feel pained that the Nigeria Police had no respect even for the House of God. We cannot remember whether this act of disrespect for God ever happened before in our country.
“The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has nothing to apologise for over what the police did because we were never and would never be a party to their horrendous act. The police that did the disgraceful thing should appropriately apologise without giving any excuse. We expect them to be more circumspect in the performance of their duties.
“We are not asking the police or the security agencies not to do their constitutional duties but the idea of desecrating the House of God in doing so is totally unacceptable, unfortunate and reprehensible.
“In view of the foregoing, we urge the Inspector General of Police to call his men to order and continue to respect all houses of worship, whether church or mosque. This type of act should never happen again in our country.”
The body also commiserated with the South African government over the death of the late Nobel Peace Laureate and anti-apartheid hero, Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Tutu battled prostate cancer for a decade but lived to celebrate 90 years on earth before he died in a care facility at Cape Town on Boxing Day.
CAN said, “The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has commiserated with the government and the people of South Africa on the Home Call of a great Oracle of God, Bishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu.
“We thank God for a life well spent by His great servant who used every given opportunity to speak a potent voice against the defunct apartheid system of racial segregation and white minority rule in South Africa.
“The revered bishop was a South African Anglican bishop and theologian, known for his work as an anti-apartheid and human rights activist. He was also the first African Bishop of Johannesburg from 1985 to 1986 and then Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986 to 1996. He was also known as a theologian who sought to fuse the Black Theology with African Theology.
“We recalled with nostalgia when from 1978 to 1985, Tutu was the General -Secretary of the South African Council of Churches. That was when he emerged as one of the most prominent opponents of South Africa’s apartheid system of racial segregation and white minority rule.
“Although an activist yet he was an advocate of non-violent protest and foreign economic pressure to bring about universal suffrage. In 1985, he became bishop of Johannesburg and in 1986 the Archbishop of Cape Town, the most senior position in southern Africa’s Anglican hierarchy. In this position, he emphasised a consensus-building model of leadership and oversaw the introduction of female priests.
“Tutu played prominent roles that led to the release of the foremost anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela from prison in 1990 and they both led the negotiations that ended apartheid and introduce multi-racial democracy.
“After the 1994 general election resulted in a coalition government headed by Mandela, Tutu was appointed the chairman of the historic Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses committed by both pro and anti-apartheid groups.
“This Commission was used to heal all the wounds of apartheid inflicted on both the Whites and the Blacks. Tutu will always be remembered for his strong support of Palestinians in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict especially his strong belief in Israel’s right to exist. His strong criticism against the perceived anti-people policies under the South African Presidents of Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma further made him a respected voice of the voiceless.
“Our hearts go to his immediate family, the South African Churches and the common man of that country who saw him as their advocate and protector. May God console and comfort them all in Jesus’ Name.”
NDLEA Arraigns Catholic Knight, Cousin For Drug Trafficking
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arraigned a knight of the Roman Catholic Church, Sir Basil Okafor and his cousin, Edwin Izuchukwu, before the Federal High Court over allegations of drug peddling.
The two brothers were arraigned on charges of conspiracy, possession of 2.169 kilograms of heroin, and frustrating the cause of justice.
According to the NDLEA, the suspects were arrested on March 28, 2022, at No 26 Akpomule Street, Isolo-Okota area of Lagos.
The prosecutor, Mr. Umar Hussaine, informed Justice Daniel Osiagor that the defendants were found in unlawful possession of the prohibited drug and also discovered to be distributing same.
The counsel also alleged that Okafor threw his iPhone 7 containing his SIM card into a water closet in a bid to obstruct the operations of the NDLEA officers in the course of his arrest.
Hussaine said the offences committed by the two brothers were prohibited under Sections 14(b), 24(1)(a), and 49 of the NDLEA Act, 2004. The said offences are also punishable under Section 20(2)(a) and Section 20(2)(b) of the Act.
After reading the charges, the defendants pleaded not guilty.
The defendant’s counsel, Mr. Benson Ndakara, prayed the court to grant his clients bail, appealing that one of the defendants, Sir Okafor, is a knight of a Catholic Church.
Justice Osiagor granted the two defendants bail in the sum of N2m each with one surety in like sum.
He, however, remanded them in the NDLEA custody until their bail terms have been perfected.
The court adjourned the case till October 5 to open trial against the defendants.
Earlier, the NDLEA had obtained a lien of Post No Debit from Justice Tijani Ringim directing Zenith Bank Plc and United Bank of Africa to restrict the defendants from accessing their accounts.
The justice also ordered that the NDLEA should be granted rights to inspect the Certified True Copies of their accounts, and also conduct other investigations as necessary.
The application was granted on the alleged ground that the defendants were international drug traffickers.
Sokoto Launches COVID-19 Action Recovery, Releases N8.3bn To 152,107 Beneficiaries
The Zamfara State Governor, Dr. Bello Matawalle, has launched the COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus Programme (CARES) in the state.
The programme was launched to directly support individuals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly the poor and vulnerable in the state.
The governor made this known on Wednesday in a statement by his Press Secretary, Jamilu Iliyasu Magaji.
The governor said the programme would be accomplished through social transfers, livelihood grants, basic infrastructure provision, support for medium and small business enterprises, and maintenance of food security threatened by armed banditry and general economic downturn.
He said the sum of N8.3 billion had been set aside for distribution to 152,107 beneficiaries to enable their small and medium scale businesses flourish.
He explained that the programme would be implemented through three delivery platforms, namely: CSDA, FADAMA, and the ministry of Commerce and Industries, in collaboration with the office of Zamfara State First Lady to address the problem of malnutrition in the state.
Matawalle added that, “there is also a CARES Coordinating office unit for the state. The services that CARES will deliver to the common man of Zamfara State including livelihood grants of 3.4 billion Naira, food security 3.4 billion Naira and job creation through small and medium scale Enterptrises at 2 billion Naira”.
The statement said further that in order to cover the target beneficiaries in all parts of the state, the programme would be implemented in three phases of Result Area One: to increase social transfer, basic services, and livelihood support to poor and vulnerable households, targeting 82,321 beneficiaries.
“Similarly, Result Area Two component is aimed at increasing food security and safe functioning of food supply chains for poor households targeting 61,286 beneficiaries, while Result Area Three Component of the Programme would facilitate recovery of micro and small informal businesses, the phase will target 8,500 beneficiaries”, the governor said.
The governor said his administration considers it a matter of utmost significance to implement programmes explicitly tailored to mitigate poverty among people and open new economic horizons for committed youths and entrepreneurs.
According to him, the administration has been working hard in the last three years to address the issue of insecurity, which has long been a major impediment to economic activity in many parts of the state, in addition to the massive investments in primary, secondary and tertiary education, healthcare, road infrastructure, cargo airport construction and a variety of other areas in order to turn around the fortunes of the state.
Matawalle also reaffirmed his administration’s resolve to place high premium on the well-being of individuals while also trying to create an environment that allows legitimate businesses and other critical sectors of the economy to function effectively.
World Bank To Fund $30bn Projects In Nigeria, Others
The World Bank has said it is set to disburse a total of $30bn to fund existing and new projects in Nigeria and other countries as part of a global response to combat the ongoing food security crisis.
According to the bank, it is working with countries on a $12bn new projects fund for the next 15 months.
It said the projects are expected to support agriculture, social protection to cushion the effects of higher food prices, and water and irrigation projects.
It added that most of the funds would go to Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and South Asia.
The global bank disclosed this on Wednesday when it announced how it plans to be part of a comprehensive, global response to the ongoing food security crisis.
It stated that it intends to roll out this fund in existing and new projects in agriculture, nutrition, social protection, water, and irrigation.
It said, “This financing will include efforts to encourage food and fertilizer production, enhance food systems, facilitate greater trade, and support vulnerable households and producers”.
World Bank Group President, David Malpass, said, “Food price increases are having devastating effects on the poorest and most vulnerable.
“To inform and stabilise markets, it is critical that countries make clear statements now of future output increases in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Countries should make concerted efforts to increase the supply of energy and fertilizer, help farmers increase plantings and crop yields, and remove policies that block exports and imports, divert food to biofuel, or encourage unnecessary storage.”
The bank added that its current existing portfolio includes balances of $18.7bn in projects with direct links to food and nutrition security issues, covering agriculture and natural resources, nutrition, social protection, and other sectors.
It stated, “Altogether, this would amount to over $30bn available for implementation to address food insecurity over the next 15 months. This response will draw on the full range of Bank financing instruments and be complemented by analytical work”.
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