The Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) have signed a pact to de-escalate religious tension in the country ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The accord was signed during the International Religious Freedom Summit organised by the Global Peace Foundation and 70 international human rights and religious freedom groups in Washington D.C.
This is contained in a statement signed by the immediate past President of CAN, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, issued on Wednesday in Abuja.
According to him, the Sultan of Sokoto, Dr Saad Abubakar, who doubles as the President-General of NSCIA, was represented by Prof. Yusuf Usman, former Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme.
The apex Christian body was represented by Ayokunle.
Ayokunle said the two organisations agreed to encourage Muslims and Christians in the country to shun violence, embrace dialogue and remain committed to building resilient communities that are free from fear.
He added that the two religious bodies also promised to embrace a vision of common humanity and speak publicly on hope for Nigeria’s peaceful and bright future.
Ayokunle said that the pact was part of the determination of religious leaders to work together and lead Nigerians out of all current crises in the country.
According to him, much of the crisis in Nigeria have religious context, as such it is important to mobilise Muslims and Christians to ensure peaceful coexistence.
He commended the Sultan for his consistent advocacy for peaceful coexistence in the country.
According to him, the pact will help to build a stronger Nigeria that is able to tackle its challenges, including lack of security, accountability and corruption.
“The Declaration we signed lays out a number of principles that we believe all Nigerians can readily affirm.”It states that all people are endowed by the Creator with inherent value and fundamental rights.
“Regardless of nationality, ethnicity, culture, region or the many other differences that often divide us, and that the essential freedom and dignity of every person must be respected and protected.
“The Declaration also calls for collaboration amongst the various traditions and faith communities in Nigeria, in order to advance the wellbeing of all and resolve conflicts peacefully.”
He said that both NSCIA and CAN vocally rejected and condemned the use of violence and coercion to spread political or religious views and identities or demean ethnic, regional, or tribal affiliation.
Ayokunle added that the pact demanded for peaceful, free and fair elections in 2023.
He added that both religious bodies agreed to push for more judicial integrity and fairness and engage leaders to tackle insecurity, reprisal attacks, kidnapping, sexual violence and organised crime.
Other areas of concern, according to him, include food security, education, sustainable livestock production, hostile business environment and unemployment.
“Certainly, individuals will have different opinions as to the causes of and solutions to all of these problems.
“But far more importantly, we must share a fundamental commitment to the unity of Nigeria and to work collaboratively toward solutions through peaceful and respectful means,” he added.
Ayokunle said that religious leaders have a duty to shepherd their communities in a way that promotes peace.
“We call upon all religious and political leaders and all people of faith to develop and promote solutions that are grounded in the shared values of our common humanity,” he added.
Streetlight: Anambra Set For Solar Energy Option-Commissioner
The Anambra State Government says the switch from diesel powered streetlights to solar powered alternative will soon be completed.
Commissioner for Power and Water Resources in the State, Mr Julius Chukwuemeka, told The Tide’s source in an interview in Awka that the disruption in the streetlights project was due to the migration from diesel powered generators to solar powered energy .
Chukwuemeka said the diesel powered alternative had to be suspended because of its huge cost implication and adverse environmental effects..
He said the switch, which would be cheap and sustainable, would be concluded soon and streetlights restored.
According to him, the new system would also be made to run Independently without the danger of outage in transmission noting that the streetlights were also part of the state’s security architecture.
“Looking at what we had in the past, we noticed that hundreds of millions of Naira was being spent on diesel to power these generators, what this government is doing is to cut costs and achieve more.
“At that time, the price of diesel was between N200 and N250 per litre but now it is between N800 and N850 per litre, you can see that it is no longer cost effective to use generators.
“Diesel is also not very environment -friendly because of the emissions, so after our comparative analysis, we concluded that the best way to power the streetlights is to migrate fully to solar energy.
“We are considering energy sources that are cost effective and also amenable to a green environment, it should also be independent such that we don’t depend on the national grid,” he said.
Chukwuemeka said the solar energy source initiative was also being developed to power water schemes to drive public water supply projects in the state.
He said water supply had been restored at the State Secretariat complex, while the Iyiora pilot scheme in Anambra West was already functional with 5,000 gallons capacity reticulated solar motorised machine.
“However, we are discussing and working with EEDC to ensure that power supply hits 24 hours in most parts of the state and as you can see there has been overall improvement in power supply in Anambra,” he said.
NDLEA Recovers N8.8bn Tramadol, Nabs Suspect In Lagos
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has recovered about 13, 451,466 pills of tramadol 225mh worth N8.9 bililon in street value in Lagos .
Director, Media and Advocacy, Mr Femi Babafemi said this in a statement in Abuja.
Babafemi said operatives of the agency had also arrested the suspected drug baron, Chukwukadibia Ugochukwu, in connection to the recovered drugs.
He said the operatives raided one of the mansions of the suspect in the highbrow residential estate, Victoria Garden City, Lekki area of Lagos.
According to him, the arrest of Ugochukwu, who is the Chairman of Autonation Motors Ltd, was coming barely two months after NDLEA uncovered a methamphetamine clandestine laboratory in the residence of another suspected drug kingpin in the estate.
The Tide’s source reports that Chris Nzewi, was arrested on Saturday, July 30, along with a chemist, Sunday Ukah, who was said to have cooked the illicit drug for him.
At least, 258.74 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine and various precursor chemicals used for the production of the toxic drug were reportedly recovered from Nzewi’s home during his arrest.
Babafemi said following credible intelligence, NDLEA operatives on Friday, Sept. 30 stormed the Plot A45 Road 2 home of the 52-year-old billionaire drug kingpin.
“A search of the expansive mansion led to the discovery of 443 cartons of Tramadol Hydrochloride 225mg.
“This was in a carton which contained 13,451,466 pills of the drug, while some cartons were already burnt in a fire incident in the house same day,” he said.
Babafemi said that before his arrest, Ugochukwu, who hails from Ihiala Local Government area of Anambra had been on the agency’s watch list.
The suspect, he said, was as one of those behind the tramadol drug cartel in Nigeria.
“Preliminary investigation shows that he has about six mansions within the VGC. one of which he uses to warehouse the tramadol consignment, while he lives in another one at Plot Z-130 Road 67 and uses one as his office.
“Five exotic vehicles had also been located in two of his mansions, out of which two SUVs including a bulletproof jeep had been successfully removed to the agency’s facility,” he said.
Reacting to the latest drug haul, the Chairman, NDLEA, retired Brig.- Gen. Buba Marwa, commended the officers and men involved in the operation for their diligence.
Marwa also appreciated Nigerians for supporting the agency in its arduous task of ridding the country of the menace of drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.
According to him, “I’ll like to reassure Nigerians and other stakeholders wherever they are located across the country.
“This assurance is coming beyond our preparedness to work with them on this onerous task of saving our people from the drug scourge.
“This partnership is a further warning to the drug barons and cartels that there is no hiding place for them anymore.
“This is because, we remain on their trail and we’ll always get them, “he said.
NCSU Tasks FG On Recovered Looted Funds
Following the successful conduct of its 12th Quadrennial Delegates Conference in Abuja on Wednesday, the Federal Council of the Nigeria Civil Service Union (NCSU), has called on the Federal Government to reinvest all recovered monies said to have been looted from the nation’s treasury by public office holders in employment generation ventures.
The union, which made the call in a communiqué issued at the end of the conference and signed by its new Chairman, Comrade Adoga Gupada Aruwa and Assistant General Secretary,Comrade Daniel Otakpo, applauded the committed efforts of the Muhammadu Buhari administration and the various anti-graft agencies including other relevant organs of government in recovering the looted funds.
The union also expressed deep concern on the present global economic recession being experienced by workers and Nigerians, with it attendant effects of further exposing them to untold hardship owing to the negative activities of some unpatriotic persons in the oil sector, thereby making it extremely difficult for payment of workers’ salaries and provision of resources for infrastructural development programmes of governmental levels.
It, therefore, called on the government to diversify the economy to other sources of revenue generation by paying particular attention to Mineral Resources, Tourism and Agricuture.
The NCSU equally stressed the need for reduction of the cost of governance in view of dwindling resources, and observed with dismay hundreds of billions of naira frittered away in the guise of security votes, and enjoined the government to be more prudent in resources allocation.
The conference-in session condemn in strong terms what it described as unfortunate and illegal the continued coercion of members of NCSU without their consent by forcefully deducting from the salaries “dues”, despite several circulars from the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, pointing out that this illegal act constitutes a breach and also an infringement on the right of such workers to belong to the union of their choice as guaranteed by the ILOC convention 87 and 98 and national laws of the country.
The union, therefore, called on the relevant agencies to enforce the right of workers to belong to a union of their choice, while at the same time, commending the Federal Government for keeping faith with workers by paying salaries and allowances of federal employees.
New officer selected at the conference to pilot the affairs of the union in the next four years include Comrade Adoga Gupada Aruwa, Chairman; Comrade Okwor Hillary Onyebuchi,Vice Chairman; and Comrade Akam Moses Oden,Treasurer.
Others are Comrade Greg Nwajei Peace Udoka,Trustee; Comrade Muhammed Babaniogu Kolo, Auditor; and Comrade Adelakan Adeyinka Olusola, Assistant Secretary.
The immediate outgone Chairman of the union, Comrade Timothy Odebunmi,in his valedictory speech, thanked the members for their support, and went ahead to list the modest achievements recorded by his administration in the past four years.
Odebunmi,who would be retiring from the civil service in the next few days, said his administration established an empowerment scheme where civil servants were trained and over 100 union members acquired tailoring skills and were empowered with some stipends. He stressed the need for the union members to close ranks as well as look inwards to fashion a way of solving problems collectively.
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