Kaigama said this at his first Interaction Session with newsmen Abuja, since he became the substantive Catholic Archbishop of the Archdiocese.
He said: “God is giving us a second chance to begin again. If we sincerely repent and turn to God, just as He forgave the people of Nineveh, He will forgive and heal us.
“We should not be blind to our personal sins and the sins of the world.
“Let us turn the positive experiences being garnered during this pandemic, like the sense of solidarity, selflessness and community into policy and practice and be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.
“The all too familiar bad news about social maladies such as embezzlement of public funds, kidnaping, banditry, militancy unemployment, cybercrime, immortality, violence and killings are still with us.
“We must ask the question whether all these leave our youths with any decent future.
“We can certainly do something differently and positively for Nigeria and Nigerians. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Let us all take that little but significant step forward.’’
According to him, COVID-19 has led us to the realisation that we are not masters of our fate and that ultimately, our lives are in God’s hands, which means far better hands than our own.
“In the midst of all the harshness the pandemic poses, perhaps we might feel a gentle nudge that will help dispel the illusion that we are in control.
“God wants us to draw lessons out of the evil of COVID-19.
“Nigeria is blessed with enormous natural and human resources and should be very ready at such critical times to provide and efficiently distribute palliative to the poor and the needy.
“Our politics must be further refined, to include high principles and values, and must become an offer of self to serve the people.
“The social cancer of corruption must give way for Nigeria to speed up her journey to join the league of developed nations.
“With the advent of pandemic, it became obvious that our medical facilities are highly insufficient to cater for emergencies like this; they are also below standard and need to be upgraded.
“Ideally, well equipped and functional medical facilities should be available and accessible in all the 774 Local Government Areas of the nation.
“We must resolve, as a country, to make access to health care possible for all.’’
In the same vein, he said the educational facilities in many of the public schools and institutions were not in line with global best practices.
The archbishop said that COVID-19 pandemic had forced schools globally to switch to online learning, saying that Nigeria must not be left behind.
“Education should be given a high priority, even though educating our students in the present circumstance will not be easy.
“It is good news that government is allowing the exit classes to resume and to sit for their final exams; all precautionary measures against COVID-19 must, however, be put in place.
“I believe strongly that the needed funds could come from the generous donations received, part sacrifice of salaries lavishly used by political parties before and during elections, recovered “looted’’ funds, etc.
“These could be used to improve or create structures for our students in public, private and faith based schools so that their academic life is not truncated.
“We cannot afford the adverse consequences of leaving our students idle for such an undetermined period of time,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Kaigama, who succeeded John Cardinal Onaiyekan, resumed his pastoral assignment in March during the lockdown from Archdiocese of Jos, where he had served for close to 20 years.
Kaigama has also celebrated his 39th anniversary as a Catholic Priest and clocked 62 years on Friday – July 31st, being a feast day of his Patron Saints, St Ignatius of Loyola.
Security Challenges: You must rejig security strategy, Buhari tells Security Chiefs
President Muhammadu Buhari has again challenged the nation security agencies to rejig their strategies in the ongoing battle against insurgency, banditry and other violent crimes in some parts of the country.
The National Security Adviser (NSA) to the President, retired Maj-Gen. Babagana Mongonu, revealed this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the National Security Council meeting, presided over by President Buhari at the State House, Abuja, on Wednesday.
He said: “Mr President has also directed that we must rejig our strategy that is both in terms of operation and intelligence we must rejig our strategy to prevent further catastrophe.
“We must bear in mind that we owe a duty to the people that elected his government, our government and at the end of the day without securing the nation all other things cannot be addressed such as revamping the economy and also fighting corruption.’’
According to the NSA, his office presented a memo to the Security Council on the danger of drug abuse in the society as well as the need to urgently address the problem
He revealed that between 2011 and 2019, approximately 17 manufacturing laboratories of dangerous substances were located by the various security agencies and destroyed while an increasing activities of illegal cultivators of `Canabis’ were also recorded.
He said criminals had resulted to the use of illegal substances and dangerous drugs like Tramadol to unleash violence on innocent citizens in the society.
“I presented two memos. The first had to do with drug trafficking as well as drug addiction in Nigeria, and the widespread use of these substances and the dangerous impact on our social, economic situation.
“Basically, what I told council was that this has taken on a worrisome dimension. Nigeria’s perception on the drug trafficking index has changed from the status from a transit hub to a production centre.
“Between 2011 and 2019, approximately 17 manufacturing laboratories of dangerous substances were located by the various security agencies and destroyed. That is a large number.
“At the same we have had increasing activities of illegal cultivators of Canabis in Nigeria.
“These people basically use extremely large space of arable land to cultivate this illegal substance, employing militia men to protect their farms and also their storage facilities.
“When you look at drugs, our main concern as security operatives is the ultimate destruction to the social fabric and economy of the nation.
“There is hardly any violence crime today in Nigeria that is not propelled by the use of these hard substances. And these hard substances have been coming in from all nooks and crannies,’’ he said.
Monguno believed that the reckless use of these dangerous substances had direct link to the insecurity being experienced across the country.
He, therefore, stressed the need for a collective, concerted effort to deal with the menace of dangerous drugs in circulation to safeguard the country from the bottomless pit of self-destruction.
The NSA boss disclosed that he later updated the Council on the security situation in the northwest and the north central, “in terms of looking at the issue of kidnapping, banditry and killing of innocent people.’’
“The Chief of Defence Staff, army chief, inspector general of Police, heads of the various intelligence agencies also gave synopsis each of the current security situation and what their various organizations and agencies are doing about these situations,’’ he added.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
Pa Fasanmi buried as Fayemi, Akeredolu,Tinubu pay tributes
Eminent Nigerians on Tuesday paid tributes to the late Afenifere leader, Pa Ayo Fasanmi, as his remains were interred in his country home in Iye Ekiti, Ilejemeje Local Government Area of Ekiti.
Fasanmi, a Second Republic Senator, died on July 29 at the age of 94.
Fayemi said Fasanmi’s contributions to the development of democracy was immeasurable, particularly his role in the formation and operation of the defunct National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) that fought the military.
The governor disclosed that his government was already constructing a secondary school to honour the deceased for his contributions to the state before his death.
” My only regret is that he has left us before the school will be officially inaugurated for academic activities when schools finally reopen,” Fayemi said.
Fayemi, in his tribute entitled, “‘Tribute to a Man of Integrity,” said what attracted him to the deceased was his integrity.
“His death has, therefore, robbed me of a godfather, counsellor, an advocate and a father. A good man has left us.
” We will sorely miss him but we are consoled that he was dedicated to selfless service,” he said.
Fayemi added that Fasanmi belonged in the class of the youths of the 1950s when the nationalist movement was at its feverish peak.
He noted that the deceased got indoctrinated into nationalism struggle through the writings of Dr Nnamdi Azikwe and his contemporaries.
“He proved his political mettle in 1964 when he was elected as a member of the Federal House of Representatives before 1966 and he got imprisoned in Agodi Prison and was later released.
“He offered to serve as governor of the old Ondo state in 1978 and slugged it out with Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin who defeated him in the primary.
“One legacy for which Baba would be fondly remembered was his credential of incorruptibility. He was a man of tall integrity and honesty.
“It would be recalled that he was the first to start the Anti-Bribery and Corruption Committee in 1973 under Col. Oluwole Rotimi of the Western Region.
“Chief Ayo Fasanmi has come, he has seen and conquered. He conquered human cravings, vanity of power, ostentation, greed and malice,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the Southwest Governors, Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, said the news of the passage of the icon was a loss to the Yoruba and Nigeria at large.
“Baba living long for 94 years was not what we are celebrating, but we are celebrating how many lives he had impacted on. He lived an impactful life.
“He was not petty but he spoke truth, lived a remarkable life and was one politician who became senator and came home to rest,” he said.
The governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by his Special Adviser on Civic Engagements, Aderemi Adebowale, said Fasanmi’s influence became more pronounced by his incorruptible nature.
The All Progressives Congress National leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, represented by former Lagos State Deputy Governor, Abiodun Ogunleye, said Nigerians must learn from the late politician who lived a modest and spartan lifestyle.
Tinubu described Fasanmi as a revolutionary and a politician of outstanding mien, civility and character who was worthy of being emulated .
In his sermon, the Bishop of Ekiti Oke, Anglican Communion, Peter Olubowale, said Fasanmi was not a noise maker and trouble maker during his time.
The cleric urged the people to continually do good to humanity the way Fasanmi did to his family, political associates , friends and companions.
“We need to be available to ourselves and committed to God. Nigerians are number one people in the world that are easy to govern with patience, zeal and endurance.
“Baba has told us that all these monies you are spending and the one you are keeping inside bullion vans and the ones being stashed in banks accounts are all vanity.
” Use the position you are occupying very well to develop humanity. This is the only way you can gain eternity because materialism will lead you to hell fire,” he said.
Edited By: Josephine Obute/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)
Plateau PDP set for state congress – Acting chairman
Mr Yakubu Chocho, Acting Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Plateau, says all is now set for the state congress to elect new leaders of the party in the state.
Chocho told News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Jos that arrangements had been put in place to receive the national officers of the party who would conduct the elections.
Consequently, after the expiration of their tenure on May 10, the state executives of the party were constituted into caretaker committee to act for three months.
The acting chairman said that the party had received directives from its national secretariat that the congress would hold on Aug. 8 or Aug.12.
According to him, the state is waiting for the national body of the party to conduct the congress.
“We will also ensure that all delegates keep to social distancing , wearing of face mask and washing of hands. Efforts will be made to provide adequate security for peaceful congresses,” he said.
Chocho added that the party was ready to receive the elected leaders who would be in-charge of its affairs without interference from the state officials.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey and Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)
COVID-19: Bayelsa schools ready, safe to re-open – Gov. Diri
Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa on Tuesday announced that the state had put in place measures to check the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) among students in exit classes billed to resume on Wednesday.
Diri gave the assurance at the ‘Safe School Reopening Train-the-Trainer’ programme in Yenagoa.
He said that the government had provided 10,000 face masks, temperature scanners, soap and water for all public and private schools in Bayelsa.
The governor inaugurated a 10-member Safe Schools Reopening Committee headed by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr Peter Akpe, to monitor implementation of the safety protocols across the state.
Diri urged the committee to ensure compliance with the safety protocols to curb infection.
He noted that Bayelsa had 339 COVID-19 cases at the moment.
Diri also noted that Rivers had 1,842 cases and Delta 1,520, saying that Bayelsa was listed the 23rd out of 36 states in infection rate.
“Out of the responsibility for the health of our dear children, we decided to close schools on March 26 even before we recorded the index case in Bayless, on April 27, 2020.
“I commend the efforts of our healthcare professionals who I describe as generals in the battlefield.
“With the steps we have taken, teachers have joined in the frontlines of the battle against the pandemic.
“We seek the cooperation of parents, teachers and other stakeholders to prevent teacher-to-student transmission of the virus and vice versa,” Diri said.
In his remarks, Dr Nathaniel Apoku, Co-Chairman of Bayelsa COVID-19 Task Force, said that 90 per cent of the 339 positive cases out of 5,000 people screened for the virus had been discharged.
“We have so far tested 5,000, we have only 24 active cases under our care.
“Our isolation centres are virtually empty, this is due to the commitment, dexterity and funding support by the government.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that other members of the Safe Schools Reopening Committee include Mr Freston Akpor, Permanent Secretary, Bayelsa Ministry of Information, and Mr Walter Liverpool, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)