President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the few Nigerians abroad indulging in criminal activities do not represent the values of majority of the people of the country.
Mr Femi Adesina, the President’s spokesman in a statement in Abuja, said President Buhari stated this when he met with leaders of the Nigerian Community living in Japan.
The meeting was on the sidelines of the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7), on Thursday in Yokohama, Japan.
The President declared: “Let me also say that there are few Nigerians in the Diaspora that are giving us a bad name by engaging in criminal activities.
“These Nigerians are a minority, they do not represent the values of our country, and I plead with them to change their ways.
“We will not condone any crime whether at home or abroad, and we will also not allow these Nigerians define us as a people with reputation for criminality.”
While urging Nigerians in Japan to be good ambassadors of their fatherland, the Nigerian leader said, “I am personally very happy that there are millions of Nigerians all over the world, like you here, who are truly making us proud.”
He described majority of the over 17 million Nigerians in Diaspora as “the face of Nigeria globally and our ambassadors for good.”
The President noted that, “Many of our Diasporans, like your good selves here today, have excelled in varying fields of endeavor, both professionally and individually.
“You have also made significant and overwhelmingly positive contributions to your Nigerian and international host communities.
“You have continually been a positive bridge between Nigeria and the world. It is not an easy feat and we commend you, salute your courage and efforts.”
According to him, Japan is at the cutting edge of technology and efficiency, ‘`two very important attributes that can play a role in Nigeria and improve our capacity for development.”
President Buhari urged members of his audience to continue to contribute their quota by helping to develop their host country and Nigeria as well.
He added: “I look forward to your inborn gift, ability, and capacity in taking up this challenge.”
He also commended many of them who had been “positively impacting the Nigerian economy through financial home remittances, promoting international trade in Nigerian commodities, our music, culture, tourism, sports, and education.
The Nigerian leader noted with delight that some of them had also helped to establish industries in Nigeria.
The President urged them “to encourage legitimate Japanese entrepreneurs to come and invest in Nigeria.”
“We are continually working to create the necessary enabling environment for investors to thrive, through improvements in our Ease of Doing Business practices, providing security, diversification of the economy, infrastructure and fighting corruption.
“We have put in place the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERPG) to put the country on a path of sustained recovery and growth,’’ he said.
The president further explained the rationale for his regular meetings with Nigerians abroad and the establishment of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission.
President Buhari said: “As you are aware, I have regularly held town hall meetings with Nigerians in the Diaspora on all my foreign engagements be they in Europe, Asia, America and Africa.
“At these fora, I have always, appealed to our citizens to be our good ambassadors, observe the laws of your host countries, excel in whatever you do legitimately, and also remember us at home (Nigeria).
“I have established the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission specifically to engage with you, signifying a coordinated attempt by our administration to increase the involvement of our Diaspora in our national development.
“Collectively, your resources, skills, and talents will be a positive force for our country which can help accelerate our national growth and development.”
In her remarks, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman, Diaspora Commission, who coordinated the event, described the President as “the most Diaspora-friendly leader we have had in Nigeria.”
The event, according to the presidential aide, witnessed “a parade of the brightest and best of our citizens, plying their trade in Japan.’’
Prof. Ejiogu Emenike, President, Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Asia (NIDOASIA) and an energy expert, commended President Buhari for efficient leadership, and disclosed that his members had “comparative advantages in human capital development, which we are trying to bring back to Nigeria.”
He added: “Any problem that science and technology can solve, we are able to, and we can help Nigeria in areas of need.”
Mr Nnaji Fintan, the President of Nigerian Union in Japan, asked for more exploits in the areas of education, quality infrastructure and security, which incidentally, are focal points of the current administration.
Other in attendance of the meeting included academics, industrialists, top businessmen, scientists, economists, and many others.
Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz
Strikes in France over planned pension reform to continue for second weekend
Strikes over a planned pension reform in France look set to continue for a second weekend and Parisians can expect serious delays on Saturday, according to a statement by RATP which runs Paris’ public transport network.
Nine metro lines will be closed completely on Saturday, the state-run company said.
However, 60 per cent of bus services will be running and trams will run as normal.
Long-distance rail services will also be delayed, with only one in four long-distance TGV trains running on Saturday, SNCF said Friday.
The state-run rail firm said it would publish a timetable this weekend of train services this week should strikes run over the Christmas period.
People from a range of professions have taken part in industrial action opposing plans by the government to reform pensions for more than a week.
Demonstrations are expected to take place in Paris and other cities on Saturday.
Edited by: Emmanuel Yashim
32-man Borno delegation understudies Kaduna on participatory governance
Leader of the team, Alhaji Musa Abubakar, said on Friday in Kaduna that the 2-day visit is supported by Mercy Corps Nigeria.
Abubakar said the aim was to apply the experiences of Kaduna state in tackling poverty and build secure, productive and just communities in Borno.
He explained that Mercy Corps is running a peace programme on conflict management and stabilization in 20 communities in Gwoza, Damboa, Dikwa, Maiduguri and Jere local government areas of Borno.
According to him, the programme has three components which includes social cohesion, social inclusion and governance.
“One of the lineups of activities under these components is a learning visit by government officials to see the innovations and restructuring happening in Kaduna public service,” he said.
Abubakar disclosed that at the end of the visit, the team would develop action plans for implementation in Borno.
He said the 32-man team consists of officials from Ministries of Women Affairs, Finance, Justice and Local Government, as well as Legal Aid Council, Borno State House of Assembly and Local Government Councils.
The team leader said they would visit the Kaduna state
Ministries of Justice, Human Services and Social Development, and Budget and Planning, as well as the state Peace Commission, Civil Society Organizations and Interfaith Mediation Centre.
Also, the Director Women Affairs in Borno, Hajiya Falmata Gambo, said she was impressed with what the team had seen so far.
Similarly, the Desk Officer, Borno State House of Assembly, Baba Kura Maina, said their experiences in Kaduna would help to add value to the transformational efforts of Gov. Babagana Zulum.
Maina, who described the Borno governor as a blessing to the state, said he has put in place machineries needed for restoration of the lost glory of the state.
Edited by: Maharazu Ahmed
Nothing secret, sinister about us — Ogboni Fraternity
Leader of the Reformed Ogboni Fraternity (ROF), Chief Francis Meshioye, has again debunked public perception that the fratenity was a secret society.
Addressing newsmen in Lagos during flag off of 2019 Founders’ Day Celebration of ROF, Meshioye, said there was nothing sinister in the activities of the fraternity.
“We are far from being a secret society; we are a registered entity that abides with the laws of the land and our objectives are to promote positive values, truth, justice and cultural heritage,” he said.
He explained that contrary to beliefs in some quarters, there was nothing secret or sinister about the fraternity, saying it was founded for the good of the society.
Meshionye further explained that the fraternity was actually founded in 1914 by a Christian, Deacon Jacobson Ogunbiyi, saying the initial objective was to promote Christian values among the people.
He added that the group was later expanded to accommodate people of other faiths, hence the change in name from Ogboni Fraternity to Reformed Ogboni Fraternity.
Meshioye said a number of distinguished Nigerians, dead and living, were members of the group, emphasising that the fraternity was strictly for positive values.
He said that it was note-worthy that the founding fathers of ROF were part of those who fought for decolonisation of Nigeria, developed such establishments as the civil service, judiciary and many functional post-colonial institutions.
He listed some of them as late Sir Adetokunbo Ademola, late Chief Ladoke Akintola and late Sir Adeyemo Alakija.
The ROF leader said every Nigerian of good character could join the group as the fraternity was not for those who were seeking quick wealth.
According to Meshioye, it is important for people to understand what the group stands for, urging Nigerians to embrace the virtues of the fraternity
”The Reformed Ogboni Fraternity (ROF) has the ultimate objective of promoting good values, love discipline, not only in Nigeria but in other parts of the world wherever her members finds him or herself.
”There is a clear distinction between ROF as a fraternity and any other forms of organisations.
”Our fraternity compels her members to imbibe the fundamental injunction of ”do unto others as you wish others to do unto you ”
”However, the fraternity had to overcome many challenges that were rooted in misinterpretations of what we stand for,” the ROF leader said.
He said the celebration of ROF’s 2019 Founders’ Day was to promote the ideals of the fraternity and show the world that the group was all positive.
Edited by: Wale Ojetimi
Cleric advises Nigerians to utilise advantages of border closure
A Cleric, Christopher Qwolabi, on Friday, advised Nigerians, especially youths, to utilise the advantages of the nation’s border closure to be self-productive and reliant.
Owolabi, the General Overseer, Christ Apostolic Church, Ori-Oke Irapada, Omu-Aran, gave the advice during the church’s special service tagged: “Toward a Prosperous 2020 and Beyond”, in Omu-Aran, Kwara.
He said the closing of the nation’s borders to curb banditry, insurgency, incessant dumping of contraband, fake and contaminated drugs, was long overdue.
According to him, the border closure no doubt has started yielding fruitful results and very glaring for the citizens to see.
“There are many things that are being imported that can be produced in large quantity locally.
“It’s an insult on our integrity and intelligence to continue to import toothpicks, food items, furniture products with our array of expertise and intellectual capacity.
“Production of local rice has increased and the commodity has flooded major markets across the length and breadth of the country.
“Patronage of other locally-produced items like beans, cassava, semovita, poultry products have also soared following the closure of the borders.
“It’s high time Nigerians, particularly the youth, utilise this positive development to engage in different aspects of agriculture for their own benefit and advantage.
“With the present high rate of unemployment and non-availability of white collar jobs, the closure of borders is, therefore, a veritable alternative for the youth to be self-productive,” he said.
Owolabi also urged practitioners of traditional medicine to come together and come up with locally-produced effective and well-packaged therapy for common ailments.
According to him, this will be a good replacement for such therapy being imported from neighbouring African countries.
“Alomo Bitters from Ghana is a good example of such highly -preferred imported stuffs being consumed by Nigerians.
“Our practitioners can also come up with such therapy for mass production and local consumption after necessary certification by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
“Our neighbours are just taking advantage of our large population and turned the country to a dumping ground for their products.
“Their recent reactions to the border closure have shown that Nigeria is a big market in the continent, especially in the ECOWAS sub-region.
“With the right attitude, conducive environment, most essential needs of the citizens can sufficiently be produced locally,” he said.
Owolabi urged parents, community leaders and religious leaders to always use their parental ability, counselling and preaching to sensitise the youths on the need to be self-productive.
Edited by: Angela Okisor/Adeleye Ajayi
Orphanage appeals for more support for less privileged
Talitha Cumi Orphanage, Federal Housing Authority Nyanya, Abuja, has appealed to well-spirited Nigerians for more support for the less privileged in the society.
Manager of the Orphanage, Pastor Adamson Bolyawa, made the appeal when a group, Praying Women, visited the orphanage on Friday.
He said that one of the greatest challenges confronting the orphanage was the issue of school fees as most of the children were enrolled in schools.
“We call on Nigerians to come to the aid of these children who had either lost a parent or both parents.
“As children, they need the basic necessities of life,” he said.
Bolyawa said that the orphanage was a registered entity but was not a centre for child adoption.
“We don’t do adoption; we see our house as a house of refuge where people are taken off the streets and given better life.
“Some are in the universities and as a Christian home, we inculcate godly virtues in the children,” he said.
On her part, Mother of the Centre, Mrs Keziah Bennett, who expressed gratitude to God and the members for the visit said that the orphanage presently had 41 children within the toddler and teenage age groups.
She noted that the orphanage which started in 2001 had some of the children as graduates from universities across the country.
“All the children in the home are in regular schools and also engaged in skills acquisition.
“We thank God for His faithfulness which has been tremendous through out the years,” she said.
Earlier, while presenting the items ranging from food, clothing and toiletries coordinator of the group, Mrs Bukola Adewumi, said that the visit was part of the group’s mandate in contributing its quota in bringing succour to the less privileged.
While noting that the visit was the seventh edition, Adewumi said that they were at the orphanage to show love to the orphans as part of events heralding Christmas.
“We are here to share with the home out of the abundance God has given us in this season of Christmas.
“We are here to exemplify the teaching of Jesus on love for one another,” she said.
Edited by: Donald Ugwu
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