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Obasanjo working to cause acrimony in Nigeria – ACF

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Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) on Wednesday accused former President Olusegun Obasanjo of deliberately attempting to cause division and acrimony along religious, ethnic and regional lines in the country.

Reacting to Obasanjo’s open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, the ACF said that the former president has continued to predict doom and bloodshed in the country, adding that his conduct was uncivilised.

“ACF appreciates the freedom of expression and the right to hold opinion on all issues as guaranteed by our constitution by individuals or groups as long as it’s within the confines of the law.

“The Forum therefore believed that Chief Obasanjo used this privilege to raise the issues which mostly borders on insecurity in his latest letter.

“It must however be noted that the issues are not new to Nigerians as he had raised them in his previous open letters to the President, so also other Nigerians in different fora.

It noted that Obasanjo has turned himself into “Cassandra-in-chief for Nigeria, always proclaiming doomsday, predicting upheaval and bloodbath, which to say the least has diminished his acclaimed status as a patriot and nationalist.

“As far as the ACF and indeed the North is concerned, Chief Obasanjo lacks the moral standing to make any damning statements against any government considering his antecedents while at the helm of affairs as President.

“His statements and comments on national issues are neither driven by altruism nor by patriotism, but sheer self aggrandizement.

“What, we must ask, motivates Chief Obasanjo’s current divisive activities?

“His recent outburst on ‘Islamization’, Fulanization’, and ‘Northernization’ are clearly calculated at causing division and acrimony along religious, ethnic and regional lines,  which is most unfortunate.

“The former President knows more than any other Nigerian that there is no such thing as Islamization or Fulanization in the North’s agenda.

“Enemies of the North chose to propagate such negative narratives only with the view to causing disharmony among undiscerning Nigerians.

“Unfortunately many, including the highly educated and politically sophisticated elites have unwittingly fallen into the trap of believing in Obasanjo and his ilk.”

The ACF also frowned at the negative stereotyping of Fulani herdsmen and the deliberate and mischievous association of any criminal act to them.

“We find the assertion that every crime committed in, especially the southern part of the country, as being committed by Fulani herdsmen, irresponsible and deliberately aimed at achieving some certain diabolical objectives.

“The narration that every criminal, armed robbers and kidnappers are Fulani herdsmen because a Fulani man is at helm of affairs is a dangerous precedent which has to stop.

“Criminals must be regarded as criminals without giving them any ethnic, religious or regional coloration.

“ACF therefore calls on groups and individuals who engage in such narratives to rise above such pettiness.

“We must realize that insurgency, banditry, kidnappings and armed robbery are our common enemies.

“We must join hands in finding a lasting solution to the menace.”

The forum agreed that the country is currently facing dire security challenges, but said that the challenges were the result of cumulative failures of past administrations.

It appreciated the efforts of military, police and other security agencies in curtailing the menace of insecurity.

The ACF,  however, said the federal government must be more decisive in dealing with the security challenges now being exploited by unpatriotic forces to forge their evil agenda of destabilizing the country.

“The president, more than ever before, should rejig the nation’s security apparatus for effective performance.

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed

General news

Zamfara: DPR cautions filling stations against supplying petrol to bandits

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The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has warned filling stations in Zamfara against supplying petroleum products to bandits.

The Controller, Gusau DPR Field office, Alhaji Ango Haruna gave the warning on Wednesday in Kaura-Namoda while on surveillance of filling stations.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the department also sealed one Liquified Petroleum Gas Refilling Plant in Gusau over some infractions.

The controller said, “today, we intercepted some blackmaketers conveying jerricans loaded will petroleum products in Kaura-Namoda.

“You know it is a tradition in Zamfara that some unpatriotic citizens supply petroleum products to bandits in the bush.

“As you can see, we met four persons at a filling station conveying the product in jerricans going to nearby villages.

“Even though they told us that they are going to some villages where there is no filling station, but we didn’t believe them.

“We won’t allow them to go with the products, we asked them to return the product to the station.

“I am using this medium to warn filling station managers to desist from selling the product to those unpatriotic citizens and if we catch anyone doing that he will be sanctioned.

“We cannot seal the station now because we dont want to create artificial fuel scarcity in this area, because we learnt that it is the only station selling the product here in Kaura-Namoda today”, he explained.

On the LPG Refilling Plant sealed by the department in Gusau, the Controller said the plant was using expired gas cylinders and had no as safety equipment.

“As you can see all the gas cylinders in this plant are expired, water system is not working, infact the plant manager cannot even present a copy of their licence to us.

“The environment of the plant is very bushy and if a customer comes while buying LPG mistakenly throw a away a lighted cigarette butt in this area we wont know what will happen.

“Therefore, we have to suspend them from operation until when they meet up the minimum safety requirement to operate”, he added.

The Controller said that the department would continue the inspection of all facilities selling cooking gas and other to ensure compliance with safety and other regulations.

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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General news

Gov. El-Rufai appoints 8 more aides

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Gov. Nasiru El-Rufai has appointed eight more aides including Ahmed Maiyaki, the spokesman of former Gov. Mukhtar Ramalan-Yero,

A statement signed by Muyiwa Adekeye, Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication, made available to the Nigeria News Agency on Wednesday in Kaduna, said Maiyaki is now Senior Special Assistant (SSA) Community Relations.

Also appointed is Mrs Saude Atoyebi, a former Personal Secretary to the governor, as Kaduna State Focal Person on the National Social Investment Programme.

Others were Umar Yaro, Special Assistant, Social Investment Programme; Mubarak Abdulkadir, Special Assistant, ICT; Rebecca Padonu, Special Assistant, Social Investment Programme, and Adamu Abubakar, Special Assistant, Economic Matters.

The rest include Samuel Hadwyah, Special Assistant, Economic Matters and Umar Abubakar,  Special Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff, Legislative Matters.

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Environment

Surulere Super Plaza gutted by fire in Lagos

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NAN correspondent who was at the scene reports that many of the shop owners were seen packing out their goods, including, furniture, to reduce their losses.

NAN reports that the plaza comprised of many shops and churches including Fountain Hall, Dominion City Worship, Omega Fire Ministries, Textiles and Fabrics, Bureau de Change and Gift Gallery, among others.

A witness, Mr Abayomi Ayelomi, commended the effort of the Lagos State Fire Service and other emergency services who supported in putting out the fire, adding that the building was formally Super Cinema before it was converted to a shopping plaza.

Director General of Lagos Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Oke-Osanyintolu, said that
preliminary investigation conducted on site indicated that the fire resulted from an electrical surge in one of the shops before escalating to other parts of the plaza.

“No loss of life nor injury has been sustained so far at the scene of the fire where properties worth a fortune have been lost to the inferno,” Oke-Osanyintolu said.

Edited by Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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General news

Middle Belt Youth Organization takes peace advocacy to schools

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The Middle Belt Youth Organization, said on Wednesday that it would continue to mobilise students to promote peaceful coexistence among all Nigerians irrespective of religious, ethnic and religious affiliations.

The National President of the organisation, Amb. Victor Enjema stated this during the opening of the 3rd annual interfaith quiz competition for youth in Kaduna.

He said that the organisation had sensitised not less than 200 students on peace and nation building through the teaching of interfaith activities.

According to him, the organization’s main aim is to spread the culture of tolerance, forgiveness and better understanding among Nigerians especially school children.

Enjema said it was important to educate young people on the imporatance of living in peace and harmony with every Nigerian.

He stressed that the quiz competition was also to spread the teaching of peace and tolerance.

“Our aim is to improve relationship, consolidate peace and curb insecurity in northern Nigeria to avoid religious crisis which is tearing us apart.

“Christian and Muslims are worshipping same God, and we are from one family under God.

“We must join hands to unite the entire 19 northern states to save the region from the increasing daily challenges that is setting the entire region backward,” he said.

He expressed the belief that the platform will provide a rallying point for Muslim and Christian students, enhance integration and “provide a common voice that is nationally audible and acceptable by all in the society.”

In her remarks, Chief Anna Avong, Chairperson Dignity for Women, emphasized the importance of promoting peace among students.

She called on religious leaders to enhance efforts toward senstitizing the public on the importance of peace and unity.

Similarly, Hajiya Ramatu Tijjani, an activist, called for the introduction of peace clubs in primary and secondary schools across Nigeria, as well as peace education in schools.

She said it was necessary for students to learn about accommodation, tolerance, forgiveness and understanding of each other irrespective of religious, cultural and ethnic differences.

Tijjani called on the Federal Government to create centres for comparative studies in all states of the country to deepen understanding of the teachings of Islam and Christianity.

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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General news

Malaysia exhibits indigenous cuisine at Abuja expo

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NAN reports that among Malaysian cuisine showcased at the expo were Nasi lemak, kuih lapis, puteri agu, kanpap and sirap selasih which had distinctive health benefits for consumers.

Speaking with NAN at the expo, Mohd Yunus-Ibrahim, Head of Chancery, Malaysia High Commission, Abuja, said his country was endowed with varieties of food, batik and different forms of arts and crafts which were also exhibited.

“Our local cuisines and drinks are highly nutritious, most especially “sirap selasih”, which is prepared with basil seed; it has cooling effect for the body.

“Our foods contain the right proportion of nutrients the body need for energy and growth.

“Malaysia has been famous for preparation and use of high quality batik, this is another aspect of our culture we want Nigerians and other countries to patronise,” he said.

Yunus-Ibrahim also expressed his love for Nigerian cuisines like Egusi, Moinmoin, Amala and the local drink called kunu-Aya which he said were well garnished with the right spices and delicious.

He urged Nigerians to project more of their cuisines to the world which were capable of putting the nation on the global tourism map if well exhibited and marketed.

According to the Malaysian envoy, Nigeria is well endowed with tourism potential but those potential had not been properly developed and exhibited for the world to see.

He said that with Nigeria’s enormous tourism potential, Nigeria should be listed with Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa as tourists’ preferred destinations.

“We are here to see how we can work with Nigeria to showcase its tourism potential as we also showcase ours.

“I have been living in Nigeria with my family for four years now and I know Nigeria has one of the best crafts and tourist sites.

”I want every Nigerian to work in promoting these tourism potentialities for international patronage.

“Tourism in Malaysia generates huge revenue for the country.

”Malaysia attracted over 30 million visitors in 2018 and Nigeria can achieve more than this as well,” he said.

The theme of the expo, organised by National Council for Arts and Culture, is: “Networking Nigerian Crafts to the World”.

Edited by Chidinma Agu/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Economy

120 SMEs for Lagos MegaCity Fair — Organiser

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No fewer than 120 small businesses from across the country are expected to participate in this year’s Megacity Fair which opens on Friday at Amuwo Odofin Festival Mall in Lagos.

Convener of the Fair, Ifeoma Emenahi, told journalists in Lagos on Wednesday that the three-day event would offer free master classes for women to acquire new skills that would empower them financially.

She said that the 8th edition of the Fair, tagged, ‘Black Friday Sales’, was aimed at supporting vendors and small businesses to network and showcase Made-in-Nigeria products.

“The event this year is not just for the visitors to come and buy, but also for them to come and learn, adding value to themselves.

“We want to empower the women with skills by teaching them how to make headgear like facinators, auto gele and turbans.

“There’s also a master class where they will be taught how to make accessories using Ankara fabrics; all these will be taught for free,” she said.

She added that the Fair would also feature red carpet events, raffle draws, games and bouncy castles to keep the visitors entertained.

“If visitors come to the fair and they find it dull, they won’t come back again but if they are entertained, they’ll be happy to stay,” Emenahi, said.

Edited by Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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