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Steer clear of politics, you are not a political party, Arewa pastors tell CAN



Arewa Pastors Non-Denominational Initiative for Peace, a Pan Northern Vanguard of Christian Clerics on Thursday cautioned the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to steer clear of politics because it is not a political party.

Bishop John Richard, National Chairman Arewa Pastors Non-Denominational Initiative for Peace made the call while briefing newsmen in Abuja.

Richard said in the past weeks CAN dabbled into high sensitive national security issues that could set the country on fire.

“Most worrisome is the fact that the issue are not in their field of operation as clergymen,” he said.

He said that CAN had also attacked the person of the President Muhammadu Buhari and fought his administration by publishing comments on the suspended Ruga settlement, Fulanis and even petitioned the United Nations raising false alarm.

He said the group made several moves to reach out to CAN leadership but all effort ended in futility hence the need to sensitise Nigerians that religious bodies are being hijacked by politicians.

“God knows why he designed Nigeria like this, to be mixed up with two major religions; even God will not force anyone to be converted, so why become fanatical?

“It was not like years back, all these situation you are seeing now started in 1999 when they military era was over and politicians came in so they felt that they could use religious leaders to gain political votes.

“In 1993 when chief MKO Abiola contested for president, he and his running mate, Mr Babangana Kingibe were Muslims so it was a Muslim Muslim ticket.

“CAN has been existing as far back as 1976 and they did not talk then, there is an objective that formed CAN they were focused until when these politicians came in and now hijacked the leadership ,’’ he said.

Richard said that politicians are using religious bodies for their personal gains, as most of their comments have political undertone.

He said that the group is asking CAN leadership to apologise to the Nigerian Christians for going against the objectives that formed the association.

“We are asking them to resign their positions for allowing themselves to be used by politicians,” he said.

He appealed to Nigerians to reject calls for religious anarchy and called on security agents to call CAN leadership to order especially regarding utterances of the leadership on sensitive national security issues.

Richard said that the mandate of Arewa Pastors Non-Denominational Initiative for Peace is to campaign against hate speech among others.

“The mandate of Arewa Pastors Non-Denominational Initiative for Peace is to campaign against hate speech, to engage in crusade for religious tolerance, to encourage good governance and stand for peaceful co-existence and unity of the country,” he said..

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APC primary: Steer clear of Ondo politics, group tells Gov. Fayemi



A group, Ondo State Progressives Network, has urged Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti to steer clear of the July 20 All Progressives Congress (APC) primary in the state.

The Coordinator of the group, Mr Tunde Ajayi, made the call in a statement on Monday in Akure.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that there had been calls for  Direct Primary to Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu by opposing camps within the All Progressive Congress (APC).

Ajayi said that there have been pressure on the leadership of the APC to impose indirect mode of primary against the wishes of majority of the party member in the state.

“The attention of the Ondo State Progressives Network has been drawn to series of moves to lure some national leaders of the APC and some governors to mount pressure on the national working committee to announce an indirect primaries for the election.

“The Network, therefore, advise that  leaders of the party in Ondo State and at the national level should be allowed to act appropriately.

“The group also condemn any move which will thwart the unity of the party in the state,” he said.

The coordinator advised Akeredolu to adopt the party’s leadership process rather than seeking to get an indirect primary process.

“We further appeal to the leadership of the party and members of the national working committee not to be intimidated.

“Only a direct primary process in the party’s guber primary can restore the hope of APC faithful in the state and move the party to the next level,” Ajayi said.

Meanwhile, Ondo State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Donald Ojogo, earlier in a statement, said that the governor was not afraid of direct primary.

“First and foremost, we have not come out as a government that we are opposed to direct primary; neither had the governor expressed aversion to  same.

“We’re not afraid of any mode of primary. I will want the public to know that the call for direct primary is to put out narrative that the governor is opposed to direct primary. In fact, we’ll even prefer a direct primary.

“For those who clamour for direct primary, the message to them is that Akeredolu is more prepared for any mode of primary than those who clamour for it,” Ojogo said.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Osinbajo inaugurates Clean Nigeria Steering Committee



Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday performed the virtual inauguration of the Steering Committee of the “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign.”

Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, in a statement, said the vice president is the chairman of the committee.

The virtual inauguration was anchored from the Presidential Villa.

The Federal Government is expanding access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities being one of Nigeria’s most effective weapons against infectious diseases as efforts are being ramped up to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

The event was attended by members of the committee drawn from the Federal Executive Council, states, local government areas, civil society ogranisations and the organised private sector.

“We are embarking upon this initiative at a most auspicious time; as our nation confronts the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognise that expanding access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities is our most effective weapon against the scourge of infectious diseases.

“Ensuring the provision of adequate WASH facilities in our communities is the cornerstone of our efforts to strengthen the resilience of our public health structures beyond the present challenge of COVID-19.

“This is the basis of our commitment to ending open defecation and more broadly to raising the standards in the WASH sector,” he said.

Osinbajo spoke on the progress made since the adoption and implementation of the national road map for WASH in 2016.

He said that more local governments across the country had so far been certified as Open Defecation Free according to the National Open Defecation Free (ODF) Protocol.

“The key objectives of this effort include the implementation of a campaign to end open defecation in Nigeria by 2025.

“This will involve mobilising support and resources (i) at the highest political level and (ii) within the private sector, the communities and from development partners.”

The vice president said that the campaign on sanitation and hygiene in Nigeria would create a pool of resource persons to support local actors to implement this nationwide transformational sanitation agenda.

According to him, thecampaign will mobilise various strata of the society to imbibe a new culture of safe sanitation through behavioural change communication and advocacy strategies.

He said mechanisms for tracking progress and sharing knowledge and lessons learnt would be established.

On the terms of reference for the steering committee, Osinbajo said the group would meet bi-annually to, among other things, provide strategic oversight to the implementation of the Clean Nigeria Campaign.

“The committee will oversee and advise on the implementation and strategic orientation proposed by the Clean Nigeria Secretariat to execute the campaign.

“Facilitate maximum synergy between the Clean Nigeria Secretariat and other relevant government agencies including security and law enforcement agencies and stakeholders towards meeting the campaign objectives.

“Facilitate access of the Clean Nigeria Secretariat to technical and financial resources for effective implementation of the campaign.

“Receive and review progress reports of implementation of the campaign.

“Ensure that results of the campaign monitoring outcomes are well communicated to all stakeholders.’’

The vice president commended the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and other partners.

He lauded them for their engagements towards achieving the campaign objectives as approved by the Federal Executive Council and in line with the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) for Water and Sanitisation.

Members of the committee include the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Mr Kayode Fayemi, Chairman, Senate Committee on Water Resources, Sen. Bello Mandiya and Chairman, House Committee on Water Resources, Sada Soli.

Also in the committee are the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed; Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Sabo Nanono.

Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Paulen Tallen, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk,  Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu and Minister of Federal Capital Territory Administration, Mohammed Bello.

The Director-General, National Orientation Agency, Mr Garba Abari, SSA to the President on SDGs, Mrs Adejoke Adefulire, Representative of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) and Representative of Organised Private Sector in WASH (OPSWASH), Dr Nicholas Igwe.

Others are Representatives of Network of NGOs in Water and Sanitation, Mr Benson Attah and Director, Water Quality Control and Sanitation, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Mr Emmanuel Awe.

The Special Assistant to the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Taoheed Amusan, is also a member of the committee.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)


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Myanmar forms national steering unit to support volunteers amid COVID-19 outbreak




The Myanmar government has formed a national volunteer steering unit to support the welfare of volunteers participating in the fight against COVID-19 across the country, according to an official of the President’s Office late Saturday.

Chaired by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, the steering unit comprises of representatives from ministry-level bodies.

“The steering unit will supervise the activities by national volunteer corps which are to be formed in the regions and states,” Zaw Htay, spokesperson of the President’s Office told Xinhua.

The unit is assigned to supervise the survey of the number of volunteers who are working or who are applying to work at township quarantine centers, the needs at such quarantine centers, while providing support in acquiring fund for the volunteers.

The unit will also supervise the provision of accommodation, transportation, health measures, medical supplies and trainings to the volunteers to boost the fight against COVID-19.

Myanmar has reported 144 COVID-19 cases with five deaths as of Saturday.

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IMF steering committee says will review adequacy of IMF resources



The steering committee of the International Monetary Fund said it would continue to review the adequacy of the global lender’s resources as it works to help its 189 member countries respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

The committee said this on Thursday.

In a joint statement, the 24-member International Monetary and Financial Committee reaffirmed its commitment to a strong, quota-based and adequately resourced Fund, and said the IMF should draw on relevant experience from previous crises.

“We remain committed to revisiting the adequacy of quotas and continuing the process of IMF governance reform under the 16th General Review of Quotas, including a new quota formula as a guide, by December 15, 2023,” the committee said.


Edited By: Halima Sheji/Tajudeen Atitebi (NAN)



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Akeredolu advises residents to steer clear of explosion site



Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has urged residents to steer clear of Saturday’s explosion site at Ilu Abo on the Akure-Owo express way.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that a truck laden with dynamites being transported to Edo from Lagos State had developed a fault and exploded around 1am.

The governor, who visited the scene of the explosion on Saturday, said the destruction caused by the explosion could only be imagined, advising residents to allow the bomb squad to do its job.

“I have had thorough briefing from head of our security agencies and the preliminary reports received was that it was an accidental discharge of explosives that was in transit through Ondo state to another state where it was needed.

“We will advise all citizens, all residents of Ondo State, not to come near this place at all, they should vacate and move out of this premises.

“As we are told, the vehicle that was carrying this explosives is buried in the crater it created, so we never know what number of explosives are left.

“Let everybody give the police, the bomb squad, space to do their work and we will know what to do,” he said.

He urged residents not to forget that the coronavirus was still raging, urging residents to avoid crowded areas.

“Right here where we are standing, we are not safe, tell the people to move back and allow police to bring out the vehicle that is buried there,” he said.

No casualty had been reported as at the time of filing this report.

Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Mufutau Ojo)

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Rivers inaugurates steering committee for state’s participation at Edo 2020



The Rivers Government on Monday inaugurated a five-man Steering Committee for Team Rivers ahead of the upcoming 20th National Sports Festival (NSF) in Benin City, tagged “Edo 2020”.

Boma Iyaye, the Rivers Commissioner for Sports, while inaugurating the committee in Port Harcourt charged the members to ensure that the state’s team performed well at Edo 2020.

Iyaye stated that, as terms of reference, the committee should ascertain the number of sports Team Rivers would participate in and the athletes.

He also urged the members to look at the terms of engagements with the athletes if there were contractual obligations the Ministry of Sports must meet.

“Most importantly, you have to ensure that the athletes are well motivated to make Rivers proud,” the commissioner said.

According to Iyaye, the inauguration of the steering committee, aside the State’s Sports Council, was to ensure that the objectives of the government and people of Rivers were met.

“I commend the Sports Council. They have done a lot, even without a Commissioner and Permanent Secretary, to make sure that the athletes are in tact.”

Chairman of the Committee and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Sports, Honour Sirawoo, commended and thanked the commissioner on behalf of the members.

Sirawoo assured the Rivers Government that they would carry out the assignment without letting the state down.

Other members of committee were Mildred Hart, the acting Director of Rivers Sports Council, Chioma Christopher, the Festival Secretary, Team Rivers, and Opakriba Harry, the Head of Coaches, Team Rivers.

Sepribo Nimifa-a, the Special Assistant to the Commissioner for Sports, will serve as Secretary.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo and Olawale Alabi)

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Sports minister inaugurates steering committee to fast track sports investment



Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare has inaugurated a Steering Committee of the Sports Industry Working Group (SIWG) to attract investors and transform the sports Industry.

The minister while inaugurating the committee on Thursday in Abuja stressed the need for sports to be seen as big business and not just for leisure.

The Committee, which is a Public Private Dialogue (PPD) platform, is charged with the mandate to create effective synergy between the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG).

Dare said the Committee, which is made up of a 14-member committee of equal number representative from the public and private sectors will synergise to create the right environment and formulate policies to drive sports investment and development.

‘’For us as a country the greatest challenge we have faced is that sports is not taken as a business,

“And because sport is not business that is why a country like Nigeria has to start ‘Adopt an Athlete’s Fund’ to raise funds for the athletes because government fund is totally insufficient,” Dare said.

He expressed optimism that the measure will lay the foundation to fast track sports development in the country.

Earlier, the Co-chairman (Private Sector) of the SIWG, Mr Ufot Udeme said the public private partnership will turn the sports sector into a catalyst for economic and national development.

He pledged the commitment of the private sector to Nigeria’s sports industrialisation in line with international best practice.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza

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Abia CP warns IPOB to steer clear from burial of Kanu’s parents



Th Abia police command on Monday warned the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to steer clear from the burial of Eze Israel Kanu and his wife, Sally, both parents of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Ene Okon, who gave the warning in an interview with newsmen in Umuahia, said that the command would disrupt the funeral should IPOB attend the ceremony.

Federal Government in September 2017 proscribed IPOB, following an order of a Federal High Court, Abuja, declaring the group as a terrorist organisation.

He said that the command had made its position clear to the Traditional Prime Minister of Afara-Ukwu Ancient Kingdom, the community of the decessed.

He said that he would not fold his hands and watch a proscribed group operate in the state.

“If they fail to adhere to what we have told them, it means they do not want the burial to go on smoothly because we are going to scatter the place.

“IPOB is proscribed by the federal government and I, as the commissioner of police in Abia, cannot sit here and allow any proscribed group to operate anywhere in this state.

“I am saying this again for emphasis that there is no way police will allow a proscribed group to participate in the burial,” Okon said.

According to him, the command will not take anything for granted, considering the abundant intelligence on threat by IPOB.

He said that members of the group were free to attend the burial as individuals and sympathisers like other members of society.

The police chief, however, warned that the command would react, “if IPOB flag, insignia or any form of identification of the organisation if seen at the burial”.

Nigeria News Agency reports that Kanu escaped from Nigeria, after the group was proscribed as a terrorist organisation.

Kanu’s mother reportedly died in a German hospital in August, 2019, while his father died in December.

They will be buried on Friday, February 14 in their country home in Afaraukwu Ibeku in Umuahia North Local Government Area of the state.

Edited By: Sam Oditah)

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Steer clear of Ondo coastal areas during Yuletide, Navy warn criminals



The Nigerian Navy has warned criminals to steer clear of the Ondo State coast line as it was battle ready to stem criminal activities ahead of the Yuletide.

Commodore Danjuma Ndanusa, Commanding Officer, Nigerian Navy, Forward Operation Base (FOB), Igbokoda, Ondo State, issued the warning while speaking with the Nigeria News Agency on Monday.

He said that his men were stationed at designated areas in the riverine communities in Ondo coastal areas to ensure tight security and rid its water-ways of illegalities and criminalities.

Ndanusa said such activities included bunkering, oil theft, kidnapping, piracy, ritual killings and other social vices on the waterways.

The Navy boss who assured residents of the riverine areas of optimal security, urged them to always be law abiding and cooperate with the security agencies in order to bring criminal activities to a standstill.

“We swore to protect the sovereignty of the country and its waterways for legal businesses to thrive, that is why we are always ready.

“Our Internal Security (IS) Team, gunboats and other gadgets are stationed at designated areas on the Ondo coast line and riverine communities in order to ensure the safety of residents both on land and waterways.

“We are not resting our oars to ensure the waterways are free from bunkering, oil theft, illegal refining, kidnapping, piracy ritual killings and other vices, so no safe haven for them on Ondo coastal line.

“I urge residents of these communities to be law abiding, cooperate with us and other security agencies by reporting criminals and their activities for us to do it together,” he said.

Ndanusa thanked the state government for donating 10 patrol boats to the command and sought cooperation of the Police and other community leaders in order to stem crime in the area.

He also thanked the Naval Headquarters for approving the construction of five gunboats, set to be delivered in December to further ease their operations.

He urged the state government, through its Amnesty programme, to honor its agreement with ex-militants who had surrender their arms and ammunition.

Edited by: Modupe Adeloye/Wale Ojetimi


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