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119 Villages Abolish Osu Caste System Practice In Nsukka

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119 Villages Abolish Osu Caste System Practice In Nsukka
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The 119 villages in the nine autonomous communities in Nsukka town, Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State, Wednesday, formalised the eradication of Osu Caste system in their communities.

The decision which was taken by the monarchs, town unions and other traditional institutions in the communities in collaboration with the Initiative for the Eradication of Traditional and Cultural Stigmatization in our Society, IFETACSIOS, was capped up with an interdenominational prayer session cum declarations and ‘Isu Oho’ by the chief priests and ‘Akpuraruas’ from the three quarters which make up Nsukka town.

Speaking during the interdenominational prayer session at the St. John’s Primary School, Ugwuorie, Nsukka, the Catholic bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Most Rev. Godffrey Onah, condemned the reprehensive traditional practice.

Quoting Galatians 3:28, the clergy explained that there was no need for discriminatory practices amongst people created by God.

The bishop who was represented by the Cathedral Administrator, Rev Fr. Eugene Odo, also said “this is the first of its kind in Nsukka cultural zone. There cannot be development amidst strife and discrimination. The Osu caste system needs to be eradicted to enable all memebers of the society contribute their quota in moving the communities forward because we cannot make progress when we discriminate against ourselves,” the cleric said.

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He also called for other communities within the Nsukka cultural zone to emulate Nsukka town by initiating steps towards ending harmful cultural practices that are anti people.

Speaking to journalists during the event, the President General of Nsukka Town Union, Chief Joseph Onyeke, while commending the nine autonomous communities in Nsukka town for the landmark achievement, said “By history, we cannot forget the efforts of our noble men and women like William Wilberforce, Mary Slessor who, about 200 years ago, volunteered their lives to make sure slave trade was abolished. Even though they achieved great height in securing legal freedom for the enslaved, some deprivations remained in practice till this day.

“In practice, discriminations have continued even in this part of the continent. They include denials of intermarriage, title-taking_Oha and Umuada, placement of Oho and Oduatu together and ascending to the height of ‘Onyeishi Aruah among others. The consequences of the above were restiveness and underdevelopment in all sectors of life.

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“In Nsukka town, the crises of 1946-1955 regarding the discrimination practices worsened the matter, and ever since then, the problems were managed and never solved,” he said.

Also in his remarks, the traditional ruler of Ihe Nsukka Autonomous Community, HRH, Igwe George Asadu said , that Osu was a creation of humans and not God.

“The segregation lives here on earth and not in heaven. Even the Bible upholds all humans as equal before God,” he said.

He also said that with the eradication of Osu caste system, there would be hitch free intermarriage and equal economic rights which hitherto were not the case before now.

His counterpart of Owerre Nsukka Autonomous Community, HRH, Igwe Emeka Ugwu, said he was happy over the development, adding that he was the first monarch in Nsukka cultural zone to initiate the move towards the abolishment of the discriminatory practices.

In his contribution, the Visioner and Coordinator of IFETACSIOS, Nwada Stella Ogechukwu, while expressing her joy over the abolishment of the practice said “I take full cognizance of other communities that have abolished the caste system, but I call the Nsukka people the pace setters because you came together in strength, might and love to jettison the evil practice.

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“I know the kind of efforts that go into achieving such a milestone. Your actions towards achieving this feat are commendable and worthy of emulation,” she said.

Earlier in his address, the chairman of the committee on Total Eradication of Discrimination between Ohu and Amu in Nsukka Town, Barr Peter Odo, described the development as a new dawn in the communities.

“After elaborate deliberations, it was unanimously agreed that the discriminatory practices between ‘Osu and Amu’ be totally eradicated and eliminated,” he announced.

He said that the committee set up to effect the abolishment came up with three solutions of “appeasement, compensation and reparation, adding that those who felt wronged and those whose forefathers may have also wronged others have fully forgiven one another.

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₦17 Billion Paris Club Refund Landed Obiano On EFCC’s Watch List

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₦17 Billion Paris Club Refund Landed Obiano On EFCC’s Watch List
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₦17 Billion Paris Club Refund Landed Obiano On EFCC’s Watch List

Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, was placed on a watchlist by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for allegedly mismanaging over N17 billion Paris Club refund and security vote, investigations by Saturday PUNCH have revealed.

Our correspondent gathered that the governor who is presently out of the country had been under investigation for carrying out various white elephant, including the Umueri International Airport project which cost was believed to be inflated.

It was learnt that the EFCC had earlier invited some commissioners and principal officers over the alleged mismanagement of the state funds.

The Federal Government had shared N388.3bn among the 36 states and the Federal Capital as part of the reimbursement for the over-deduction on the Paris Club loan in December 2016.

Seven states reportedly got above N14bn, four states got over N13bn, two states received above N11bn and five other states were given amounts above N10bn while the remaining 11 states got less than N10bn each.

Anambra State was said to have received N11.3bn.

The state governments had submitted their claims of over-deductions for external debt service arising between 1995 and 2002 to the Federal Government due to the First Line Charge deductions from Federation Account Allocation Committee allocations.

The debt service deductions concern the Paris Club, London Club and multilateral debts of the Federal Government and the states.

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Many of the states reportedly shared their portions with their local governments mostly to settle the backlog of salaries and some of the state debts.

The FG subsequently released the second tranche of the Paris Club refund totalling N243.7bn which was shared to the states and the Federal Capital Territory following the approval of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) on May 4, 2017.

Anambra State reportedly got over N6bn from the fund which was said to have been misappropriated.

The state’s loan burden under Obiano was also said to have ballooned to $111.48million. The facility was taken from China, India and other international organisations.

Many citizens of Anambra State were said to have petitioned the EFCC, accusing the governor of allegedly frittering away the huge sums of money left behind by his predecessor, Mr Peter Obi.

They also accused the governor of burdening the state with debts without much to show for it.

The anti-graft agency had in a letter dated November 15, 2021 placed the outgoing governor on its watchlist and directed the Nigeria Immigration Service to stop him from leaving the nation through any of the international airports in the country.

The commission was said to have commenced a discreet investigation of the governor and possibly have intelligence that he plans to escape after he hands over power to his successor, Prof Charles Soludo, in March.

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Obi reportedly left billions of naira in the state’s coffers for his predecessor while handing over in 2014.

During a face-off with Obiano, the former People’s Democratic Party Vice Presidential candidate in the 2019 elections claimed he left N2.1bn in First Bank account no. 2018779464 for Oko erosion; N4.9bn in Sure-P Diamond account 0026290200; N1.7bn in Universal Basic Education Commission 1 Diamond account 0023484282; N2.1bn in UBEC 2 Diamond account 0031151473; over N4bn in many MDG accounts one of which was the N3.048bn in Fidelity Bank 5030047097 and over N35bn cash (set aside funds added) in all the banks.

Obiano also reportedly inherited $156 million in Fidelity Bank, $50m in Diamond Bank and another $50m in Access Bank, which sources said was mismanaged.

The Governor was also accused of not developing the state as residents complained of bad roads and the absence of infrastructure.

A source said, “Take the Umueri international airport, which was being built at N16 billion. The state government initially budgeted N6billion for the project in its 2020 budget. In the 2022 budget, it allocated an additional N10bn for the same project which was located in his hometown.

“Investigators believe the project was being used to launder and siphon money from the state coffers. Apart from this, the governor is expected to explain how he utilised the Paris Club funds, the security vote and other allocations when he meets with our investigators because the money he spent doesn’t seem to be commensurate with the projects on the ground.”

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But the state Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Don Adinuba, claimed that the EFCC’s move against his boss was politically motivated by the All Progressives Congress.

Speaking on Politics Today, a current affairs programme on Channels Television on Thursday, he stated, “Nobody invited him (the governor) to interrogate him or hear his side of the story. No petition was presented to him. He did not make any comments. But all of a sudden, the EFCC announced rather secretly…using the media as a third party…to announce that he is being watched. That is very surprising.

“There is absolutely no reason for that. And worse, the EFCC gave the impression that the governor wants to bolt away when he has a whole four months to remain in office.

“It is unimaginable that a governor will abandon a state a whole four months to the end of his tenure. That is surprising. It just does not make sense to anyone simply because the whole exercise is politically motivated.”

The EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, declined to comment on Adinuba’s allegations when contacted on Friday. “I don’t comment on such things,” he said on the phone.

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Garba Shehu: Buhari Deserves Credit For Tackling Insecurity

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Garba Shehu: Buhari Deserves Credit For Tackling Insecurity
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Garba Shehu: Buhari Deserves Credit For Tackling Insecurity

Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammad Buhari on Media and Publicity, said the president deserves credit for tackling insecurity, especially Boko Haram and farmer/herder crisis

Shehu made this claim on Friday while presenting a paper, tagged ‘Fake news: Challenges of information management’, at the 10th anniversary of the Federal University Dutsin-Ma (FUDMA), in Katsina State.

“It is a fact that the Buhari administration is the only government of Nigeria that has put forward a workable solution to the herder-farmer challenge in all the years since independence.

“The threat to civilians and peaceful co-existence between different ethnic and religious groups from farmer-herders clashes, banditry and land disputes are of serious concern to the Buhari government.

“It is incorrect, however, to assert that the government has or is doing nothing to address the threats.

“Firstly, there are ongoing efforts for the establishment of cattle ranches to prevent or curtail open grazing, the practice that brings herders and farmers into conflict.

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“This is an age-old problem facing Nigerian Governments since the colonial days. However, matters of land distribution are dealt with at the state level.

“This means willingness has to be shown by state governors to drive the process forward. The Federal government launched a plan last year to work with states to address these issues together.

“Unfortunately, this has been lacking in some states, and with regards to the long and determined battle waged against Boko Haram, Nigerians are aware of the efforts made by this Government.

“When the government came to power, the terrorist group held and administered an area the size of Belgium. Now they hold none. The terrorists are hiding out amongst remote forests and across borders.

“This makes it difficult to extinguish the final flames of the insurgency, and the government has no illusions of the potent threat still posed.

“Recent statistics have shown that over 14,500 Boko haram members have voluntarily surrendered.

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“However, the progress made cannot be denied. In the face of rising crime and insecurity, the government’s new community policing initiative was launched.

“Some 10,000 new constables were recruited and the process is on for another 10,000 to be recruited from the areas they will safeguard as opposed to past practice.

“The government hopes this will bring policing closer to local communities. N13 billion was earmarked for the initial initiative. Going by the plan, every year will see an additional 10,000 policemen.

“It is an opinion that the president’s comments on IPOB, which led the banning of Twitter in Nigeria was controversial. For many, it was not.

“President Buhari has therefore been warning against social media disruptive and divisive influences, and the government’s action is not a knee-jerk reaction to Twitter’s preposterous deletion of his tweet which should have been read in full.

“The tweet was not a threat, but a statement of fact. As a terrorist organisation, IPOB poses a significant threat to the safety and security of Nigerian citizens.

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“When the President said that they will be treated “in a language they understand,” he merely reiterated that their force shall be met with force. It is a basic principle of security services response world over.

“This is not a promotion of hate, but a pledge to uphold citizens’ right to freedom from harm. The government cannot be expected to capitulate to terrorists,” according to Shehu.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Vice-Chancellor (VC) of the University, Prof. Armaya’u Hamisu-Bichi, said it is a great pleasure to witness a decade of existence of the institution.

“It is not an easy task to develop an institution from the scratch to its present level, saying it is the best among other universities FUDMA was established together with.

He also narrated the challenges the university’s management has passed through in the past 10 years before it attained its present status.

The university, during the event, rewarded some of its staff for their commitments and dedication to duty.

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Sheikh Gumi: Declaration Of Bandits As Terrorists Won’t Change Anything

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Sheikh Gumi: Declaration Of Bandits As Terrorists Won’t Change Anything
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Sheikh Gumi: Declaration Of Bandits As Terrorists Won’t Change Anything

Declaring bandits as terrorists is just a decision taken for political expediency, renowned Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has said.

According to him, “I think the Federal Government has succumbed to media blackmail by a section of the country.

“It will not have any practical value because even before the declaration they are being fought and treated as terrorists.”

The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court had declared proscribed bandit groups as terrorists.

Specifically, the court, in a ruling that was delivered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, held that activities of Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda bandit groups, constitute acts of terrorism.

In a statement issued by Malam Tukur Mamu ,the Dan-Iyan Fika and Media Consultant to Sheikh Gumi, the Muslim scholar said: “So it’s just a nomenclature which I believe will not change the dynamics on ground.

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“If you can remember, IPOB was also declared a terrorist organisation. The declaration was even backed by the order of the Court, but as you can see even the international community did not recognise FG’s declaration on IPOB.

“So it has failed to be effective or to achieve the desired results.

“They have not been banned from travelling to other countries, while their citizenship remains intact; it has not been denounced. “So what type of declaration is that?

“I sincerely hope that Nigerians will not take the herdsmen as terrorists, but should regard the criminality of the few among them against innocent people as acts of terrorism just as we see IPOB and their attacks on security agencies and other northern citizens as acts of terrorism.

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“Very few herdsmen are bandits if you go through their population.

“I hope this declaration will not give the licence to people to be profiling herdsmen in general as terrorists and taking laws into their hands against them.

“It will cause more mayhem. The declaration will not change anything, it will not change the dynamics. Already the military is engaging them.

“It didn’t stop them from kidnappings and killings. The declaration will not end their aggression against the society.

‘It is a socio-political problem’
“The Fulani banditry is a socio-economic problem. We have seen it, we interacted widely with them.

“We told the federal government the way out. It can only be won through engagement, dialogue and justice.

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“That is why today there is relative peace in the Niger Delta because government have accepted the painful reality of rehabilitating and empowering them.

“There has to be equitable distribution of wealth in Nigeria and justice for every one.

“People don’t want to accept it. Before the issue of banditry that now affects all of us, the Fulani have suffered so much.

“They have lost their legitimate means of livelihood; I mean their cows through cattle rustling and extortion by security agencies.

“That has to be addressed as a means of genuine reconciliation and integration. They should have sense of belonging,” Gumi said.

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