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Buhari should have spoken with Biden, not US Secretary –Kukah

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Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, says Nigerian President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), should have spoken with his American counterpart, Joe Biden, last week, and not US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken.

The fiery cleric, however, said “half bread is better than nothing”, adding that the meeting is a sign that Nigeria is going somewhere.

Kukah spoke at the 2021 edition of The Platform, an annual conference organised by the Senior Pastor of the Covenant Christian Centre, Lagos, Poju Oyemade.

Buhari in a virtual meeting on Tuesday met Blinken and had asked for the support of the Biden administration to tackle the security menace in Nigeria.

Buhari, who warned of a likely spill over of insecurity to neighbouring West African states, also called on the US to consider relocating US Africa Command from Stuttgart, Germany, to Africa, nearer the Theatre of Operation.

Speaking on Saturday, Kukah said, “Of course, all of us are angry but in my view, the challenge therefore is what kind of palliative do we need to calm our nerves and I am not talking here of the palliatives in the way and manner that we understand them but something needs to happen to send out a signal to Nigerians that things are under control.

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“With the fact that we have the US Secretary of State speaking to us virtually, we would have preferred that our President spoke to the President of America rather than the Secretary of State but anyway, half bread is better than nothing.

“I want to assure that this is a sign that we are going somewhere but we need to quickly get our people together, the need to rally our people together both to support government and otherwise is very urgent and we cannot do this if our country is divided between those who love the party and those who don’t love the party. We are in a democracy and we want to believe that this democracy has to be nurtured and the best we can do is not to subvert the process but to continue to uphold the ideals before those who are in power.”

“On the issue of Nigerians dying, government has come very short and this is what is increasing the pain, the agony, the sorrow of people that we are dying alone, burying our people alone and all we get are just simple statements that really say nothing to us. The lack of empathy and the deployment of empathy have two consequences.

“Government must have a sense of empathy and I have said this severally and I do not mean anything negative and everywhere you turn, this is what Nigerians are saying that people are dying and you do not get a sense that those who govern us understand our pain because we have not seen them on condolence visits.

“Empathy is not sympathy, empathy is at the heart of who we are as human being; it is the feeling of the sorrow, of the pain of the other person, indeed, entering the skin of the other person, it does not bring healing meeting but there is a certain kind of psychological comfort that it gives,” the cleric added.

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Leadership

Eid: Buhari asks Nigerians to pray against banditry, kidnapping

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Wednesday asked Nigerians to pray against kidnapping, banditry and blackmail.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President made the call in his Eid-il-Fitr message.

The statement was titled ‘On the occasion of Eid, President Buhari calls for unity and solidarity’.

Shehu quoted the President as saying, “On this blessed occasion, I wish that the Eid festival brings with it peace, safety, security, brotherhood and love amongst all.

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“Unity and solidarity among all citizens, Muslims and Christians are imperative especially at a time when our country is faced with multiple challenges which are surmountable only when we come together as one.

“It is important that we remember how we share, through our faiths, common bonds that should serve to unite us and not allow ourselves to succumb to those who seek to divide us, using our two great religions, for their own selfish advantages.

“We should jointly pray against the tragic incidents of kidnapping and banditry and the desperate quest for political power expressed through blackmail against the existence of our country as a united entity.

“We must resist the temptation to retreat into our communities. I urge our political and religious leaders as well as traditional rulers to encourage our citizens to turn towards one another in love and compassion.”

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Leadership

Insecurity: Southern Governors ban open grazing, ask Buhari to address nation

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The governors in 17 states of the southern part of Nigeria have demanded the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to address Nigerians on the challenges of insecurity and restore the confidence of the people.

The Forum stated this in a 12-point communique read by its Chairman, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, at the end of its four hours meeting held in Asaba, the Delta State capital.

The governors affirmed that the people of Southern Nigeria remain committed to the unity of Nigeria on the basis of justice, fairness, equity, oneness, and peaceful co-existence between and among its peoples with a focus on the attainment of shared goals for economic development and prosperity.

He said, “Southern Governors expressed very grave concern on the security challenges currently plaguing the nation and strongly urged that Mr. President should address Nigerians on the challenges of insecurity and restore the confidence of our people.

“We observed that the incursion of armed herders, criminals, and bandits into the Southern part of the country has presented a severe security challenge such that citizens are not able to live their normal lives including pursuing various productive activities leading to a threat to food supply and general security.

“Consequently, the meeting resolved that open grazing of cattle be banned across Southern Nigeria.

“Agreed that the progress of the nation requires that urgent and bold steps be taken to restructure the Nigerian Federation leading to the evolution of state police, review of revenue allocation formula in favour of the sub-national governments and creation of other institutions which legitimately advance our commitment to and practice of true federalism.

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“In view of widespread agitations among our various peoples for greater inclusiveness in existing governance arrangements, the Federal Government should convoke a national dialogue as a matter of urgency.”

The forum expressed concern about the continued gridlock on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway.

The meeting, therefore, recommended the activation and establishment of ports in other states of the federation to create new jobs and promote socio-economic activities in the country.

The Southern Governors also expressed concern on the economic implications of another lockdown on the country and therefore suggested greater coordination and cooperation between Federal and State Governments in evolving strategies for dealing with the pandemic.

Fifteen governors were in attendance at the meeting.

They are Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Dr Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), and Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos).

Others are Douye Diri (Bayelsa), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), David Umahi (Ebonyi), Willie Obiano (Anambra). Imo and Akwa Ibom States were represented by their deputy governors, while Osun and Cross Rivers states were absent at the meeting.

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Business

Buhari sends delegation to Ghana over Nigerian traders’ plight

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has directed that a ministerial delegation be sent to Ghana to resolve the prolonged conflict between Nigerian traders and Ghanaian authorities.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, disclosed this on Monday.

According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Ifedayo Sayo, the minister spoke at a meeting.

The statement was titled, ‘FG delegation to visit Ghana over Nigerian traders’ conflict with Ghanaian counterparts.’

“President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that a ministerial delegation be sent to Ghana to resolve the lingering conflict between Nigerian traders and Ghanaian authorities,” the minister was quoted as saying.

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Adebayo, who said he would be leading the delegation, added that members of the delegation “will also engage in further dialogue with Ghanaian authorities with a view to finding a lasting solution to the problem.”

He disclosed that the delegation is expected to embark on the visit between May 31 and June 1, 2021.

Other member of the delegation include the Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada; the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo; the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Yewande Sadiku; Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa; and the President of National Association of Nigerian Traders, Dr Ken Ukaoha.

There has been lingering controversy over $1 million levy imposed on Nigerian traders and foreign investors by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre.

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