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Bello’s Looters tithes’ comment get horrendous backlash from Catholic bishops, CAN and others



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Bello’s Looters tithes’ comment get horrendous backlash from Catholic bishops, CAN and others

Governor Yahaya Bello’s mockery of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria over visit to President Buhari has recieved horrendous backlask.

The Christian Association of Nigeria, prominent Catholic bishops, two Catholic groups among others have taken on Governor, Yahaya Bello of Kogi State for attacking Catholic leaders who visited President Muhammadu Buhari in Aso Rock last week.

Prominent groups that lambasted Bello for taunting the clerics are the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership and the Progressives Peoples Alliance.

Others, who reacted to the governor’s statement, were the Archdiocese Emeritus, Catholic Archdiocese of Ibadan, Alaba Job, and the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah.

The Catholic bishops had, during a visit to the Presidential Villa on Thursday, told the President that his goodwill had depleted by his glaring failures.

The bishops, under the aegis of Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, had expressed their disappointment with the state of the nation and told the President that Nigerians were angry as a result of bad governance in the country.

But Bello, in an interview with the State House correspondents on Friday, told the bishops that only those who were no more getting stolen money to pay tithes were angry with Buhari.

“And of course, those who have looted the country dry and normally go to the church and mosque to pay tithe, are no longer doing so. Of course, these are the category of people that are angry,” the governor had stated.

Bello, a character who accidentally found himself in power –Kukah

But in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Saturday, Kukah described Bello’s statement as “a tragedy of leadership in Nigeria.”

He said, “The statement of the governor is not worthy of my comment because I believe that the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria stands for something higher than that. I won’t even dignify him with a response.”

When prodded to speak further on the issue, Kukah added, “This is a character (Bello) that nobody heard anything from until he suddenly accidentally found himself in power. What does he (Bello) know about what the bishops have said? So, I don’t even want to dignify him with any response. I don’t think it’s worth giving him a story.

“Frankly, people of his calibre do not deserve our response. It is also a measure of the kind of people who have strayed into power. I am not going to go into any details. It is a tragedy of what we call leadership now in Nigeria. People who have come with no antecedents; they just come out of the woodworks and occupy an office. And so, I won’t dignify him (Bello) with any response.”

It’s a great pity if Bello made that statement — Job

In another reaction, the Archdiocese Emeritus, Catholic Archdiocese of Ibadan, Alaba Job, described the statement made the governor as disappointing and out of context.

In an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday in Ibadan on the telephone, Job advised the Kogi governor to revisit the purpose of the meeting and what the President told the bishops and compare with his statement.

Job stated, “The governor will not say it if he read what we said to President Buhari at the meeting in Abuja. We told Buhari the truth about what is happening in the country. We told him about hunger, lots of atrocities being committed in the nation, lots of killings here and there and he was happy that we spoke to him. He also told us what he is doing and what he plans to do more.

“I am sorry that the governor made that statement. Who are the people stealing for us? What he said is different from what we discussed with Buhari. Killings, kidnappings, and other forms of evil (practices) are around us. Boko Haram has, to some extent, been suppressed but we now have so many atrocities.

“We did not discuss any issue about money to the church. It is a great pity if a governor made that statement. As far back as 1994, Catholic Church bishops constituted a prayer group that has been praying against corruption in Nigeria.

“The governor’s statement does not ‘belong’ to us, not to the Catholic Church bishops in Nigeria. He should read the statement issued at the meeting and compare it to his own statement. It is out of context.”

Workers committing suicide under Bello’s watch — CAN

Also, CAN and the CDHR, in separate interviews with SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday, advised the governor to address the rot, which he had allegedly brought upon Kogi State.

CAN urged Bello to focus on rescuing his state from the grip of kidnappers instead of “trying to be the President’s errand boy.”

The media aide to CAN President, Pastor Bayo Oladeji, noted that Bello had the rights to express himself, but insisted that what the bishops told the President was the truth about the situation in the country.

He added that the CAN leadership, led by Dr. Samson Ayokunle, had raised similar issues with Buhari during a visit in November last year, adding that what the President told the delegation was what he re-echoed during the Catholic Bishops’ visit.

Oladeji stressed that Nigerians had not experienced so much hardship like the prevailing one under the Buhari administration, adding that Bello should keep quiet if he had nothing sensible to say.

He added, “If he (Bello) says some people were looking for free money, he should keep quiet if he has nothing to say. Under his watch, people are committing suicide and he has refused to pay workers. If he is the one that would be running to Abuja to defend the President, then something is wrong somewhere.”

CAN explained that stakeholders had been harping on the terrible situation in the country, noting that only a few people, including Bello, were more interested in endorsing Buhari for another term in office rather than focusing on the welfare of their people.

“Go to his (Bello’s) state and see what is happening there; Okene is now the headquarters of kidnapping. If the welfare of his people is not his concern, he shouldn’t force the President to follow in his steps. If he wants to become the President’s errand boy, he should resign and relocate to Abuja,” he said.

He’s a disgrace to Not-too-Young-to-Run Campaign –Catholic groups

Also, the National Director, Caritas Nigeria and Justice Development and Peace Commission, Rev. Fr. Evaristus Bassey, said Bello was a disgrace to the Not-too-Young-to-Run Campaign. The CN and JDPC are two agencies of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria.

Bassey said, “Governor Yahaya Bello does not dignify a response. However, he is a disgrace to the Not-too-Young-to-Run Campaign. I believe Bello thinks that by freezing when President Buhari coughs, he will be spared from the wrath of God through the Kogi people who are dying each day because of unpaid salaries and misgovernance.

Even if he escapes human judgment, he will not escape the eternal consequences unless he repents and be a true servant of the people.”

He’s not God-fearing, states PPA chairman

In his own reaction, the National Chairman of the PPA, Chief Peter Ameh, in a statement on Saturday, said Bello had shown he lacked God-fearing characteristics.

Ameh, who is also a Catholic, said, “Knowing the level of sacrifice it takes to become a priest in the Catholic Church, I’m really baffled by the unwarranted attack by the non-performing governor of Kogi.

“It is on record that he remains the governor with the highest number of months of unpaid salaries and non performance despite the huge amount of both internal and federally-generated revenues.

“It is obvious Bello is really looking up to the President for salvation because it is the opposite of the culture and respect Kogi people are known for that he will descend so low to attack the highly-respected position of the Catholic bishops for advice directed at the President.”

Bello is overzealous when defending Buhari — CDHR

Also, the President, CDHR, Malachi Ugwummadu, said Bello was being more Catholic than the Pope.

He said, “Governor Yahaya Bello’s overzealousness in defence of Buhari on every issue as a party faithful is understandable, but certainly he is sounding more Catholic than the Pope.

“You recall that he was the same person that declared a three-day holiday in Kogi State simply because Buhari came from a long medical holiday abroad.

“If he understands the composition of that body, he would devote more energy in interrogating the issues raised rather than the disservice of attempting a dismissal which cannot, in effect, dislodge the critical issues raised.”

His comments opportunistic, says CACOL

In a similar vein, CACOL warned that the submissions of the Catholic bishops should not be dismissed as some Nigerians were truly dissatisfied, saying Bello’s comments were opportunistic.

The CACOL Director, Debo Adeniran, said, “It is true that people are angry for different reasons; although the bishops didn’t carry out any scientific study, the social media is there with so many commentaries.

“A few people are still very germane in their observations, particularly in the aspect of the President’s skewed appointments to a particular region. If there is lacklustre from those security quarters, people can raise complaints.

“Some of the comments (from the Kogi Governor and the bishops) are just opportunistic.”

Melaye apologises for Kogi gov’s ‘verbal diarrhoea’

Meanwhile, the Senator, representing Kogi West in the National Assembly, Dino Melaye, has apologised to the Catholics and Christians in general for Bello’s alleged attack on the clerics.

Melaye, in a statement on Saturday, described Bello’s comments against the bishops as “verbal diarrhoea.”

He said, “I apologise to the Catholic Church and the Christian community for the verbal diarrhoea of the Governor of Kogi State. It is more obvious than ever that he needs some ‘equational’ balances at his end. This affliction on Nigeria shall not arise a second time.”

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EndSARS Protests: NGO urges FG to deploy legal, constitutional means




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EndSARS Protests: NGO urges FG to deploy legal, constitutional means

By Friday Idachaba

Patriots for Growth and Development Initiative (PGDI), a Kogi-based Non‐Governmental Organization has called on Federal and State Governments to deploy every legal and constitutional means to end the nationwide EndSARS protests.

Mr Isaac Salami, Executive Director of PGDI who made the call at a Press Conference on Monday in Lokoja.

Salami said the call had become necessary to protect lives and livelihoods of Nigerians in view of the escalating acts of disruption, attacks and killings in recents days in parts of the country.

He said that the trend, if not quickly arrested, could plunge the nation into a state of anarchy as he attributed it to efforts of Fifth-columnists.

He described it as “A careful planned effort and hardwork of Fifth-columnist and enemies. If you see crises coming into peaceful agitations like this know that the 5th Columnists are at work to subvert the relative peace and unity in Nigeria.

Salami noted that President Muhammadu Buhari in his October 12, national broadcast, stated that the disbandment of SARS was only the first step in government’s commitment to police reform.

He held that the government had started implementing all the five-point demands of the protesters and did not see any justification for the escalation of the protests.

“We therefore see no reason why the protesters should continue to be on the streets thereby creating opportunities for negative characters to perpetrate anarchy leading to threat of lives and livelihoods of Nigerians.

“We clearly understand that the original intentions of the protesting youths is for an end to SARS, and Police reform. We also affirm the constitutional and democratic rights of every patriotic Nigerian to protest.

“But the violent dimension that the supposed peaceful protest has taken in the past few days has shown that some enemies of the State are marauding as protesters to unleash mayhem and confusion on the peace and unity of Nigeria.

“We ask the government at the Federal and State levels to use every legal and constitutional means to protect lives and livelihoods of all”, he said.

Salami also called on all patriots and leaders to lend their voices and support to end the protests across the country while the citizens await and monitor implementation of the demands “to a logical conclusion.” (NAN)


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Gov Tambulwa commends President Buhari for flood intervention




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Gov Tambulwa commends President Buhari for flood intervention

Governor Aminu Waziri Tambulwa of Sokoto state has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his intervention after floods that ravaged Gwadabawa, Ilela, Sokoto North, Wammako, Bondinga and Tambuwal Local government areas, destroying farmlands and crops in the state.
The Governor gave the indication at the weekend when the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq visited the state to distribute relief items to flood victims and also flag off the Rural Women’s special Grant Project .

“I must thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his goodwill message, empathy and sympathy earlier, on the natural disaster that ravaged a number of our communities, as well as his support to the victims affected.
He said they are working on a supplementary budget to be presented to the State House of Assembly, to see how we can rebuild houses, hospitals and schools affected by the flood.
He also commended President Buhari for the Social Investment Programs.
“There are so many of them and we appreciate the much that Sokoto state has benefited from these programs. We assure you that the people and government of Sokoto state are willing to partner with you on any program that will benefit the people”. 
The Governor who described Sokoto state as women friendly also promised to do more to empower women especially those in the rural areas.
Earlier, the Minister Sadiya Umar Farouq sympathised with the state government on the flood incident.

She said President Buhari is concerned about the devastation caused by the flood and has directed her ministry to activate the National Emergency Management Agency to respond in providing necessary support to the affected persons.
“I am here with the Director General of NEMA to present relief items approved for distribution  to assist the affected persons”
Food items delivered to the state include 1,502 bags of Maize, 1,502 bags of Rice 1,502 bags of Beans, 107 kegs of palm oil, 43 kegs of Vegetable oil, 202 cartons of seasoning , 141 cartons of tin tomatoes and 22 bags of salt. 
Other relief items given to Sokoto state include 3868 blankets, 3868 mattresses, 3004 mosquito nets, 3780 bags of cement, 3780 bundles of roofing sheets, 723 bags of nails, 200 packets of zinc nails and 72 cartons of detergent.
The minister noted that before the distribution of the items, the flood affected persons in Goronyo Local Government Area had already received support from the Federal Government through NEMA. 
“NEMA Sokoto Operations Office has conducted an on-the-spot assessment in the Local Government Areas of Binji and Silame and the following relief items have been approved and due to be delivered before the end of the week. 
455 (12.5kg) bags of rice,  455 (12.5kg) bags of maize, 455 (25kg) bags of beans, 76 cartons of seasoning, 46 kegs (20 Litres) of vegetable oil, 38 cartons of tomato paste, 910 blankets, 910 mattresses, 910 mosquito nets, 600 bags of cement, 600 bundles of roofing sheets, 200 packets of zinc nails, 67 bags of 3 inch nails
Minister Umar Farouq also announced the payment N5,000 monthly to 3,465 poor and vulnerable households in Sokoto state, while 29,676 vulnerable households awaiting enrollment.
She appealed to the governor to assist the state to enroll more people for the intervention programs. 

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Martins warns FG against deployment of army to quell #ENDSARS




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Marthins warns FG against deployment of army to quell #ENDSARS

Archbishop of Lagos Catholic Archdiocese Alfred Adewale Martins has warned the Federal Government against the deployment of the Nigerian Army to quell the unending #ENDSARS protest.

This was contained in press Statement the cleric personally signed and was issued on Saturday.
The Archbishop was speaking against the backdrop of a BBC News report on 15th October that insinuated that the Nigerian Army may be deployed to quell the protests by force.
He observed that such action if carried out would be counter productive henceforth he expressed the hope it does not happen.

Such a measure he said if adopted, can only lead to injuries and possible deaths, and an escalation of the protests.
“It has the tendency of turning the largely peaceful protests into a violent one.”
He said Nigerians must all remember that the whole world is watching to see how they handle this situation.
“We, therefore, call for dialogue and mutual understanding in addressing the situation at hand for the benefit of our young people and the future of our country.”
He expressed the believe that a sincere and transparent response to the demands of the young people would go a long way in resolving the present impasse.
“The youths, on their part, must continue to go about their protests peacefully and not allow themselves to be led into any act of violence, no matter how small.”
He however commended the government for acceding to the demands of the youth. According to him, now, the whole country looks forward to practical steps that would be taken to implement them.
“We therefore urge the Federal Government to toe the line of engagement in dialogue, listening to the demands of the youth and other well -meaning Nigerians.
Martins indicated that the disbandment of the dreaded Special Anti -Robbery Squad (SARS) and subsequent replacement with the Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) has not assuaged the demands of the youths, who have consistently trooped out on the streets in rain and sunshine, even at nights, to show their dissatisfaction with the solution offered by government to their demands.
“The issues are clearly more fundamental than the replacement of one police unit with another. The youths, and indeed most well-meaning Nigerians, are calling for justice for the individuals and families affected by the brutality of the policemen attached to the disbanded SARS unit.
“They are also using the protest to bring to the fore the systemic failures which have led to widespread corruption, lack of accountability and massive youth unemployment, among other ills.”
Hence he concluded by asking the Government to dialogue with the protesters rather than the use of force.

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