***Supports ACF call for full investigation
A chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Niger state, Mr. Jonathan Vatsa, has dismissed reports linking the former head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar to supplying food and weapons to bandits terrorizing parts of the state, describing such report as unfortunate and wicked.
However, the former spokesman of APC in the state advised the former head of state not to stop at a mere press statement in trying to exonerate himself from the purported online report, “But rather should address the people of the state and put the records straight in other to clear himself of this heinous allegation”.
Vatsa, who is also a former commission for information, culture and tourism in the State while dismissing the report, expressed surprise that one year after this rumor has been on, nobody has been able to show the public the image of the alleged crash helicopter, stressing that “we would have loved to see the image of the helicopter.
“This rumor is over one year now that a helicopter belonging to the former head of state, supplying food and weapons was brought down by the villagers through “black power” but up till now nobody has shown us the picture or the crash site”, he said.
Vatsa who is the coordinator on public affairs to Governor Sani Bello nevertheless threw his weight behind the call by a Northern group, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) for a full investigations into the report to unravel the mystery behind the helicopter saga.
Vatsa pointed out that all well meaning Nigerians should support every efforts that will bring the security situation in the country to an end, adding that “we must join hands to address this security situation before it consumes all of us”.
According to him, linking the former head of state to helicopter supplying weapons and food to bandits in the state without any physical evidence is a mere distraction from the reality on ground, adding that “I think the security agents have what it takes to do a thorough investigation into the matter and let Nigerians know the true situation”.
He commended the Army and other security agencies for the ongoing Military operations in forests across the state which he said, is beginning to yield some positive results leading to the return of some Internally Displaced People (IDP) to their homes.
How retired Air Force General brings succor to less privileged children in Abuja
By Kunle Awoniyi
On Saturday 30th of April 2021, I went to a garden situated on Abidjan Street Wuse Zone 3 Abuja to keep a date with one of my colleagues who had invited me for a short discursion on the security situation in Nigeria. As a journalist who always wants to be updated on how to secure our nation, I didn’t miss the opportunity. I arrived at about 1600hrs and promptly commenced the discussion with my colleague.
At about 1645, I started noticing the inflow of some children into the garden and became curious.
When I enquired from my friend who usually patronizes the spot, what he told me was incredible. In his words, “I started beholding this spectacle since January 2021.
Every evening by 5pm, some underprivileged children visit the garden to collect a plate of food prepared for them by the owner of the Garden.
While some will eat theirs right away, some will take home. It has always been a scene to behold as you see the smiling faces of the children when they received the food”. As he was talking, I noticed that the children had fallen in lines with separate lines for the boys and the girls.
The bigger boys are however kept aside until the children are catered for. At the command of one coordinating staff, the children could be seen stepping forward in an orderly manner to collect their foods. I couldn’t control my emotions as I watched the boys and girls depart the collection point with joy and gratitude boldly written on their faces. I asked my friend about the number of children that are fed daily and he responded by saying that the owner of the garden who is a retired Air Force officer once told him that his foundation feeds between Ninety to Hundred children daily. At this point, I made up my mind to meet this compassionate retired General of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
When I was eventually introduced to this unassuming and humble officer, he didn’t look like a retired General or behaved as such until he started speaking. How may I help you he said in a low but firm tone? I introduced myself and asked him for his reasons for embarking on this humanitarian venture and if he has the wherewithal to sustain the initiative.
Air Commodore Abayomi (rtd) cleared his throat and said: ‘’The initiative really did not start from me. The idea was that of another NAF colleague who solicited the help of my kitchen to produce 20 plates of food in March 2020 to be served at the Zone 3 Mosque every Friday’’. Consequently, the Jazz and Blues Kitchen which I owned took the job of dishing out 20 plates of food to the children as requested by the donor. However, the process did not last long as the donour stopped funding the project after three months. When I thought the dream was dead, my friend appeared again in January 2021 and requested that we start the program of feeding the children all over again but rather than feeding the children on Fridays only, he instructed that they be fed with 20 plates daily.
The 20 plates daily arrangement did not withstand the test of time as the demand kept rising on daily basis. Consequently, the upsurge in the request caught the attention of the Green Heroes Foundation and the Foundation increased the dishes to 40 plates per day. Despite the increment, more children kept trooping in search of a meal therefore the meal had to be increased again. Currently, we feed between 90 to 100 children daily.
Now sir, how have you been coping with the additional meals since your colleague provided for only 20 plates per day? I asked him and his response was really touching.
We have been copping quite well. Immediately we commenced the feeding project, it suddenly dawned on me that these inadequately catered for children could be lured into unimaginable things that could further complicate the security issues in our country.
Over the years, humans have identified poverty, deprivations and hunger as some of the major causes of crimes and insecurity in any nation. Consequently, the GHF took the challenge as our own contribution to ensuring peaceful co-existence of Nigerians. Though our objective is to provide care and support to war veterans and their families in times of need, we chose to do this to demonstrate that by showing Compassion towards each other, we could all contribute to reducing crimes in our society.
It is our hope to see that as we serve our meals by 5pm daily, other concerned citizens could also create such initiatives in their various communities to provide a sense of belonging to these children and their parents and show some love and care. Hopefully, these children would also reciprocate by being good citizens of our dear nation he concluded.
At the end of my encounter with the retired Air Commodore and watching the children feed excitedly, i felt so touched that I had to support the initiative with #5000:00 Naira to provide Pure water for the children for 6 days.
I wish that other Nigerians could support this initiative or set up similar projects in their various neighborhoods. May the Almighty continue to bless the hand that Giveth. Attached are some pictures from the scene.
Senate grieves over TB Joshua’s death, condoles family
The Senate on Tuesday held a minute silence to mourn the demise of Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua, the founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN).
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, sent a condolence message to the family of the deceased who died on Saturday, last week.
Coming under Order 43 of the Senate Rules, the Deputy Leader, Senator Ajayi Boroffice, drew the attention of his colleagues to the demise of Prophet T. B. Joshua.
He said: “I bring to the attention of the Senate, with heavy heart, the death of Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua, prominent philanthropist and founder of Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) on June 5, 2021 at the age of 57;
“The Late Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua was born on June 13, 1963 in Arigidi Akoko, Ondo North Senatorial District, Ondo State;
“He received his early education at St. Stephen’s Anglican Primary School in Arigidi Akoko, Nigeria, between 1971 and 1977;
“The late Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua was a man of humble beginning who rose to build the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), a ministry renowned for charity; with membership from across Nigeria, Africa, Latin America and other parts of the world.”
Senator Boroffice eulogized Prophet T. B. Joshua saying, “He epitomised the true Nigerian spirit, he was religious tolerant, welcoming to all ethnic inclinations and believed in the unity of Nigeria;
“The late Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua was an illustrious son of Ondo State who contributed his quota to the advancement of Ondo State, sponsored electrification projects in communities, installed transformers and largely provided succor to the needy in the society;
“The late Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua was renowned for his humanitarian services in key areas like community support, scholarships, disaster relief, education, sports and support for migrants and deportees;
“For many years, late Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua sponsored feeding programmes for widows, orphans, physically challenged and less privileged people without discriminations;
“His commitment to peace and stability of this country was quite mind-boggling as he committed huge resources to live changing rehabilitation programmes for former Niger Delta militants;
“He was a major promoter of sports development in Nigeria, established the Emmanuel Soccer Academy and my People FC for the purpose of helping young talented footballers and some of the young footballers have made Nigeria proud in international competitions;
“He was a great ambassador of Nigeria as he sponsored a combined team of medical personnel and humanitarian workers to Haiti aftermath of the Haiti earthquake in 2010;
“Furthermore, late Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua extended humanitarian aid to Ecuador and rebuilt school in Ecuador after the Ecuador earthquake in 2016;
“The late Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua significantly promoted tourism in Nigeria as thousands of religious tourists from Africa and other continents fly into Nigeria to attend his church’s weekly services;
“He was a consummate and compassionate Nigerian who supported community development in great measures and paid his dues in Nation building;
“In recognition of his altruistic contributions to National development, the Federal Government of Nigeria honoured late Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua with Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) in 2008;
“His death is great loss to Ondo North Senatorial District in particular and Ondo State and Nigeria in general;
“Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua lived a selfless and impactful life, and left a legacy of service and sacrifice.”
In his remarks, the Senate President said, “Let me condole the family of T. B. Joshua, and also say that our country and Nigerian Leaders across all levels need prayers.
“We need the intervention of God while we continue to do our work and perform our functions and duties.
“The prayers from everyone will be very important and we continue to ask for that because this nation and the people believe in God, and we believe that God can help us in anyway that is possible to overcome the numerous challenges our country is passing through.”
At 40th anniversary of priesthood, Kaigama Warns of hunger due to Limited food supply
***recalls how thieves stole all his priestly ordination gifts 4 decades ago
The Federal Government should be proactive with palliatives for the inevitable hunger that will result from grossly limited food supply in Nigeria, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama advised on Sunday.
According to him, the palliatives would be necessary since farmers have been unable to go to farm due to fear of attacks and killings by bandits, kidnappers and terrorists.
He also hinted that thieves stole all his ordination gifts on the night of his priestly ordination 40 years ago, and hoped that God’s grace had changed them.
“The thieves who stole all my ordination gifts on the night of my priestly ordination, I hope God’s grace has changed you after forty years”, the cleric said.
Kaigama stated these in his message titled: “Solemnity of Corpus Christi”, which held at the Pro-Cathedral in Abuja.
He said, “When the priest says, “Go the Mass is ended,” he means that you go and live out the practical implications of the sacrament of love, peace and unity; to care for the poor, needy and disadvantaged and to promote social cohesion and harmonious coexistence, in a society saturated with hatred, anger, revenge, rivalry and violence.
“As we need spiritual food, so we also need daily physical bread. However, in a situation today when farmers are unable to go to farm due to fear of attacks and killings by bandits, kidnappers and terrorists, our food supply will be grossly limited. I hope the government will be proactive with palliatives for the inevitable hunger that will result from this. A hungry man is not only angry but is today uncontrollably violent.
“On my 40th anniversary of priesthood, I wish to thank all of you who have been there for me for your inestimable support, generosity of time and resources. Immense gratitude to my late parents and my family, teachers, colleagues, collaborators and well wishers.
“For my failures as a person and a priest I seek God’s forgiveness and those who felt or feel offended and aggrieved by my personality, actions and utterances, I beg for their understanding and forgiveness. Please know that I mean no evil. Continue to bear with me till the Lord’s time comes. Some of those closely associated with me have suffered for my sake. The Lord will reward you.
“To my pioneer Diocese of Jalingo and my former Archdiocese of Jos where I felt greatly supported in my priestly ministry, I say a “grand merci”. To my new family in Abuja Archdiocese, may the Lord continue to bind us strongly together for the service of His Kingdom. So far, so good. Thank you so very much.”
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