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Kogi Lifts ban on ancient Igala festivals to boost tourism

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Kogi Lifts ban on ancient Igala festivals to boost tourism

In its bid to boost tourism and attract investors to raise the economy of the State the Kogi State Government has lifted the ban on some ancient tradition and festivals of the Igala speaking axis of the State.
The festivals which were proscribed in 1963 by the Premier of Northern region Sir Ahmodu Bello included Ocho, Egwu, Ogbadu, Oganyi and Iyalo Festivals.
The special adviser to the Governor on Local Government and chieftaincy affairs Engineer Abubakar Ohere made the disclosure yesterday in a press conference in Lokoja the State capital.
Ohere indicated that the lifting of the ban will also help to preserve the custom and tradition of the Igalas.
According to him, the paramount ruler of the Igala Kingdom, his royal majesty the Attah of Igala Michael AmeOboni the second had made the presentation for the ban on the festivals to be lifted especially as the people were not consulted before the action was taken.
“Before their proscription in1963 there was no adequate consultation with the people and this was aptly capture in the request for the ban to be lifted by his royal majesty the Attah of Igala who is the paramount ruler of the Igala Kingdom.’
Ohere pointed out that the Ata had consulted widely adding that being the paramount ruler of the Kingdom his opinion represents that of his subjects.
“Above all we also took our time to interface with notable option leaders from the Igala Kingdom and also the administrators of the local Governments who are the chief security officers of the councils were also consulted and the general opinion is that they need these culture and customs as the identity of the Igala Kingdom.”
On whether the issues surrounding their proscription have been resolved he said since the people were not consulted before the ban there is no point talking about the issues.
He observed that the Attah had identified that there was no proper consultation and no documentation between the palace and the Government when he brought up the matter for the Governor to look into.
“Based on that the House of Assembly members from the zone were also consulted for their input on the matter and they were all in affirmation.
On the fear that the negative impact of the ancient and outdated tradition were being revived to hunt the people he said the plan is to reform and modernise them for tourism.
“If you visit the western world they repackaged their customs and traditions in form of carnivals that tourists travel to go and witness.
“Those are the steps we have taken to make sure that as we are placing them back to records those reformatory stages are also obeyed to make sure they address current demands instead of the negative aspects they stood for in the olden days.”

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NEF drops bombshell, asks NASS to stop jamboree of constitution review

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NEF drops bombshell, asks NASS to stop jamboree of constitution review

Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has advised the Senate to jettison the wasteful idea of giving Nigerians the impression that it is involved in a serious review of the Constitution.
This was contained in a statement that was signed and issued by the Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Northern Elders Forum, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed.
It stated that the Forum has taken note of the published invitation by the Senate ad-Hoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to the public to submit Memorandum to assist the further alteration of the provisions of the Constitution(as amended).
“The announcement gives all Nigerians only two weeks to submit their memoranda on all aspects requiring amendment of the current Constitution.”
The statement insisted that what is needed at the moment is equity and justice, a functional structure, consistent good governance and security for all citizens not another jamboree.
It stated further that the country’s future also is predicated on a credible electoral process, growing understanding between and among all groups and an economy that grows and narrows inequalities between and classes and regions.
“This cannot be achieved by a process that routinizes wasteful expenditure around false hopes.
“The Forum is convinced that this repetitive initiative of the Senate is of no value and a predictable waste of time, resources and energy of the nation, and should not be supported by Nigerians being alarmed by waste in governance at this difficult time when the economy is facing unprecedented challenges.

“Virtually every National Assembly since 1999 had spent huge amounts of Nigerian people’s money on jamborees that give them false hope that the three arms of government respect the overwhelming desire of Nigerians for a holistic and genuine review and amendment of the 1999 Constitution.
“Nothing fundamental or of any value has come out of these grand schemes to exploit our collective desire to address our political and economic fundamentals.
This National Assembly is also following suit, and it should not be encouraged on this path.”

He challenged the National Assembly to direct its energy and mandate towards convincing President Muhammadu Buhari to bring an end to the insurgency in the North East and killings in most parts of North Central and North West and other parts of the country.

“The North wants a major review of the Constitution, but it is also ready to resist attempts to create wealth for a few while it leaves parts of the country to quarrel and blame each other for the state of the nation.

“Northerners are willing to discuss current challenges of the region and the state of the country with any group, anywhere, provided it sees evidence of sincerity and respect for each other.”
According to him, the Legislature and executive branches of government have large quantities of reviews, recommendations and reports from past attempts at amending the Constitutions.
“These represent enough resources for a review if the legislature is serious about this vital national priority.
“Even this is not likely to produce a genuine effort to address the basic requirements of securing a stable, secure and prosperous Nigeria, because both arms of this administration are unlikely to accept to put through wide-ranging reviews of the Constitution.”

The statement specifically reminded legislators and other leaders from the North that security of their communities, reduction of crushing poverty and widening distrust among communities should be their priorities.

“The Northern Elders Forum recommends the alternative of leaders of thought, elders, groups and professional organizations and representatives of government to freely discuss every element of our co-existence as a country under principles of voluntarism, genuine representation mutual respect and integrity of the process.
“A Nigerian Peoples’ Conference on Review of the Constitution will benefit from past work in this direction in addition to contemporary challenges which  the country needs to address in a context that allows free and productive engagements  without pre-determined ends.
“The outcome of this Conference should be submitted to the two arms of government which should provide for a referendum in the Constitution so that Nigerians can directly decide on how they want their nation to be structured and function.
“The North is willing to discuss other options that will do justice to the current Constitution and the future of our great country.
“The Forum invites attention of particularly northern groups to be wary of being railroaded into making submissions which the legislature will hold up as input, further justifying waste and deceit.
“No northern group should encourage further waste of public funds which should be channelled into battling killers, kidnappers, poverty and poor governance.”

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Kidnapping still a thriving Enterprise In Kogi

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Kidnapping still a thriving Enterprise In Kogi

Efforts by the Kogi State government to stem the menace of kidnapping in the state has failed woefully, as the illicit trade has continued to thrive.Even though kidnapping has marginally reduced, kidnappers now adopt new strategies, as their older strategies no longer work, especially with the efforts of security agents, who are matching them weapon-for-weapon and trick-for-trick.

However, there is still tension in the state as kidnap for ransom is gradually shifting from the highways to the interior villages, creating fears in the minds of residents who can no longer go to their farms, or get water from streams.The Guardian checks revealed that most kidnappers operating in the state infiltrate the area from some northern states. A number of times, they block highways and kidnap commuters after which they demand ransom, which usually range from N2m to N5m.

Recently Abdul Abaji was kidnapped along Ajegwu-Itobe Road on a Saturday. He was travelling from Lokoja to Idah with some people he offered a free ride, before he was intercepted at about 6pm around Ukunube Hill stretch, a spot notorious for kidnapping activities over the years.
An occupant of the car, a lady, who luckily escaped, said the kidnappers collected their money and phones and dragged Abaji into the bush because he actually attempted to make a detour on sighting them at the top of the hill, but luck was not on his side as some other gun men emerged from the bush behind and stopped him.Abaji’s car was, however, recovered by SARS same day, and the state Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Busari, while confirming the incident said three persons along with a Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) official that were kidnapped along Chikara Road the previous week had been released.

In KotonKarfe Local Council, the incessant cases of kidnapping and armed robbery has crippled social life. In Gegu-Beki, Iraki, Omoko, Akpogu, Kpareke and Achara, kidnapping has also affected commercial activities of the people, making them to remain indoors.According to a community leader in Iraki, Chief Idris Salihu: “The kidnappers invaded the community at about 2am some months ago and began to shoot sporadically, causing panic among the people.“One Mallam Yunusa Zaga was kidnapped while returning home in his car and kept in captivity for about three days before he was released. Ransom was paid.

The same gang, after the incident attempted to kidnap other members of the community on two occasions, but did not succeed due to efforts of members of the vigilante group. “Since they started kidnapping in our community, we can no longer sleep peacefully, we now live in fear,” he said.The Imam of Iraki Community Mosque, Idris Ibrahim, said: “Government should please provide security. We can no longer go to our farms. Our women cannot go and fetch water and firewood because of fear of being kidnapped.”

The head of the vigilante group in Iraki community, Zakari Hussain, lamented that kidnapping and armed robbery have been a great challenge to his people for sometime now.He said a few months ago, one of his brothers was kidnapped and huge ransom was paid before he was released, adding that due to the spate of kidnapping in the area, the vigilante members under his leadership have been doing all they could to ensure that the people are safe.

“We keep vigil from 8pm to 8am every day. We hardly have time to sleep. What we do is patrol round the community all through the night,” he said.He appealed to the government to support them with security personnel and weapons to keep the kidnappers away.At Gegu-Beki, one Murtala Muhammed, a butcher and cow dealer who was recently kidnapped from his home regained freedom after parting ways with N2m ransom.

The butcher, who said the kidnappers swooped on him and took him away with N1m cash at 11pm on the night he was kidnapped, added that he was kept in captivity for about three days and a ransom of N1 million was paid before he was freed.Members of his family and other people in the neighborhood now live in fear.Also at Gegu-Beki, a woman identified as Aisha Abdulkareem, was kidnapped on March 6, at about 7:40pm, by four gunmen while selling at her provision store.

The kidnappers, it was gathered, actually came for her husband, but when they missed him they decided to kidnap the wife after which they demanded N50m ransom. Abdulkareem was with her kidnappers for five days before some money was paid as ransom and her release effected.
At Omoko Community, the wife and daughter of the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the area, Alhaji Audu Omoko were kidnapped recently.

The kidnappers released them unhurt after collecting some ransom from the family.At Kpareke, a member of a vigilante group in the area was killed during an unsuccessful kidnap attempt. It was learnt that the kidnappers abducted one person during their second attempt on the community. Achara and Akpogu communities on their parts have equally witnessed the grim activities of kidnappers in recent times.

The Administrator of Kogi-Kotonkarfe Local Council, Tanko Mohammed, who described the spate of kidnapping in the council as alarming, said government was working alongside security agencies to address the menace.He said following the combing of the kidnappers’ hideouts by security operatives and the subsequent arrest of some of them, cases of kidnapping has reduced in the past few days.The council administrator, however, appealed for more security presence and possibly, joint security operations in thet council in order to flush out the kidnappers from their hideouts.

Recently the Kogi State Police Command paraded 52 suspected political thugs and kidnappers, which he said were arrested from criminal hideouts, black spots and flash points across the state.The Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Busari said the suspects admitted to “have participated in political thuggery in the just concluded 2019 general elections, several kidnappings, armed robberies and attack on innocent travellers on the major highways across the state.He said his men arrested one Musa Haruna, who was involved in the kidnap of Alhaji Usman Magaji. Four other members of the kidnap gang were later arrested

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Ramadan: Kogi NUJ Chair Fetes Journalists

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Ramadan: Kogi NUJ Chair Fetes Journalists

In a rear show of comraderie, the Kogi State Council of NUJ Chairman Comrade Adeza Momoh Jimoh yesterday feted members to the braking of fast where Muslims and Christian journalists were seen sharing together.
Speaking at the event, he charged Nigerians to allow the lessons of Ramadan, which is that of love and sharing with the less priviledged to become their way of life even after the Ramadan.

The Chairman said the country would be a better place to live if brotherliness, love and sharing with the under privilege is made a way of life
Though he acknowledged that times are really hard, he however encouraged Nigerians to share with their neighbours, adding that tough times don’t last, rather with love and being our brothers keeper, people would overcome the difficult times.
Comrade Momohjimoh commended journalists in the state for their fairness as exhibited in their balance reports.
He admonished that being agenda setters they should serve as vanguards in disseminating and informing citizens of day to day happenings in the state.
The NUJ Chairman called on those interested in taking up courses in the journalism profession to take advantage of the presence of the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ) campus in Lokoja to get trained, adding that as a dignified profession, those who must practice, should be taught the rudiments of development Journalism.
The chairman decried the influx of quarks especially in the online platforms who are fond of misinforming the populace.
He advised against the use of non- professionals as media aides, saying they certainly would not be fit as effective media managers as they will end up creating more problems for their bosses.
According to the chairman the gathering is a forum to reflect on the significance of Ramadan and for journalists irrespective of religious believes to gather together to chart a course of moving the council forward.
In their separate remarks, Elder Bola Emmanuel Boro, and Ali Atabor, former Council Chairmen of the NUJ in the state respectively, described the initiative by the current Chairman as laudable.
The Former Chairmen commended the leadership style of the NUJ Chairman, urged practicing journalist to maintain decency in the course of practice.
They said so far, the pracitioners have kept the flag flying with balanced reports.
Also speaking, Kola Adeyemi, Head of the News Agency of Nigeria in Kogi state, urged journalists to serve as examples in love, adding that what the country needs at the moment is a people united in love.
There would be a repeat of the breaking of fast at the NUJ with all media practioners on Friday

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