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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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Bishop Kukah’s christmas day message on Nepotism rattles FG

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Bishop Kukah’s christmas day message on Nepotism rattles FG

***Lai Muhammed to the rescue

The fiery catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese of the catholic Church Mathew Kukah, was at his usual self on Chrismas day as his message condemned the glorification of nepotism which has defined the President Muhammadu Buhari regime.
Entitled “A nation in search of vindication,” his message touched on a sensitive aspect that indicated there could have been a coup or war in the country if a non- Muslim was the president and goes ahead to do a fraction of what Buhari did.
The cleric whose Episcopal seat is right in the heart of the caliphate did not minx words when he explained that the behaviour and attitudes of the Buhari was causing tension and anxiety in the country.
Though he indicated he was not speaking because he is a Christian but because he is a Nigerian, he however was particular about the lopsidedness in some appointments made by the president which he said some northern elite are not happy about.
In a swift reaction, the minister of information and culture Lai muhammed warned him to stop stigmatising President Muhammadu Buhari.
Lai, in a statement titled , ‘ FG Urges Religious Leaders To Eschew Message of Disharmony’ also warned other religious leaders in the country to “refrain from stoking the embers of hatred and disunity ”which could“ trigger unintended consequences”.
Continuing in his message, Kukah said, “This government owes the nation an explanation as to where it is headed as we seem to journey into darkness. The spilling of this blood must be related to a more sinister plot that is beyond our comprehension. Are we going to remain hogtied by these evil men or are they gradually becoming part of a larger plot to seal the fate of our country?
“President Buhari deliberately sacrificed the dreams of those who voted for him to what seemed like a programme to stratify and institutionalise northern hegemony by reducing others in public life to second class status. He has pursued this self-defeating and alienating policy at the expense of greater national cohesion.
“Every honest Nigerian knows that there is no way any non-Northern Muslim President could have done a fraction of what President Buhari has done by his nepotism and gotten away with it.
“There would have been a military coup a long time ago or we would have been at war. The president may have concluded that Christians will do nothing and will live with these actions.
“He may be right and we Christians cannot feel sorry that we have no pool of violence to draw from or threaten our country. However, God does not sleep. We can see from the inexplicable dilemma of his North.”
The Bishop applauded the media for its efforts in setting agenda and putting those in authorities on their toes.
He said that the Nigerian media is facing serious challenges, but pointed out that, that should not deter it from performing its duties.
“You know some journalists have been incarcerated. This is a difficult time for our country,” he said.
Kukah appealed to the federal government to respect the freedom of the press as enshrined in the country’s constitution, adding that the media is not the enemy of government.
According to him, the country cannot develop only on the good will of a single individual but through collective efforts of all and sundry.
Reacting on Saturday, the minister said Kukah and other religious leaders have a responsibility to speak truth to power but “such truth must not come wrapped in anger, hatred, disunity and religious disharmony ” .
Mohammed said it was “ graceless and impious for any religious leader to use the period of Christmas, which is a season of peace , to stoke the embers of hatred, sectarian strife and national disunity ” .

Speaking against the backdrop of Kukah’s statement that there could have been a coup or war in the country should any other leader exhibit Buhari’s “nepotistic behaviour” , the minister warned, “ Calling for a violent overthrow of a democratically -elected government, no matter how disguised such a call is, and casting a particular religion as violent is not what any religious leader should engage in, and certainly not in a season of peace.”

“While some religious leaders , being human, may not be able to disguise their national leadership preference, they should refrain from stigmatising the leader they have never supported anyway, using well – worn and disproved allegations of nepotism or whatever,” Mohammed further stated.

“Whatever challenges Nigeria may be going through at this moment can only be tackled when all leaders and indeed all Nigerians come together , not when some people arrogantly engage in name-calling and finger -pointing , ” he added .

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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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