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Nigeria To Begin COVID-19 Vaccination In Jan.

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, on Thursday, officially declared the second wave of the virus in Nigeria.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, represented by Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika stated during the daily media briefing said Nigeria has entered a second wave of infections and stands the risk of losing the gains from the hard work of the last nine months.

According to him, while the country in the last two weeks on the one hand, received cheering news of the COVID-19 vaccine on the other hand, “we have witnessed spikes in number of infections at home and abroad. The real threat is upon humanity and the progress made in the global health sector in the last five decades or more.”

Meanwhile the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said Nigerians would start getting COVID-19 vaccine from January, 2021.

Briefing newsmen after the virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Enahire said, “We’ve signed up with the World Health Organisation and Gavi for access to vaccines immediately they’re available. But you know that these vaccines are new and are in packets and the producers aren’t given any indemnity.

He said, “these countries where these vaccines are manufactured, have of course, given themselves the priority to serve themselves and we hope that the pressure from the WHO and Gavi will be able to get reserves for other countries that aren’t manufacturing and they’ll be able to attend to what will be signed up to. We signed up for advanced market participation in Covax; so, if we will be able to get our own, I think it’ll be in January.”

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I WAS DETAINED OVER TEXT MESSAGE TO GOV. WIKE

…69Yr-Old Reveals

Sixty-nine year old, Ipubo David Davis said officers of the defunct Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS)  unlawfully detained him over a text message he sent to the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike on how to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in the State.

 Speaking to journalists after presenting his petition at the State Judicial Commission of Inquiry Investigating Acts of Brutality, Violence, intimidations and right abuses of Citizens by officers and personnel of the Nigerian Police in Port Harcourt on Thursday, Ipubo narrated his ordeal in the hands of SARS officers who picked him from his residence in Port Harcourt.

The witness said in the heat of the coronavirus upsurge in the state, he sent a text message to the governor suggesting the establishment of a special centre for victims of the virus in the state and the need to open a dedicated phone line for the public to report incidences of infections for prompt medical attention to victims.

According to him, the Governor acknowledged receipt of the message and promised to get across to him.

He alleged that on the 17th of April, 2020, two policemen visited his residence and informed him that they were sent by the Chief of Staff, Government House, to bring him for a meeting with Governor Wike.

“I hesitated following them because the policemen came in a private vehicle but I decided and left with them in the car. The two men instead of taking me to Government House to meet with the Governor, took me to SARS office at Rukpokwu and detained me till the next day”, he stated.

He said the next day, April, 18 the officers took him to Government House where the Governor received him.

 “When the Governor saw me, he asked if I was the person who sent him the text message and I said yes. He said I should give him few minutes. The governor, later returned accompanied by one of his aides with an envelope containing some money,” the petitioner said.

According to him, rather than handing over the money to him, the official gave the cash to one of the security officials who counted the sum of N5000 and gave to him. “They said I should appreciate them for giving me the money,” Ipubo explained.

He alleged that the security officers drove him back to their Rumukpokwu office and charged him with sending threat messages to the Governor of the state and demanded N500,000 for bail.

“Through the assistance of friends I was able to raise the sum of N120,000 before I was released on the 20th of April after three days in their detention,” Ipubo said.

He alleged that security agents and some officials at Government House plotted his unlawful detention and torture to deprive him of the cash gift of appreciation by Governor Wike over his candid suggestions to the state government.

He appealed to the commission to compel the Nigerian police to return his phone which he alleged was taken from him, and also demanded the sum of N50m as compensation for the trauma inflicted on him by the police.  

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RSU To Start Etche, Emohua, Ahoada Campuses

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike said funds have been appropriated in the 2021 budget for the provision of   infrastructure and commencement of academic activities in the three new campuses of the Rivers State University in Emohua, Ahoada and Etche Local Government Areas of the State.

Governor Wike in his address at the 32nd Convocation and 40th Anniversary of the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Tuesday, said for the universities to be reckoned internationally as serious citadels of learning, creativity and innovation, stakeholders must find the means to address the problem of declining quality of graduates.

Governor Wike said his administration has completed and equipped long-abandoned buildings of Faculties of Environmental Sciences, Management Sciences, Technical and Science Education, and Law in the University, adding that his administration also established a College of Medical Sciences for the institution and approved the conversion of the Braithwaite Memorial Hospital to the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital as a first-rate teaching hospital.

Governor Wike congratulated His Royal Highness, Hon. Justice Sidi Bage (rtd), Emir of Lafia and Chairman, Nasarawa State Council of Chiefs, on his appointment and investiture as the new Chancellor of the University.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof Nlerum Okogbule, disclosed that a total of 5486 graduands were certified to be worthy in character and in learning. Among them, are 34 students who bagged first class and 209 Doctor of Philosophy.

He commended the governor for appointing Justice Bage as the 4th Chancellor and expressed hope that his wealth of experience will greatly impact on the running of the affairs of the institution.

Justice Bage (rtd.) thanked Governor Wike for counting him worthy to be Chancellor of the University and assured him that he will use the opportunity to advance the frontiers the rich impartation of knowledge for which the institution is reputed.

The Pro-Chancellor, Hon Justice Iche N. Ndu (rtd) said Governor Wike will be remembered for his monumental feat in initiating the College of Medical Sciences of the University and recruiting some of the best brains in medical field to run the college.

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RELEASE OUR SONS OR THEIR BODIES

… Parents Beg SARS Panel

The Rivers State Judicial Commission of Inquiry probing alleged acts of rights violations by officers and operatives of the Nigerian Police have been inundated with cases of missing persons from the custody of the Nigerian Police in the State.

At the resumed hearing of petitions at the commission last Thursday in Port Harcourt, Mrs. Julian Ekezie said her son, Ugochukwu Ekezie who was reportedly arrested on the December 16, 2019 by officers of the defunct Special Anti Robbery Squad has not been seen till date.

Mrs. Ekezie stated that her son who she said had altercations with a friend, called Nelly over girl-friend issues in Rumuepirikom in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, later invited the OSPAC vigilante group to arrest him.

Mrs. Ekezie said she quickly went to the office of OSPAC, where it was confirmed that her son was arrested but informed her that has been handed over to Anti Cultism Unit of the Nigerian Police.

She explained that when she visited the Anti Cultism office at the old GRA near Moscow Road in Port Harcourt, she met one Inspector Dagogo and Sergent John Okon, and was asked to pay the sum of N20,000 to register the case of the arrest of her son.

She said the Police also demand another N20,000 from her to make petition about her son, adding that she spent over N76,000 in the office of the Anti Cultism Unit, adding that despite her efforts, she was never allowed to see her son till date.

She demanded that the commission should order the release of her son alive or if dead, release the body for burial, while compensation should be paid to the family for the loss of her son.

Another petitioner, Dawaye Bob Ikiyo also narrated how his son, Jerry Dawaye Omubo, a professional photographer was arrested on his way home in the Borikiri area of Port Harcourt.

Dawaye told the commission that when he received phone calls from his son that he was arrested by SARS and that he has been asked to pay the sum of N100,000 for his release, he visited the SARS office with the little money he had but was chased away by officers at the desk office, who threatened to kill him if he makes further enquiry of his son.

The 76 year-old man said he later received information from one of the officers whom he said was a Jehovah Witness who confided in him that all the boys arrested along with his son were matched outside in the night, killed by the SARS operatives and buried in a mass grave.

“On hearing the news of my son’s death, I slumped and fell on a hard surface, and since then I have suffered stroke, spent all the money I had and no one to care for me.  I have not seen my son till date,” the witness lamented.

Dawaye described SARS as a dreaded organization that go about carrying out indiscriminate mass arrests of people.

When asked by the counsel to the police if he reported the matter to any police authority, Dawaye said he never did because of the threat to his life by the police.

He demanded that the commission order the release of his son alive and if dead, release his body for proper burial according to Kalabari custom and tradition.

The matter however was adjourned for cross examination for December 21, 2020.  

Also, Mr. Christian Chima on Thursday told the Rivers State Judicial Commission of Inquiry investigating acts of police brutality, murder and violation of fundamental rights of citizens sitting at the Obi-Wali Civil Centre in Port Harcourt how the officers of the Nigerian Police, Area Command in Port Harcourt obtained a forged autopsy report to cover for the torture and murder of his younger brother, Benjamin Chima while he was detained in their custody.

The witness told the commission that his brother was arrested by the Agip Police Division of the Nigeria Police on July 16, 2010 but was later transferred to the police Area Command in Port Harcourt.

According to him, he visited the command on the day and met a police officer Sgt. Bright, who told him to come back the next Friday.

Mr. Chima explained that on the next day when he visited the area command, he was told that there was nobody bearing the name Benjamin Chima in their custody.

The witness also told the commission that while at the station, he met one Livingstone who was in police custody with his brother who told him that the detainees including his brother were mercilessly beaten and tortured in the cells.

He said Mr. Livingstone told him that his brother was among those taken away the previous night to an unknown destination.

He said on further enquiries from the officer in the command, he was told to meet, the then head of the command, DSP Livinus Iwu, who they said was the only officer who could speak on the matter. 

“I met DSP Iwu on the July 18, 2010 in his office and he told me that my brother was sick and had been taken to the then Braithwait Memorial Hospital (BMH) for medical attention and requested that I come back next week,” he explained.

Chima said when he reported back to the command the following week, “DSP Iwu showed me a picture of my brother to confirm if he was the person I was looking for.

He told me that my brother had died in the hospital and that the autopsy they had carried out on him indicated that he died of heart attack.

The witness, through his lawyer tendered several petitions and publications made to human rights bodies, the Inspector General of Police IGP and the then commissioner of police in the state.

“We went to the BMH to enquire about the purported autopsy which the area commander told me was done in the hospital, but the hospital denied that no such autopsy was carried out on the deceased by the hospital” he explained.

He equally told the commission that the area command, DSP Iwu, later invited him for discussion and settlement of the matter. 

However, counsel to the Nigerian Police Iyu Ubulon opposed the hearing of the petition on the ground that a matter that had already been filed at the Federal High court, but was struck out by the court it cannot be heard by the commission.

His submission was over-ruled by the commission who ruled that since the matter was struck out by the court for want of jurisdiction and procedural errors, the petitioner can still be heard by any other court or commission of enquiry.

The petitioner demand for the release of the corpse of his brother for proper burial, and that a compensation of N500m to be paid to the family while a public apology from the Nigerian police to published in national and local newspapers in Nigeria be tendered to the family. 

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N’Delta Groups Dare FG Over Botched Meeting

…Reject further consultations until…

As individual and groups express anger and disappointment over the sudden cancellation of the meeting between Niger Delta stakeholders and the Federal Government delegation  expected to be led by the chief of staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, the United Niger Delta Energy Development Security Service, UNDEDSS, said there will be no further discussions with the Federal Government on issues of the Niger Delta people following the botched meeting with the Federal Government last week.

Rising from an emergency meeting, the group said all future cooperation with the Federal Government has ceased.

In a statement after the meeting through its Secretary-General, Mr Tony Uranta, UNDEDSS said the decision would remain until the 2016 16-point demands laid directly before President Muhammadu Buhari “were urgently and comprehensively met as promised by the president at a parley held in Aso Villa with representatives of the group and Niger Delta leaders.”

The statement reads: “Niger Delta will mark any putative regional leaders who will attempt to break the no more dialogue embargo.Enough is enough. We shall no longer remain in a union where we are third-class citizens. 

Also, the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) described the failure of a federal government’s delegation to show up for the meeting, planned at its instance with key stakeholders of the South-South geo-political zone, as one insult too many.

The meeting, which was scheduled to hold last Tuesday, to discuss critical national issues was botched at the last minute, after traditional rulers, the governors, clergy, elders, leaders, women and youths of the six South-South States had gathered in Port Harcourt, and waited for hours.

PANDEF in a statement issued by its National Chairman, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd), said the absence of government’s team was a clear demonstration of contempt and disregard for the entire South-South zone.

It said: “The reason offered for the deplorable action is completely untenable and unacceptable. This is one insult too many. How else can anyone explain what happened – if not an act of disrespect, disregard, and contempt to the entire South-South Zone. They went to the North, South-west and South East, met with the people, no emergency security meeting was summoned to stop them from attending those meetings. But when it was for the South-south zone, an emergency arose to scuttle the meeting.

“We have cross-checked and are yet to ascertain that there was any national security threatening situation to warrant their staying away.What they have told us, in essence, is that we do not matter but the truth is that we do matter. It is awful and preposterous for anyone to delude that we do not matter. That they can treat the region that has sustained the country for decades, in this way and manner, only speaks to the kind “upside-down” thinking that has kept the country in its unworthy state” the statement added..

PANDEF said, “we are curious that the ministers and other top government officials from the South-South geo-political zone were also not present for the meeting, and did not deem it fit to call the governors or leaders. Were they also part of the emergency security meeting at the Presidential Villa or they had foreknowledge of the plan to botch the meeting”?

PANDEF further stated “We are, however, not overly surprised at all of these occurrences because we have been talking of the inconsistencies, discrimination and injustice against the Niger Delta region by this administration for the past five years. Let it be known to them that whether they desire to meet with us or not, the people of the South-South geo-political zone have taken a firm stand”.

“This latest event has made it evident to everyone from the Niger Delta Region and South-South zone, the extent to which this presidency can go in disrespecting the region. And so we have to be united and work together, that is the only way we can make any significant difference in the Niger Delta, for the good of present and future generations” , the statement added.

The Chairman the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), Rivers State, Comrade Sotonye George in a telephone chat with our correspondent in Port Harcourt said it was a desperate act to further frustrate the people of South-South, especially the Niger Delta region that have been laying the golden eggs for the country.

Comrade George opined that it is a sign of wickedness and injustice to the people of Niger Delta region as the meeting would have been fruitful in addressing pressing issues of the region especially resource control.

He noted that the meeting which would have also addressed the rights of the people of Niger Delta was long overdue, and deliberate act to further trample on the rights and justice of the people.

According to him, Zamfara State is controlling their resources and wondered why Niger Delta region should not control its resources, stressing that despite the 13 percent derivation for the region, there is nothing to write home about as a people that produces oil and gas that is sustaining the country.

George said, without Justice, there would be no peace and further called on the Federal Government to without reservation tender an apology and reschedule the meeting in no distant time to address the agitation by the people.  

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CONSTRUCTION OF PRISON, CEMETERY IN OGONI

…MOSOP Warns On Projects

…Demand Clemency For Slain Leaders

Ogoni activists have rejected the ongoing construction of a Federal Prison and Cemetery projects in Ogoni land by the FederalGovernment twenty five years after renowned environmental activist and former leader of the apex Ogoni cultural organization, Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) and others were killed by the Military Government of General Sani Abacha.

According to the MOSOP Coordinating Committee at a memorial lecture in honour of late Ken Saro Wiwa and the other Ogoni leaders, the construction of a prison and cemetery in the area was a ploy to further incarcerate and kill Ogoni people over their continued agitation for the control of their resources.

Dr. Gbenemene Kpae and Comrade Celestine Akpobari said the Ogoni people were not consulted in the decision to build the prison and cemetery project in the area, insisting that the original plan to establish a research centre in the area has now been converted into a prison and cemetery project.

“We demand for justice and equity. Ogoni land should not be used for the implementation of criminal justice system in Nigeria. The prison and cemetery project is to continue to annihilate and imprison Ogoni people.  We say no to prison and cemetery in Ogoniland” they stated.

Ogoni people, they added, will continue to oppose all forms of oil exploitation and exploration in the area until Ken Saro Wiwa and the eight other murdered Ogoni leaders are exonerated from the alleged crime against them.

They called for accelerated implementation of the cleanup of the devastated Ogoni environment in line with the United Nations recommendation emphasizing that the Ogoni people desire to breath fresh and unpolluted air after twenty five years of continued struggles.

Civil society organizations and other human right activists have also demanded for environmental audit of the entire Niger Delta region.

Rising from the 25th memorial environmental summit put together by various groups; including the Environmental Rights Actiions/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria (ERAFEN), Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) held in honour of the late environmental activists in Port Harcourt, the groups declared that an urgent environmental audit of the Delta region should be undertaken and the late Ken Saro Wiwa and his 8 Ogoni compatriots should be officially exonerated of any convicted crimes.

They demanded that the federal government should pay the Ogoni nation compensation for decades of injustice including, environmental pollution, displacements and deprivations from the benefits of the resources in their land adding that a judicial panel of inquiry should be instituted to review the circumstances of the gruesome murder of Ken Saro Wiwa and other leaders.

They also called for the immediate release of the Ken Saro Wiwa Memorial bus seized by the Nigerian Custom Services.

Other demands of the summit included; that the Rivers State Government should take necessary steps to remove the names of the late military head of state, Gen. Sani Abacha and other actors responsible for the miscarriage of justice and killing of the Ogoni leader in 1995, from all edifices and archives of the state.

They urged the federal government to halt the growing cases of suppression of the rights of the Niger Delta people and peaceful protesters in the country.

The event which had the theme; “The Nigerian Environment and Lessons Learnt,” was attended by prominent environmental rights activists and groups including Dr. Nnimmo Bassey, Director of HOMEF, coordinator of oil watch, Togo, Kwami Kpondoz, South Africans, Patrick Bond and Bobby Peak of Groundwork and Steve Kriesemann of the United nations. 

The 25th anniversary event held in Bori, Khana Local Government featured the unveiling of the Ken Saro Wiwa Memorial Park built in Bane, the hometown of the late environmental activist.

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Same Sex Union: The Nigerian Perspective (1)

Pope Francis, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, in a move that looks to further amplify heated divergences on abnormal unions, has given his most clear support to same-sex marriage.


The Pope made the remarkable declaration on “Francesco” a documentary film directed by Russian filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky, that premiered at the Rome Film Festival, according to the Catholic News Agency, the CNN reported.
According to the Pope, “homosexual people have a right to be in a family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it,” the Pope reportedly said in the film which also explores his work and views in other issues, including climate change, migration and economic equality, according to the film’s website.


“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” the Pope added.


Although the Vatican has said the Popes’ comments were misunderstood and that the comments were not from a new interview as Pope Francis has been subtly throwing support for gay people since he was elected in 2013.


“The key is for the church to welcome, not exclude, and show mercy, not condemnation. If a person is gay and seeks God and has goodwill, who am I to judge?” the pope said back in 2013.
Even before he became pope, as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis had endorsed same-sex union after debates on whether to legalize such arrangement sprung in Argentina. However, his latest comments in the film the producers hoped would be allowed to streamed from homes is the first time Francis as pope would openly endorse same-sex union.


The pope’s conservative opponents were enraged by his statements, according to the Guardian UK, regarding it as part of an effort to shift the church towards progressive values. Some even accusing him of heresy.


His views were a sharp contrast of his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who had in a famous remark labelled homosexuality “an intrinsic moral evil.”


The Guardian UK reported that in 2003, a Vatican document “set out why it was necessary to oppose legal recognition of homosexual unions because they “obscure certain basic moral values and cause a devaluation of the institution of marriage”.


Several countries around the world has held contrary views on legalizing gay marriages. Acts of gay sex are illegal in at least 30 countries across Africa where persecution of gay people still prevails.


Even in countries where it is legalized, gay people still face a lot of discriminations and stringent legislations. In June, before Poland’s second round of presidential elections, incumbent Andrzej Duda presented a draft amendment to the constitution that would ban gay couples from adopting children.


Nigeria is among countries yet to legalize Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender [LGBT] unions. Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed a bill in 2014 criminalizing same-sex relationships in Nigeria, despite pressure from Western governments to preserve the rights of gay, lesbian and bisexual people.


The Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA) bans gay marriage, same-sex “amorous relationships” and membership of gay rights groups with penalties of up to 14 years in prison.


“Many African political and religious leaders argue that decriminalizing homosexuality would be akin to promoting it and that it goes against their traditions and culture,” the report noted.


Meanwhile, in recent times, there has been some growing acceptance of gay men, women and transgender in Nigeria with the likes of “Bob-risky” gaining popularity, even with his gay antics.

A 2017 survey which compared attitudes towards LGBT people in Nigeria against a 2015 poll showed a growing acceptance of such abnormality. One of the contentious issues in the debate over homosexuality and same sex marriage in Nigeria is whether a marriage between persons of the same gender is totally alien to Nigerian culture and tradition. Those opposing same sex marriage have continued to argue that same gender union is foreign to Africa.


Across Africa, homosexuality is often viewed as a violation of cultural and religious values. Gay sex is outlawed in 38 African countries, according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Trans and Intersex Association. In 13 African countries, homosexuality is legal or there are no laws banning it.


In Mauritania, Sudan and Northern Nigeria, homosexuality is punishable by death. Offenders can receive life imprisonment in Uganda, Tanzania and Sierra Leone.


In 2013, a legislation was proposed in Nigeria that would ban same-sex blessing or marriage ceremonies, penalize those involved in them, and outlaw, efforts to promote same-sex activity of any kind and through any means, with penalties of five years imprisonment. This proposed legislation has been publicly upheld by the Nigerian moral community.


The Nigerian senate took a strong stand against same sex marriage in Nigeria in an all-in-favor debate on a bill prohibiting same sex marriage in Nigeria.


To be continued

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Revealed! Why Americans Dumped Trump

President Donald Trump has declined to give a concession speech acknowledging the election of former vice president Joseph Biden as the 46th President of the United States of America.
President Trump has rather asked his legal team to challenge the polls outcome in the Supreme Court even as there was widespread jubilation over Biden’s victory.
There have been speculations over the likely cause of Trump’s failure . They include neglecting to manage the coronavirus infection at the early stage of infection and failure to condemn white supremacists sentiments.
When George Floyd, an African-American, died with his neck under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, Trump reacted by seizing on isolated acts of rioting and vandalism to stoke fear.
He defied presidential norms and was largely aggressive even to the press. His use of racist language in tweets maligning people of colour was also deemed unsavoury.
His conspiracy theories and divisive policies affected his re-eleciton bid. His approval rating was also on the average due to the country’s economic downturn.
Trump is insisting on a vote recount in the states of Georgia and Pennsylvania claiming that he won the elections if legal votes only were counted.
Meanwhile President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated former Vice President Joe Biden.
In a statement by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, Buhari, said the most powerful group are not the politicians, but voters who can decide the fate of candidates for elective office at the polling booth.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan, in a congratulatory message to President-elect Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, advising both to be magnanimous in victory and accommodate all Americans.
In his message titled: ‘Goodwill message to United States President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’, Jonathan appealed to the incoming government to partner with African nations to help the continent overcome the vicissitudes of the pandemic, by building on existing trade and expanding on new frontiers for cooperation
“My special thoughts and prayers goes to Mrs. Harris for making history as the first woman and first person of African American ancestry to be elected as Vice President of the United States. “This is one big step for her, and one giant leap for the Black Race and the female gender. “I pray that God will bless their joint tenure, and that in four years from now, we will have a better world because of their administration.
Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of Believers Love World popularly known as Christ Embassy has said that US President, Donald Trump, is hated by many because of his support for Christians and the tenets of the Christian faith.
Oyakhilome in a viral video said many are angry at Trump because he didn’t come for their sponsorship. According to the cleric, things will not be calm if Trump is out of office.
”Before he started giving his voice in support of Christians and before he started giving his voice in support of Israel, he was their darling, they loved him.
Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, said United States President Donald Trump will retain his seat.
In his article yesterday titled, ‘U.S. election: Before you pop the champagne’,Fani Kayode said people were believing the “fake news” in major news networks and accepting their narrative that the election was free and fair.
Uti Nwachukwu, ex-Big Brother Africa reality show star, has revealed that Jesus Christ would be disappointed in Nigerians who are in support of US President, Donald Trump, all in the name of Christianity.
The Big Brother Africa, BBA, winner, said Jesus will be disappointed with those supporting Trump because he clearly perpetuated hate, division and anarchy.
“I’m so ashamed of the hypocritical brainwashed Nigerians supporting Trump all in the name of Christianity. Someone that clearly perpetuated hate, division and anarchy. Is this the love Jesus preached?, he asked.

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#ENDSARS Protests: So Much To Learn

In 1992, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad was set up by the Commissioner for Police to curb a spate of armed robberies in Nigeria. By 2009 it had become a large and powerful unit, and its focus expanded beyond armed robbers to internet fraudsters. It had also become largely uncontrolled.

Members of the unit were allowed to carry guns, drive unmarked cars and operate without badges or uniform. They became known for their violent harassment of innocent young Nigerians. They also forced young Nigerians to withdraw money from ATMS and make transfers under duress.

There are numerous examples of people who have been  raped, harassed, flogged, extorted, injured or killed by the unit. In 2016  a campaign was launched calling for the Special Anti-Robbery Squad to be disbanded. It became widespread and drew some attention. Within three years the unit had been reformed, overhauled, decentralized and disbanded about three or four times. But without success.

In October the first protests started against the infamous police squad. Mostly young Nigerians gathered in the front of the House of Assembly in Lagos State to demand the end of the unit. Within days, thousands of protesters had gathered in 100 cities around the world, with the #EndSARS trending globally. The government announced on October 11 that, yet again, it was disbanding the Special Anti-Robbery Squad. But the protesters have not let up. They are now calling for wider reforms of the police.

The protest is not just about the Special Anti-Robbery Squad. It’s the result of pent-up anger over the dehumanizing policies of government, maladministration, injustice, hunger as well as high energy and fuel prices.

The cumulative effect of these roll into one. That’s why the protesters have refused to end their action. It seems this is seen as a once in a lifetime opportunity to address critical national injustices.

This generation of young Nigerians seem to be doing a good job. There is good coordination, arrangements are made for food and water as well as music to keep them busy. Medical personnel on standby, ambulances and mobile toilets for convenience are also provided.  Nigeria is said to be the poverty capital of the world. Yet young Nigerians have been protesting for over a week across the country without looting shops. They have ensured that the streets are cleaned after the day’s protest and that there’s no violence or lawlessness.

Another key factor that makes this protest unique is the use of social media. The way this has helped mobilize protesters is unprecedented. Over 70% of the population is under 30 years of age. Unemployment stood at 21.7 million in the second quarter of 2020. The youth account for 13.9 million of this.

Young Nigerians are, therefore, most affected by government policies that have led to lack of jobs and meaningful sources for livelihood. Other triggers include the lavish lifestyle of political leaders. The government budgets more money for the members of the National Assembly than for health and education.

One takeaway lesson is that a new social contract is being written. Nigerians are creating a new understanding of how leaders and public servants should relate to citizens. Secondly, the youth are reinventing governance in Nigeria and bringing about a new culture of asserting rights among the citizenry.

The 30% of Nigerian who are adults and have experienced military rule seem to have that etched deep into their psyche. They are afraid of a man in uniform. This has become a part of Nigerians’ conditioning.

However, the youth believe that the men in uniform are meant to serve the citizens and to protect them. It is a different relationship entirely. Young people are more exposed to the fact that things could be better and are ready to take their destiny into their own hands. They want to reinvent the country and to be a better place to live.

Their access to the internet also informs their action. They are able to reach the world from their bedroom.

The history and experience Nigeria had during the military era doesn’t resonate as much with young Nigerians. But, they must have read history and are, therefore, not unfamiliar with the past. But they have proven not to be deterred by the use of force of any kind.

For  years, Nigeria has been ruled by leaders who are quite elderly. These have not succeeded in finding solutions to the nation’s challenges. Corruption and hunger are rife. It is obvious that young Nigerians feel alienated and are now ready to take the bull by the horns and ensure good governance.

Politicians and leaders are waking up to a new politically conscious society. Take the comment from Chairman Nigeria’s Governors Forum, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State; “various state governments are beginning to see how important it is to have a good relationship with young people. Given the awakening of this new political consciousness, it will not be business as usual for the country’s political leaders”.

The #EndSARS protest started as we might actually be at the threshold of a prolonged agitation that may likely blow the wind of sweeping changes that are long overdue. Should the protest continue, government will require a careful and strategic approach to manage the situation. The spontaneous nature of the protest in many states across the country should get government strategists and handlers thinking.

The most difficult protest to contain or control is a protest without faces or coordinators. Therefore, extreme caution is needed to manage this delicate moment. Employing intimidation, repression or confrontation may escalate the already tensed situation.

Some people are of the opinion that since the government is yielding to the demands of the protesters, they should calm down and allow for the implementation of their demands. But there’s lack of trust and confidence in the government that it will do what it promised. Until evident actions are seen, there may be no end to the protest

Also, the swift change of the name from SARS to SWAT at the peak of the protest is ill-timed, ill-advised and suspicious. The hasty action may the youths longer on the streets as #EndSWAT trends.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration should learn from other countries where similar nationwide protests have rocked their spaces in the past. Our government should study how they managed the situation and successfully navigated their ways through.

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CHRISTIANS SPLIT AS POPE BACKS SAME-SEX UNION

There  appears to be a deep crack in christendom as  Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church, has endorsed same-sex civil unions in a landmark move that has received mixed reactions.

The pope’s endorsement came midway through a feature-length documentary, titled “Francesco”, which premiered at the Rome film festival last Wednesday.

The documentary features fresh interviews with the Pope, and delves into issues about the environment, poverty, migration, racial and income inequality, and the people most affected by discrimination.

“Homosexual people have a right to be in a family. They are children of God and have a right to a family.Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it. What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that.” Pope Francis said.

While serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis endorsed civil unions for gay couples as an alternative to same-sex marriages. However, he had never come out publicly in favour of civil unions as pope.

Traditionally, the Catholic Church considers sexual activity between members of the same sex to be a sin. According to the Catholic theology of sexuality, all sexual acts must be open to procreation and express the symbolism of male-female complementarity.

Anglican Bishop Emeritus of Diocese of Okrika, Rt. Rev. Tubokosemie Abere said the Bible is the authority of every believer adding that the Bible has declared in Genesis that a   sexual union should be between opposite genders, male and female.

He said the pope could be speaking out of his personal concern to save sinners including homosexuals.

Cardinal Raymond Burke, a frequent critic of Francis, said the pope’s comments should be “rightly interpreted as simple private opinions of the person who made them. Such declarations generate great bewilderment and cause confusion and error among Catholic faithful,” Burke, a member of the Vatican’s highest court, said in a statement Thursday on his website.

He added that Francis’ views were contrary to Catholic teachings.

Southern Baptist leaders reiterated their commitment to the authority of the Bible’s teaching regarding sexuality and marriage.

SBC President J.D. Greear was among several Southern Baptist leaders who reaffirmed the SBC’s conviction that marriage is an institution created by God and exclusive to one man and one woman.

“No matter what a pope, pastor or elected official says, we do not get to define sexuality or the family,” said Greear, who is also pastor of The Summit Church in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., area. “The Creator does, and on this His word could not be more clear.”

The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 defines homosexuality as sin and marriage as “the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.”

Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, was one of the first conservative Catholic leaders to go public with criticism.

“The Pope’s statement clearly contradicts what has been the long-standing teaching of the Church about same-sex unions,” Tobin said in a statement. “The Church cannot support the acceptance of objectively immoral relationships.”

In contrast, Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry, which represents LGBTQ Catholics, hailed the pope s comments as a “historic” shift for a church that has a record of persecuting gays.

There are questions   about the origins of Pope Francis’ bombshell comments endorsing same-sex civil unions, with all evidence suggesting he made them in a 2019 interview that was never broadcast in its entirety.

The Vatican refused to comment on whether it cut the remarks from its own broadcast or if the Mexican broadcaster that conducted the interview did. And it didn’t respond to questions about why it allowed the comments to be aired now in the documentary “Francesco,” which premiered Wednesday.

In the movie, which was shown at the Rome Film Festival, Francis said gay people have the right to be in a family since they are “children of God.”

“You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this,” the pope said. “What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”

Those comments caused a firestorm, thrilling progressives and alarming conservatives, given official Vatican teaching prohibits any such endorsement of homosexual unions.

While serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis endorsed civil unions for gay couples as an alternative to same-sex marriages. However, he had never come out publicly in favor of legal protections for civil unions as pope, and no pontiff before him had, either.

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