Young Nigerians, Our Most Valuable Assets – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo spoke at the 60th anniversary ceremony of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, in Osun State, on December 11, 2021. Tolani Alli/State House
A file photo of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

 

Making their marks in different fields like technology, environmental sanitation, agriculture, public health, and education, among others, young Nigerians will continue to be supported by the Federal Government to reach their full potentials, according to the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

Professor Osinbajo stated this on Thursday at the 2021 National Gold Award presentation ceremony of the Nigerian version of the Duke of Edinburgh International Award for Young People, held at the State House in Abuja.

The International Award for Young People, Nigeria, an affiliate of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, is a non-formal educational framework that inspires young people to dream big, celebrate their achievements, and make a difference in their world.

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Hailing the various ways in which young people contribute to the nation’s wellbeing, the Vice President cited the example of “young Nigerians in our armed forces leaving behind family and friends to serve our country in various internal security operations across the country”.

“We have seen how young Nigerians rallied in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and designed various technology solutions to support the government,” he was quoted as saying in a statement on Friday by his media aide, Laolu Akande.

“We have seen Nigerian youths break new ground and earn global acclaim in innovation, technology, sports, the arts, and entertainment. Clearly, our young people are our most valuable assets, and the Federal Government believes that they must be encouraged and supported in every way.”

Speaking about interventions aimed at supporting Nigerian youths in different sectors, Professor Osinbajo disclosed that the government would raise $500 million to support the technology and creativity ecosystem.

According to him, the project is led by the African Development Bank which has committed $170 million and will also be supported by the Nigerian government, the Islamic Development Bank, and the French Development Agency.

“Last year, Mr President launched the Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme, supported by the UNDP, the European Union and the private sector. It will run for five years and will give well paid work experience opportunities to 20,000 young Nigerians every year in select private sector and public sector organisations.

“The idea is that these interns will gain relevant career and life skills that will enable them to transition seamlessly into the professional, business, or public sector, while also earning good pay during the period of the internship,” the Vice President said.

Acknowledging the resourcefulness of recipients of the award, he praised the exploits of “Musab Muazu who engaged in educating out-of-school ‘almajiri’ children inspiring them to seek education and helping them to read and write.”

“Another recipient Odikpo Emmanuel, having lost one of his friends to suicide, was involved in promoting advocacy against suicide and promoting mental health awareness among young people within his community through organising workshops, symposiums, and various advocacy programmes,” Professor Osinbajo said.

“A recipient, Faithwins Iwuh for her Gold residential project, volunteered at the Renaissance hospital in Enugu State having observed that the hospital was experiencing a shortage of staff. She had to reside in the hospital for a month volunteering as a health worker and support staff to the hospital.”

In his remarks, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the International Award for Young People, Nigeria, Mr Olawale Ekun, praised Professor Osinbajo’s personal commitment and unwavering support for the advancement of young Nigerians.

“The late Duke of Edinburgh used to hand out the gold awards directly himself in Britain and here we are having the same recognition at the highest level,” he said.

“I think that we cannot but continue to be grateful because since this precedence has been set, for the next set of gold awardees, part of the inspiration, the motivation and encouragement that they will have, is that they too can have a day like this.”

Some of the award recipients spoke about their experiences while goodwill messages were delivered virtually by some trustees of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.

The high point of the occasion was the collection of award certificates by the 42 recipients of the 2021 International Award for Young People in Nigeria.

NIMC Debunks Report Of Server Breach, Assures Nigerians Of Data Protection

A sample of the national identity card.

 

The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has assured Nigerians that its servers were not breached but fully optimised at the highest international security levels, as the custodian of the most important national database for Nigeria.

NIMC’s Head of Corporate Communications, Kayode Adegoke, gave the assurance in a statement on Monday amid reports that the agency’s server had been breached.

“Making this declaration in his new year message, the Director-General of NIMC, Engr Aliyu Aziz, said as the custodian of the foundational identity database for Africa’s most populous nation, NIMC has gone to great lengths to ensure the nation’s database is adequately secured and protected, especially given the spate of cyber-attacks on networks across the world,” said the statement by Adegoke.

“Over the years, through painstaking efforts, NIMC has built a robust and credible system for Nigeria’s identity database.”

READ ALSO: UN Chief Condemns Zamfara Killings, Asks FG To Arrest Perpetrators

A hacker identified as Sam had on Monday claimed that he successfully found a bug on the NIMC server, saying it was easy for him to breach the server and access the personal information of millions of Nigerians.

He explained that he came across the information in a bid to decompile some applications he was working on.

The hacker reportedly posted the data he obtained in the process — a copy of the national identity slip from NIMC but defaced it to hide vital information about the owner.

The NIMC boss, on his part, stressed that the commission and its infrastructure were certified to the ISO 27001:2013 Information Security Management System Standard, and revalidated annually.

According to him, the commission has ensured maximum security of its systems and database because of the critical nature of the identity data which the NIMC collects, manages, and maintains as critical assets for the country.

“The commission assures the public that it will continue to uphold the highest ethical standards in data security on behalf of the Federal Government and ensure compliance with data protection and privacy regulations,” the statement said.

Aziz stated that the commission does not use nor store information on the AWS cloud platform or any public cloud, despite the NIMC mobile app available to the public for accessing their NIN on the go.

He insisted that the NIMC mobile ID application has no database within the app, neither does it store information in flat files.

“The public should be aware that the possession of a NIN slip does not amount to access to the National Identity Database, but that the NIN slip is just a physical assertion of a person’s identity.

“Under the data protection regulations, no licensed partner/vendor is authorised to scan and store copies of individuals’ NIN slips but rather authenticate the NIN using the approved and authorised verification platforms/channels provided.

“As part of its policies to protect personally identifiable information stored in the National Identity Database, the public may recall that the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy through NIMC launched the tokenisation features of the NIN verification service,” the statement read.

He added, “This solution is to safeguard the personal data of individuals and ensure continuous user rights and privacy.

“In compliance with the mandatory use of NIN for government services, the commission also hails the concerted efforts of several Federal Government agencies such as Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB), the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigeria Immigration Services, Pension Commission (PenCom), the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigeria Correctional Service, the Nigeria Customs, and a host of others, who have streamlined their services in line with the use of National Identification Number (NIN) as the valid means of identification.

“While wishing all Nigerians and legal residents a happy and prosperous new year 2022, Engr Aziz appealed to all stakeholders to embrace the identity, enrol and receive their NINs.”

I Am Absolutely Aware Of Nigerians’ Sufferings, Says Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday said he is absolutely aware of the suffering and pains Nigerians go through to feed themselves and their families under his administration.

The President who stated this during an exclusive interview with Channels Television, however, encouraged the people to see agriculture as an option.

“I’m absolutely aware of it (the suffering of the people),” he said. “But like I said, look at the vast population of Nigerians, only 2.5 percent of the land revenues are being cultivated.

“We realised this rather too late, but we have to go back to the land (agriculture).”

READ ALSO: Chinese Loans: Anybody That Will Help Nigeria’s Infrastructure Is Welcome – Buhari

During the interview, President Buhari also spoke about a number of burning issues including security, economy, and politics, among others.

President Muhammadu Buhari speaks during an exclusive interview with Channels Television on January 5, 2021.

 

He assessed his administration’s performance since he assumed office in 2015, especially in the three key areas of security, improving the economy, and fighting corruption.

The President believes the situation has improved and his administration has continued to improve the economy, despite the nation’s dwindling resources.

“For Nigerians to be fair with this administration is to try and find out from the time we won the election in 2015 till now, in the three promises we made – improving security, improving the economy, and trying to fight corruption; securing the country in the North East, if you ask anybody from Borno State, from Yobe State, from Adamawa State, there are a number of local governments – about 18 – that were in the hands of Boko Haram, no local government now is strictly in the hands of Boko Haram or ISWAP. So, in that respect, we have done something,” he asserted.

“In the economy, don’t forget and I challenge so many people to go and check with the central bank or NNPC. The production from 1999 to 2014 was 2.1 million barrels per day. When we came, somehow the militants were unleashed in the South-South.

“Production went down to half a million barrels per day, and coincidentally, the price again collapsed to about $37 per barrel. But look at what we did within the time frame and the resources available to us relative to the government we inherited.”

PHOTOS: Prayers, Jubilation As Nigerians Cross Over Into New Year

Worshippers gather at a church in Abuja for the crossover service on December 31, 2021. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun

 

Nigerians on Friday night joined the rest of the world to usher in the new year with prayers and jubilation.

During a visit to some churches where crossover services were held, many worshippers were seen praying into 2022 and after the ‘Happy New Year’ declaration, it was jubilation everywhere.

After another pandemic-ridden year accompanied by rising cases of COVID, insecurity, and economic challenges among others, most Nigerians believe they have a reason to celebrate.

While worshippers vibe to melodious sounds of songs and beats, others took to the streets to shoot fireworks as a way of celebrating the beginning of another year.

The photos below, taken by Channels TV’s Sodiq Adelakun, capture how the crossover went in some parts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

FRSC Boss Calls For Caution During Yuletide Celebration, Vows To Prosecute Offenders

FRSC Corps Marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi.

 

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has warned motorists against flouting safety rules capable of putting other road users in danger, especially during this festive season.

The Corps Marshal and Chief Executive of the FRSC, Mr Boboye Oyeyemi, sounded the warning in Lagos as part of his tour of the nation to inspect the level of preparedness of his men for the end of the year patrol operations.

According to the corps marshal,  the Lagos/Ibadan Expressway will be free of obstruction, because of the high vehicular activities around the axis.

READ ALSO: Foreign Terrorists Planning Attacks In Abuja This December, NIS Warns

He said, “Lagos accounts for high vehicular density. We have about 33% of vehicles outbound Lagos and 40% drivers.”

Data released by the FRSC showed that between 2010 and October of 2021, at least 479580 persons were involved in road crashes and 67508 people killed in the process.

The FRSC boss says his men are prepared for the Yuletide.

 

Over-speeding was reported to have accounted for 52% of that figure.

He advised road users to comply with traffic rules and regulations while he promised to prosecute any commercial driver whose vehicle does not have a speed limiting device and his vehicle impounded.

Other road safety violations he wanted motorists to watch out for include overloading, driving without a valid licence and using rickety vehicles for long journeys.

Mr Oyeyemi frowned against driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and advised motorists to avoid night travels. He promised to do everything within his power to prevent and minimise road traffic crashes.

He said, “it’s a presidential approval, it’s what the law says, preventing and minimising road traffic crashes. How that is done by the federal road safety corps is my business.”

He appealed to motorists to avoid driving under influence of alcohol and that whoever violates that will not go unpunished.

“If you’re dead drunk while driving, we have about 25 help areas at strategic locations, the driver will sleep, when he wakes up, we will arrange for his vehicle to be taken to the next destination and the driver will be prosecuted,” he added.

The corps marshal commended the Chief of Defence Staff, other service chiefs and the Inspector General of Police for honouring his request to remove all security checkpoints across the nation while still providing backup security measures to ensure a crime-free yuletide season.

Urgent Policy Action Needed To Curb COVID-19 Impact On Nigerians – World Bank Report

A file photo of a market in Lagos.

 

Immediate policy action is needed to curb the long-run impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on the lives and livelihoods of Nigerian households, the World Bank has said in a new report.

It stated that the pandemic has hit countries with a health and economic shock whose effects would be felt far into the future, and in countries like Nigeria, the pandemic has continued to affect health outcomes, human-capital accumulation, household poverty and coping strategies, as well as labour-market dynamics.

The report, “COVID-19 in Nigeria: Frontline Data and Pathways for Policy,” shows both the extent of such impacts on Nigerians and promising policy options that could accelerate the nation’s recovery.

It also draws on innovative sources of high-frequency data, namely, the Nigeria COVID-19 National Longitudinal Phone Survey (NLPS), to inform the choices that Nigerian leaders now face.

“The COVID-19 crisis has provided a wake-up call to address the long-standing structural challenges that could constrain the government’s ambition to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty,” said Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria.

“There is no time like the present for the country to prepare for future climate and conflict shocks and seize the promise of its young population to lay strong foundations for inclusive growth.”

READ ALSO: 12 Suspects Arraigned Over Killing Of Police Officer In Lagos

 

Escape Poverty

According to the World Bank, the NLPS represents a successful collaboration between the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Data Production and Methods team at the global financial institution.

It was launched in April 2020 – almost immediately after the COVID-19 pandemic began – and has since regularly collected information on key social and economic outcomes, up to 12 times, from households across the country.

The report, the World Bank explains, shows that the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for human capital, livelihoods, and welfare are proving to be severe.

It stressed that while many schools have reopened across Nigeria, learning that was lost during the COVID-19 crisis needed to be recouped and some children have not returned to school.

A file photo of a food trader at a market in Akure, the Ondo State capital. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television
A file photo of a food trader at a market in Akure, the Ondo State capital. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television.

 

Even though many Nigerians have returned to work, the jobs to which they have shifted – mainly in small-scale non-farm enterprises – may not offer income security, making it difficult for households to escape poverty, the report added.

It raised concern that the pandemic has ushered in associated shocks – especially to food prices – and social protection remained rare, saying households’ food security and their welfare at large were under serious threat.

The report’s findings underscored the urgency of far-reaching reforms to strengthen Nigeria’s economy and development outcomes.

 

Bedrock For Recovery

It proposed three immediate priorities that could provide the bedrock for recovery, including the rollout of vaccines quickly and equitably to reduce the direct health threat posed by the virus.

The report believes it will be essential to help children remediate the learning losses incurred during the pandemic – by getting them back to school or by finding low-tech remote solutions that work for the poor where such is not possible, as well as expanding social protection to provide short-term relief for the welfare losses Nigerian households are currently facing.

A file photo of the World Bank headquarters in Washington, DC.

 

The report also explained how the crisis has provided renewed impetus for the longer-term policies needed to provide sustainable pathways out of poverty.

This includes effecting the macro-economic reforms that could energise job creation and supporting the farm and non-farm enterprises that will dominate employment in Nigeria for many years to come.

However, the report stressed that it would be vital to keep generating fresh data that track Nigeria’s progress out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Evidence from the NLPS and other sources already puts Nigeria’s policymakers in a position of strength, and the country’s unique commitment to phone surveys throughout the COVID-19 crisis has set the standard for high-frequency welfare monitoring,” said Tara Vishwanath, World Bank Lead Economist in the Poverty and Equity Global Practice and co-author of the report.

“Continued investment in producing and then using data – so that the voices of Nigeria’s people can be heard – will be crucial for designing the policies required to build back better.”

By committing to generating and using data in this way, the results of Nigeria’s policy innovations can fully benefit the nation’s citizens and inspire other countries around the region and the globe, the report stated.

Nigerians Can Look After Themselves When Infrastructure Is In Place – Buhari

File Photo of President Muhammadu Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Nigerians can look after themselves when infrastructure is in place.

He stated this on Thursday while meeting with the President of Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Dr Mohammed Al-Jasser at the sidelines of the Paris Peace Forum, explaining why the administration was committed to an infrastructure renaissance for Nigeria.

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“When infrastructure is in place, our people can look after themselves,” the President was quoted as saying via a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.

“Considering the vastness of our country, we need roads, rail, power, airports, housing, and that is what we have engaged ourselves with in the past six years. And our people are seeing the new developments. Relative to the resources available to us, we have not done badly.”

Buhari also noted that his administration is working very hard on infrastructure because there can’t be sustainable development without it.

According to the President, crude oil which Nigeria depends so much on has lost a lot of energy.

“It is coming back gradually, and we are breathing a bit more with some confidence. But we expect greater cooperation from you,” Buhari added while thanking the IDB for its help so far.

In his remarks, Dr Al-Jasser said he had been glad to see the level of collaboration between Nigeria and the IDB since he assumed duties three months ago.

“I am impressed by your policies on infrastructure, which will give opportunities to youths, and encourage the private sector. Nigeria is a pivotal country to us, and it deserves all the help it can get,” he told President Buhari.

The IDB boss said the main role of the bank was to promote development among its stakeholders and will continue to lend a helping hand to Nigeria.

PHOTOS: 162 Stranded Nigerians Return From Libya

A photo taken on November 3, 2021, captures the arrival of the stranded Nigerians brought back from Libya.

 

A total of 162 Nigerians stranded in Libya have been brought back to the country.

The returnees arrived at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos on Wednesday morning.

A breakdown of the figure of the returnees shows that 98 of them are adult females, 28 are adult males, 19 are female children, five are male children, nine are female infants and the remaining three persons are male infants.

Five of the returnees have various degrees of health-related issues.

Their plane was said to have taken off from Tripoli, Libya at about 22:10pm on Tuesday and landed at the MMIA at about 2:10am on Wednesday.

They were received by officials of the Port Health Unit of the Federal Ministry of Health, National Commission for Resilience, Migration, and IDPs; Nigerian Immigration Services, and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

The returnees were brought back to the country by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) through the voluntary repatriation programme.

This programme is for people who left Nigeria to seek greener pasture in European countries but cannot afford to return when their journey becomes frustrated.

Since 2017, the IOM has assisted over 22,000 distressed Nigerians back to the country, according to authorities.

The arrival of the returnees is captured in the photos below:

Nigerians Celebrate Eid-ul-Maulud

This file photo shows the aerial view of the central mosque of a town in Nigeria.

 

Nigerians, especially the Muslim faithful in various parts of the country, are joining their counterparts across the world to celebrate this year’s Eid-ul- Maulud.

Eid-ul- Maulud is an Islamic celebration held annually to commemorate the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.

As the people celebrate, President Muhammadu Buhari, the leadership of the National Assembly, and governors in various states asked Nigerians to continue to live in peace with one another.

In his goodwill message on the eve of the celebration, the President congratulated the Muslims in the country, as well as Nigerians of all faiths.

He appealed to them to strive for forgiveness and closeness to the noble life and teachings of the Prophet.

President Buhari also reassured the people of their security, saying the military, police, and intelligence agencies have improved their operations to effectively respond to the challenges in the nation.

For him, the present administration is already scoring more victories against terrorists, bandits, and other criminals disturbing the peace of the nation.

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

This, according to the President, has been possible through the increased cooperation and collaboration from the citizenry, coupled with reinvigorated, dynamic, and energised police, security, and military leadership.

“While there is work to do, the men and women in uniform who are helping the nation to achieve this goal, desire our collective appreciation and encouragement to do even more,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his media aide, Garba Shehu.

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, had declared Tuesday as a public holiday to mark this year’s Eid-ul- Maulud.

He congratulated all Muslim faithful both at home and in the Diaspora for witnessing the occasion and urged all Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of love, patience, and perseverance which are the virtues of the Holy Prophet.

Aregbesola, who believes that doing so will guarantee peace and security in the country, asked the people to refrain from violence, lawlessness, and other acts of criminality.

He also called for an end to all divisive tendencies across the country, and specifically called on the youth to embrace the virtues of hard work and peaceful disposition to fellow humans, irrespective of their faith, ideology, social class, and ethnicity.

Eid-ul-Maulud: Governors Ask Nigerians To Pray For Peace Across Nation

L-R: Governor Ahmadu Fintiri, Governor Bello Matawalle, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and Governor Nyesom Wike.

 

As Nigerians celebrate this year’s Eid-ul-Maulud, governors of various states have called for prayers to restore peace and security in the country.

Eid-ul-Maulud is an Islamic celebration held annually to commemorate the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.

The governors, in different statements by their media aides, appealed to residents in their respective states not to lose faith in their nation, saying Nigeria would surely overcome its challenges.

They believe the present situation, especially as it relates to security and the economy, is only for a while and will get better.

READ ALSO: Nigerians Celebrate Eid-ul-Maulud

In his goodwill message to the people of Adamawa, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri congratulated Muslims in the state and admonished them to imbibe the virtues of humility, sacrifice, and sharing which the Holy Prophet demonstrated throughout his lifetime.

“The occasion once again reminds us all of the virtues of Prophet Mohammed, which we should emulate in advancing love, peace, and progress of the state and country,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his press secretary, Humwashi Wonosikou.

This file photo shows the aerial view of the central mosque of a town in Nigeria.

 

While regretting the state of the nation as a result of the challenges facing Nigeria, Governor Fintiri stated that the virtues of service and exemplary leadership, as demonstrated by the Holy Prophet, should guide both leaders and the led on the need to give their all in the overall interest of the nation.

He wished the Muslim Ummah a happy Maulud Nabiyya celebration, adding that the challenges facing the nation would better be confronted if such qualities were imbibed by all.

The governor thanked the people of the state for their continued peaceful mutual coexistence, tolerance, and support for his government and security agencies.

He urged the Muslims to use the occasion to reflect on the essential lessons of his life and pray for the continued well-being of the state and the nation in general.

Like his Adamawa counterpart, Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, has also congratulated Muslims in the state.

“I wish to share in the joy like all Muslims on this day when our Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wassallam was born which is being celebrated by Muslims around the globe and, in particular, to join my good people of Zamfara on this happy day,” he was quoted in a statement by his media aide, Yusuf Gusau.

“This is the time for sober reflections on the life and time well spent by our dear Prophet (SAW) and I know that as Muslims, we will continue to cherish and imbibe those qualities with the prayer that Allah will reward us with His abundance in both worlds.

“I wish to implore the Muslims in particular and the general public in the state to continue to pray for the full return of peace in our dear state and in the nation in general.

“Your prayers individually and collectively have brought us to where we are now, with cases of armed banditry, kidnapping, and other criminalities drastically reducing and I believe this good work will be sustained for the attainment of lasting peace.”

Governor Matawalle assured the people that his administration would not rest on its oars at ensuring the enthronement of peace and provision of more dividends of democracy to all nooks and crannies of the state.

 

People Of Common Destiny

A file photo of Gombe State Governor, Inuwa Yahaya.

 

For Governor Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State, the occasion should be used to draw lessons and inspiration from the virtues of service, peaceful co-existence, and exemplary leadership of the Holy Prophet.

In his goodwill message, he called on the Muslim Ummah to imbibe the spirit of tolerance, humility, modesty, and generosity as exemplified by the life and times of Prophet Muhammad.

“As we commemorate this great and epochal day, I enjoin us to continue to demonstrate in our lives, what the noble messenger of Allah bequeathed to humanity in ethos, manners, and relationships for the good of the society,” the governor said.

He sued for continued prayers for the peace, well-being, and prosperity of the state and the nation at large.

Governor Yahaya added, “The celebration of Maulud should also renew our faiths and increase our tempo in coming together as a people of common destiny to pray for unity, peace, progress, and stability of our dear state and the nation for us to attain our aspirational growth and development.”

He urged both leaders and the led to give their best for the overall peace, unity, development, and prosperity of the society.

The governor stressed the need for tolerance among the diverse people of the state, regardless of their differences, and urged them to continue to be law-abiding and guard jealously the relative peace Gombe has been enjoying by shunning all acts capable of jeopardising same.

Down South, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, urged the people and Muslims, in particular, to continue to tow the path of peace for the sustainable development of the state.

He also asked Nigerians to embrace peace, harmony, and tolerance in line with the teachings of Prophet Mohammed, adding that Muslims should remain tolerant and continue to work in harmony with other religious denominations for a peaceful and violence-free society.

He also advised them to seize the opportunity of the celebration to strengthen their love towards one another and make the society a better place by eschewing tendencies that could tamper with the unity and stability in the country.

“Today, I join millions of people around the world, to wish our Muslim brothers and sisters in Lagos State and in Nigeria happy Maulud Nabiy, which is the birthday of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH),” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his chief press secretary, Gboyega Akosile.

“Lagos is noted for religious harmony, therefore, I want to enjoin Muslims to continue to be tolerant of other religious denominations as they’ve always been in the state.

“The Muslim faithful in Lagos State should continue to live in peace and harmony with believers of other faiths.”

 

Basis For Relationships

A file photo of Governor Hope Uzodinma.

 

While commending the residents for their steadfastness, resilience, and cooperation with his administration, the governor reassured them of the government’s commitment to good governance and people-oriented programmes.

According to him, the present administration is fully committed to impacting the lives of the people by delivering the dividends of democracy to residents through its developmental agenda for a ‘Greater Lagos’.

Senator Hope Uzodimma of Imo State was also among the governors who congratulated Muslims on the occasion of the Eid-ul-Maulud.

In a statement by his media adviser, Oguwike Nwachuku, he urged them to not only emulate Prophet Mohammed but use the occasion to deepen the virtues of love, patience, and perseverance which he preached and stood for.

Governor Uzodimma said no time in the history of Nigeria was love, peace, unity, and respect for diversity needed more than now and admonished Muslims to fervently pray for peace, unity, and tolerance of one another in Nigeria.

He harped on the need for all Nigerians to play down on their faith, ideology, ethnic affiliation, and social classification, and focus more on the things that enhance togetherness and bring about the Nigeria of their dream.

The governor urged the people to shun violence, lawlessness, and crimes and focus more on the virtues of hard work, peaceful disposition to one another, and love for the nation.

He advised the Muslims that in the spirit of love that goes with Eid-ul-Maulud, they should share whatever they have with one another, saying doing so would please both Allah and humanity.

Joining his counterparts, Governor Nyesom Wike called on the Muslim community in Rivers State to use the celebration to advance the cause of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence.

In a statement by his media aide, Kelvin Ebiri, he promised that his administration would continue to promote religious tolerance among all residents of the state.

Governor Wike advised the Muslims to imbibe the virtues of love, peace, patience, communal living, and honesty in their daily lives.

While wishing them a wonderful Eid-ul-Maulud celebration, he urged them to always pray for the government and people of the state.

A file photo of Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.

 

In Enugu, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has congratulated the Muslim faithful in the state and called on all Nigerians to renew their faith in God and intensify prayers for the country to surmount its challenges.

He also asked them to remain committed to the core values of the nation’s founding fathers so that the concerted efforts at sustaining the peace, unity, and progress of the country would be fully actualised.

The governor stated that the significance of Eid-ul-Maulud anchored on love, sacrifice, obedience, tolerance, and charity, as exemplified by the deeds and teachings of the Holy Prophet, was germane to the peaceful co-existence, unity, and prosperity of Nigeria.

He, therefore, wished all Nigerians a peaceful celebration as well as the guidance and blessings of the Almighty God.

In his message, Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, asked Nigerians to remain united and allow peace to co-exist between the Christians and Muslims.

A file photo of Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade.

 

The governor who spoke at the Nigerian Navy Mosque in Calabar stressed that religion should never be a basis for relationships but humanity.

He said the country was better united than divided, having learned from the Muslim’s preaching and teachings, adding that artificial divisions in terms of religious sensitivity were man’s creation and not what God has ordered.

UK Relaxes Rules For Fully Vaccinated Travellers From Nigeria

A file photo of travellers at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.

 

The United Kingdom has reviewed its travel protocols for travellers from Nigeria who have taken their complete jabs of the COVID-19 vaccines approved by authorities in the country.

This was announced in a statement by the British High Commission on Thursday.

“From Monday, 11 October 2021, fully vaccinated travellers from Nigeria will be able to come to England without needing to provide a pre-departure test, undertake a day 8 test or self-isolate for 10 days, although will still need to book and pay for a day 2 test,” the statement read in part.

The revised policy applies to those who have been fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca (including Covidshield), Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines.

“Fully vaccinated means that you have had a complete course of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before you arrive in England. The day you had your final dose does not count as one of the 14 days,” the statement added.

“You must be able to prove that you have been fully vaccinated under a vaccination programme and have a valid proof of vaccination recognised by the British Government (for Nigeria, the certificates with valid QR codes as issued by Nigeria’s National Primary Health Care Development Agency are recognised).”

Acting British High Commissioner, Ben Llewellyn-Jones, described the changes to travel rules for fully-vaccinated Nigerians as “a very welcome development”.

“To make this happen, we have been working closely with Nigeria’s National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) on recognising Nigeria’s vaccine certification, which we have now done,” he was quoted as saying in the statement.

“The UK remains committed to opening up international travel and enabling those who wish to enter the UK, to do so safely.”

Travellers from Nigeria who are not fully vaccinated would be required to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test – three days before they travel, as well as complete a passenger locator form – any time in the 48 hours before arrival.

After arriving in England, they would also need to book and pay for day-2 and day-8 COVID-19 tests, self-isolate for 10 days, as well as take a pre-booked COVID-19 test on or before day-2, and on or after day-8.

“Vaccines work and – as the pandemic has shown – no one is safe until we are all safe. I would encourage all eligible people to get vaccinated,” Llewellyn-Jones said.

People Must Be Mobilised To Take Charge Of Their Political Destiny – Falana

 

Human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has said that if Nigeria is to forge ahead in the right direction, then the citizens must be mobilised to take charge of their political destiny.

Falana who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics said Nigeria has refused to get it right by adopting policies that maintain structures mounted by the British colonialists.

“For the majority of our people, 1960 provided an opportunity to start all over again but, unfortunately, the nationalist politicians who took over the reins of power from the British colonial regime did not decolonise the country and the psyche of our people.

“And all of them retained the colonial structures. The laws and ordinances were simply changed to an Act of Parliament. The institutions were left intact,” the senior advocate stated.

While asserting that Nigeria has done badly in the last 61 years, Mr Falana explained that the nation was ahead of many countries in Asia as of 1960, including, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and others.

Some of these countries, he said, have become first-world nations but Nigeria has remained in the third-world.

In his opinion, the divide and rule order which was used by the colonial masters and handed down has only worked to exploit Nigerians and under-develop the nation.

 

A Dumping Ground?

A file photo of Mr Femi Falana.

 

For Falana, the moment the political class embraced the development paradigm of colonialism and imperialism, the country lost its way.

“Colonialism was in practice for over a hundred years; so, what you would have expected in 1960 was a radical departure from the colonial route that has led to the underdevelopment of our country.

“Unfortunately, when military adventurers in politics took over in 1960, the situation became worse. The country that was trying to practice federalism was turned into a unitary one,” the lawyer asserted.

Falana blamed members of the ruling class which he said have in connivance with imperialism embarked on systematic underdevelopment of the country.

He stated that “abandoning the constitutional model, the constitutional duties of the government, and embracing neo-liberal policies that are subversive of the constitution” have led the nation to where it is at the moment.

According to the senior lawyer, the way forward is to ensure that “our people are mobilised to take the political destiny of our country, their own political destiny, in their own hands, and you’re not going to do that by turning Nigeria into a dumping ground for all manners of boots”.

The senior advocate further stated that to get it right, the people must start forming groups in the country, adding that people must be mobilised to produce food and manufacture goods.

It was his viewpoint that Nigerians must be encouraged to a point that it becomes glaring that the country is truly being run by the people.