Chibok Girls Release: Abubakar Highlights Role Of Dialogue In Crisis Situation

 abdulsalami-abubakarA former Head of State in Nigeria, Mr Abdulsalami Abubakar, has highlighted the role of dialogue in crisis situation, saying it could be used to resolve Niger Delta militants’ crisis.

The former leader’s statement is coming a day after 21 of the over 200 girls abducted from Chibok community in Borno State in northeast Nigeria were released amidst dialogue between the government and the Boko Haram terrorist group.

He commended the government’s effort to secure the release of the girls that have been in the custody of the terrorists  since April 14, 2014.

General Abubakar was speaking on Friday in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State in south-west Nigeria after a courtesy call by him and his wife, Justice Fati Abubakar, on the Alake and paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo.

“The release of the girls is a testimony to the need for dialogue in crisis situation, even in the Niger Delta where militants have continued to attack critical infrastructure in the region,” the former leader stressed.

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Some of the released Chibok girls in tears during a reception with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

He further acknowledged God’s intervention in the release of the girls.

“We give glory to God for saving those children and we congratulate everyone who is involved in bringing these girls back.

“We pray that the rest will come back.

“I congratulate the parents who have been organised for the one year plus or so.

“We pray that never will such occurrence happen in our lives,” Mr Abubakar said.

‘A Show Of Faith’

After the release of the girls was announced, many feared it must have been secured through a prisoner swap.

The Boko Haram terrorists had in a video of the girls released few months ago, requested for a swap with some of the group members held at different detention centres in Nigeria.

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Muhammadu Buhari says he will continue to push for the release of other girls

A government official, however, said that the girls were not released in swap deal.

The spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Femi Adesina, described the release of 21 the Chibok girls as ‘a show of faith’ on the part of the insurgents.

He told Channels Television on Friday that the development was a confidence building step that would lead to bigger things.

“I have heard and read so much about what we gave and what we didn’t give.

“This is just a confidence building step that will lead to bigger things.

“In the past, there have been many of such meetings that would have led to releases but along the line, discussions broke down.

“Maybe they (the terrorists) trust the (new) process and they believe that they do this as a show of their trust and faith and believe.

“For now, what we have been told is that there was no swap and the girls were released just as a show of faith, a confidence building measure and I think it is good enough for us to believe,” he said.

Announcing the release of the girls on Thursday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, stated categorically that the release was not a swap, but was achieved through the collaborative efforts of the security agencies, a friendly European country and a renowned International Humanitarian Organisation.

President Buhari has also promised to keep pressing for the release of other girls in Boko Haram’s captivity.

Niger Delta Avengers: Britain Cautions FG Over Military Option

Niger Delta Avengers, Niger Delta, MILITARY OPTIONThe British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, has cautioned the federal government over military option as a measure to tackle the resurgence of militancy and other criminality in the Niger Delta region.

The British High Commissioner was speaking in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, shortly after his courtesy visit to the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo.

He also advocated for dialogue as part of a comprehensive approach that should be adopted by Nigerian government to address the situation, adding that force alone may not bring about a lasting solution to the Niger Delta issue.

The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), an armed militant group, and other violent youth organisations have been launching violent attacks on oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta area.

Early on Friday, the Niger Delta Avengers militant group claimed three new attacks in the Niger Delta region.

The group said through its Twitter account that it had blown up a pipeline in Bayelsa State owned by Italy’s ENI, hours after attacks on another ENI pipeline as well as one belonging to Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC).

This is sequel to several other attacks they have carried out in recent weeks resulting in international oil companies shutting down their facilities and consequently a drop in the country’s revenue from oil.

The action has forced the federal government to respond by deploying troops to the area’s creeks to stop the alleged destruction of national economic assets and spate of sabotage being perpetrated there by the region’s restive youths.

World Tallest Drums Unveiled In Drum Festival In Ogun

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One of the World’s tallest drums at the Drum Festival in Ogun. It is 17ft tall

Nigeria’s first Drum Festival was held in Ogun State where drums believed to be the tallest in the world were unveiled. They stood 16 and 17 feet tall.

It was an exciting festival, with different drum sounds serenading the arena.

Drums are used not only as a means of providing musical sounds but equally as a means of communication.

It has become an important and integral part of human existence especially in the African culture.

The celebration of the rich and diverse cultural heritage resonates in Ogun State, also known as the Gate Way State.

During the maiden edition of the Nigeria Drum Festival, first of its kind in Nigeria and indeed the continent of Africa, drummers officially opened the show with the drumming of the national anthem. The talking drum did the wonder.

With the theme “Reviving Our Culture In Drums”, the Ogun State government conceived the idea in an attempt to revive and rejuvenate the dwindling fortunes of the Nigerian culture through the drums and at the same time boost the tourism potentials of the state as a means of job creation.

The Commissioner of Tourism in the state, Mr Muyiwa Oladapo, said the festival was a way of reviving the nation’s culture, which he stressed was dying.

“We needed to revive it and we knew and appreciated the fact that drum is that part of art and culture that cuts across the entire length and breadth of the community, Nigeria and the world,” Mr Oladapo stated.

The four-day event was held at the June 12 cultural Centre, in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State.

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Ara, the talking drum, was one of the drums featured at the Drum Festival

It was attended by 19 states of the federation and witnessed by members of the diplomatic corps traditional rulers and other prominent guests joining the host Governor Ibikunle Amosun and his wife Olufunsho.

The event showcased drums from various culture across Nigeria, as participants entertained the audience with beautiful performances from individuals and groups like Ogun State Dance Troupe, Hubert Ogunde Theatre Group, Ani Dance Group from the east, the Unique Fingers from the Niger delta and Ara, the renowned talking drummer, among others.

Some of the dignitaries at the event were the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi and his Olori Wuraola, the Alake and paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, the Oshile of Oke Ona Egba, Oba Adedapo Tejuosho, the Director General of the National Council of Art and Culture, Mrs Dayo Keshi and her husband Ambassador Joe Keshi, and Senator Olorunimbe Mamora.

Abeokuta Gets First Flyover Bridge

The first flyover bridge in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State, was on Thursday commissioned by the state governor, Mr Ibikunle Amosun.

This will be the first bridge to be constructed in the entire state since its creation in 1976.

The four-lane overhead bridge begins at the end of Lalubu road and opens into the newly expanded lane Ibara-Totoro road.

Speaking at the ceremony, Governor Amosun said the massive investment in infrastructure was in fulfillment of his electoral promises to the people of Ogun State.

He noted that the new bridge would aid movement of goods and services, ease flow of traffic, reduce manpower-time wasted on the road, thereby improving the productive time of every individual plying the road.

“Our goal is to put our state in the league of advanced economies and make it investors’ destination of choice not only in Nigeria but sub-Saharan Africa.”

“To achieve this, we will continue to rehabilitate existing infrastructure and construct not just modern but high-tech infrastructure that will enhance the magnificence of our environment and act as a catalyst for our socio-economic development,” he said.

While expressing gratitude to residents, “especially those whose properties gave way to these beautiful edifices that we are constructing across the state”, the Governor urged them to exercise more patience and continue to support the administration in its mission to rebuild Ogun State.

He also called on the private sector to take advantage of the enabling environment being provided and partner with the state government to create wealth and achieve good returns on investment.

In his welcome address, the state Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Lekan Adegbite, said the flyover bridge was a product of the vision of Governor Amosun to transform the state.

He explained that every project in the state “complies with the Ogun Standard, which sets benchmarks for others.”

In their separate goodwill messages, Head of Interim National Government, Chief Earnest Shonekan, National Chairman of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Chief Bisi Akande, National Leader of ACN, Chief Bola Tinubu and Leader of Ogun ACN, Chief Segun Osoba, all lauded the achievements of the state government in the area of urban renewal.

According to the national leader of ACN, “Amosun is an actualizer of our dream and vision” as he referred to the policies of the party.

The Alake of Egba land, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, likened the unveiling of the first ultra-modern flyover bridge to the day “electricity, pipe borne water and railway first came to Abeokuta.

“Amosun has changed the city from the status of 19th century to the 21st century” the monarch stated.