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Nigeria’s unity was won at great cost, says Buhari

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…warns Nigerians against divisive comments

Apparently worried by the spate of violence and looting across the country after the #EndSARS protest, President Muhammadu Buhari has asked Nigerians to desist from actions and comments that could jeopardise the unity and progress of the nation.

He spoke on Wednesday in Abuja at the launch of the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day (AFRD) Emblem and Appeal Fund.

The President Buhari, who noted that this year’s occasion was a reminded for Nigerians on the need to guard jealously the unity of the nation which was won at a great cost, stressed that “Nigeria’s strength lies in her diversity”.

He also spoke on security operations in the North-West and North-Central zones in the country and expressed delight at the return of normalcy in some of the areas that previously witnessed serious security challenges.

Buhari said, “Our dear nation has witnessed numerous security challenges since independence. These security threats have undermined Nigeria in the areas of trade, investment and economy, education, health as well as agriculture and frequently denied Nigerians the freedom of movement.

“I am however pleased to state that a lot has been achieved in the internal security operations in the North-West and North-Central zones where in addition to Operations Lafiya Dole, Hadarin Daji, Harbin Kunama, Whirl Stroke, other operations such as Accord, Sahel Sanity and Katsina were successfully launched.

“This has led to the return of normalcy in some of the affected areas. However, all hands must be on deck to check attacks on soft targets.”

The President restated that his administration would continue to forge useful alliances with neighbours and friends in the international community for the total defeat of the security threats affecting the sub-region.

He also promised to ensure timely provision of adequate resources and necessary logistics support for the Armed Forces.

President Buhari further pledged that under his watch the Nigeria Armed Forces would operate with the best modern warfare equipment, with welfare issues receiving utmost attention.

“We are quite aware that it is our responsibility to provide a conducive environment that is devoid of security threats.

“I want to reassure Nigerians that security being one of the pillars of this administration will continue to be at the forefront until peace and security are restored in the country,” he said.

He paid tribute the nation’s fallen heroes and veterans, recounting their sacrifices during the First and Second World wars, the Nigerian civil war and peace support operations around the world.

President Buhari also commended men and women currently engaged in internal security operations, particularly the ongoing fight against insurgency, terrorism and armed banditry in some parts of the country.

He said, “We honour the memory of our gallant officers and men who have paid the supreme sacrifice in order to keep the country united as one entity.

“The nation remains grateful for the efforts and sacrifice of the Armed Forces especially in the fight against insurgency and other internal security challenges confronting Nigeria.

“The Armed Forces Remembrance Day or Veterans Day as it is known in some parts of the world is an important event observed in commemoration of the end of the Second World War.

“In Commonwealth member countries, the Remembrance Day is observed on 11th November yearly. However, for us the date was changed to 15th January annually to accommodate the commemoration of the end of the Nigerian Civil War.”

The President also used the occasion to reassure Nigerians of his administration’s commitment to creating an environment in which all citizens and foreigners are guaranteed freedom and returns on investments.

He, therefore, urged business enterprises to render discounts and rebates to men and women in uniform as a symbol of appreciation for their sacrifices, saying “this kind gesture will make life easier for them and deepen their patriotism.”

On support for families of members of the Armed Forces who died in active service, President Buhari acknowledged that the unfortunate cost of the fight against insurgency and other internal security challenges was the unavoidable loss of lives of some gallant compatriots.

“The reality is that the spouses and defendants of these bread-winners in most cases experience trauma and deprivation. However, we can be of support to them to lighten their burden especially in the light of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

”I therefore call on all to spare a thought for them and take positive steps to come to their aid.”

Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (Rtd) called on members of the civil society, religious and political leaders, the academia as well as the media to educate and enlighten Nigerians on the need to recognise and appreciate the sacrifices of gallant compatriots in uniform.

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FG establishing oxygen plants in 36 states – NEC

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The National Economic Council (NEC) says the Ministry of Health is establishing oxygen plants across the 36 states of the federation.

Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi made this known to State House correspondents after a virtual NEC meeting on Friday presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Umahi said that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, who chaired the NEC Ad hoc committee interfacing with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to ease the lockdown of the economy, presented a report to the council.

“The Federal Ministry of Health is establishing oxygen plants across the 36 states in the country, but currently six states have been provided with oxygen cylinders so far.

“The Federal Government has paid for 40 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines coming in batches and therefore a considerable amount of the vaccines will come into the country between now and January 2022. Nigeria is now classified among the 50 countries in the green zones.”

Umahi said that NEC also received states’ performance report on COVID-19 from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

He said that the council was also updated on the global situation of COVID-19.

He said, “Over 237 million confirmed cases and over 4.8 million deaths due to COVID-19. There are now over 6.3 billion vaccine doses administered.  Nigeria is still in the first wave of vaccination and vaccination tools will improve as the country receives additional vaccines. COVID-19 cases have declined by 7.5 per cent over the last week.”

Umahi said that states were urged to continue to push testing activities in order to detect new cases before the situation worsened.

According to him, an update on travel restrictions on certain countries expected to be announced soon by the Federal Government.

The governor said that the council also received an update on the situation regarding Cholera outbreak.

“Current Cholera situation in the country; suspected number of cases   is 88,704. Number of states is 31 and the FCT. Number of deaths is 3,208.

“Multi-sectoral emergency operation centres activated at level 2 continues to coordinate the national response,” he said.

He listed the challenges to include difficulty in accessing some communities due to insecurity, open defecation and lack of potable drinking water.

Umahi said other challenges were lack of basic health primary healthcare infrastructure, inadequate health facility and cholera commodities for case management.

Umahi said that NEC commended the insightful presentations and congratulated the outgoing Director-General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, on his new appointment at the WHO and also welcomed the incoming Director-General, Dr Ifedayo Morayo Adetifa.

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Bakare meets with Buhari, opposes clamour for power rotation

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Founder of Citadel Global Community Church, Tunde Bakare, says the region to produce the president of Nigeria should not be an issue.

He stated this in Abuja on Friday during an interaction with reporters at the presidential villa after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari, noting that Nigerians are only bothered about a leader that would ensure the prosperity of the country.

The pastor said the “immaturity” of the citizens is responsible for “making us say power must either be in the North or be in the South, instead of looking for the best.

“Listen to me, if where the President comes from will make the place he has come from to be better, the northern part of Nigeria should be richest and the most progressive and the most developed because out of 61 years, the North has produced either the President or heads of state for 40 to 41 years and yet, see the retrogression in the North.

“If it’s from the South, why should a person like President Obasanjo freeze and seize the account of Lagos State in his own tenure? If it’s from South-South or South-East, why couldn’t President Jonathan use all his powers to develop South-South/South-East?

“If there are agreements between politicians on rotation, a bargain is a bargain. That is between them. But as far as this country is concerned, what we need at this stage is a man who can drive us to the Eldorado.”

The pastor commended the national assembly for empowering the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to determine the mode of transmitting election results.

“Perhaps one of the best things the present national assembly has done, especially the senate, because, with that, Nigerians can vote and then results can be transmitted so easily,” he said.

“Not only that, part of the state of the nation address that I did on October 10, I emphasised how Nigeria youth, especially undergraduates, are disenfranchised in our country.”

 

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FG declares Tuesday Oct 19 Eid-il-Maulud holiday

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The Federal Government has declared Tuesday October 19 a public holiday to mark the Islamic festival of Eid-il-Maulud in “commemoration of the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).”

Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, made the declaration on behalf of the Federal Government, in a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Shuaib Belgore.

Aregbesola congratulated the Muslim faithful both at home and in the diaspora for witnessing this year’s occasion.

He urged all Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of love, patience and perseverance which he said “are the virtues of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), adding that doing so would guarantee peace and security in the country.”

The statement added, “Ogbeni Aregbesola enjoined Nigerians, particularly Muslims, to refrain from violence, lawlessness and other acts of criminality. As the indisputable leader of our race, we must show responsible leadership in Africa.

“While calling for a stop to all divisive tendencies across the country, the minister urges all Nigerians and the youth in particular, to embrace the virtues of hard work and peaceful disposition to fellow humans, irrespective of faith, ideology, social class and ethnicity and cooperate with President Muhammadu Buhari’s led-Administration in its effort to build a progressive and enviable nation that all citizens would be proud of.”

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