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2023: PFN disowns Bishops for holding meeting with Tinubu

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The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) has disowned the “Pentecostal Bishops Forum of Northern Nigeria” for holding meeting with Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Deputy National Secretary of the PFN, Bishop David Bakare, told reporters in a telephone interview that such group was not known to the PFN, saying, “there is nothing in PFN that is regional based like Southern or Northern Pentecostal Bishops.”

Bakare, who maintained that the PFN is an arm of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) said the position of the fellowship on same faith presidential ticket of the APC has not changed.

“The meeting between Tinubu and the Pentecostal Bishops Forum of Northern Nigeria has nothing to do with PFN. I am speaking to you officially and authoritatively that the ranks of the Christian community and of course, the PFN which I represent, is not broken at all.

“The Pentecostal Bishops Forum of Northern Nigeria is not known to the PFN. The forum does not have any affiliation or relationship with the PFN that is registered with the government of this nation.”

He added  that the position of the PFN “on same faith ticket still stands as it was in the beginning and we have not, for any reason, shifted our position on that matter…

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The PFN was not a part of the meeting with the presidential candidate that was highly politicised. We are, however, aware of the ripples in the public domain about this matter. I am speaking officially to clarify that the PFN has nothing to do with that organisation.

“We didn’t take such a decision, we have not met that political party and whatever we will do would be in the public domain. That group is on its own and has nothing to do with the real incorporated  PFN. I looked at the photos (from the meeting) and the names. I could  recognised  about two people who are our members, but they speak for themselves.”

He’s procuring fake Christian groups  -Babachir

This is a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, accused the presidential candidate of the APC of procuring fake Christian groups in a desperate bid to convince the electorate to accept the same faith ticket.

The SGF, in a statement, disclosed that a number of Nigerians have reached out to him and former Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, to convince them to accept the same faith presidential and vice presidential ticket.

“We have so far not taken the road to reconciliation because in the first instance, neither the APC as a party nor its presidential candidate has bothered to seek us out for reconciliation even though early on, our doors were left open for such.

“We only get to learn of their views through vile propaganda in the media courtesy of their rabid attack dogs who they have procured in abundance.

“There are of course some ‘Christian’ turncoats and ‘Judases’ who, driven either by moral turpitude, poverty or greed, have hired themselves out as agents and spoilers of this noble Christian course.

“To this group, I wish to recommend the study of the biographies of Judas Iscariot and Ahithophel in the Bible. Be careful to note how their lives ended

“It seems that Bola/Kashim’s preferred approach is to attempt to counter our position through insults and sponsored fake Christian organisations in order to create the impression that there is division within the Christendom on this matter.

“Needless to say, this tactic has failed woefully. They are now the butt of jokes in church gatherings all over the country. Unknown to them, Church history emphatically records that Christians are more united in terms of adversity and persecution as now being propelled by this same faith ticket of the APC.

“This approach has also portrayed the duo as arrogant and pitiable people whilst also exposing them to the public as people with unimaginable deficiencies of noble character.

“The reality is that for each minute that this same-faith ticket duo have  spent on their Goebellsian propaganda, they have ended up spending several hours more trying to rebutt the controversies that they themselves create in the process.

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“Everyone, including some notable Christian haters, are now inviting  false Bishops and ‘CAN leaders’ to meetings. They are busy fabricating overnight “Christian” organisations that churn out falsehood to the public. It is such a pity that people who intend to lead our country could descend to such low levels of morality and deficiency of conscience.”

We’re consulting for a pan Nigerian platform to adopt  -Dogara

Former Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, said having rejected the divisive same faith ticket, they were consulting with relevant Islamic and Christians leaders to jointly adopt a pan-Nigerian platform that all of them would support in 2023.

He stated this  in a lecture entitled: “Nigerian democracy post 1999: Progress, diversity and national unity” and  magazine launch and awards event organised by MUPUN youths association in Jos.

Mr. Dogara, who was  represented by the former member representing  Pankshin, Kanke Kanam federal constituency of Plateau, Timothy Golu, said when some of them rose against the same faith ticket, it was because they were bothered by the issues and  insistence on same faith ticket and same faith voting which  is tantamount to summoning a jihad to collide with a crusade.

He explained tha, the people promoting “this combustible agenda” hate the North and by extension, Nigeria, adding that they wanted to “use religion to weaken the North first for some sinister schemes because our weakness is their strength.

“Take it or leave it, if Nigeria has a major promise those that will deliver on it will be those of you who will summon the courage to embrace people of other faiths in the spirit of justice equity and fairplay. The truth is that no one will root out Islam just like no one will root out Christianity from the North or Nigeria.

“If that is the case, why won’t Christians and Muslims work together on the many things we agree upon to make Plateau, the North and Nigeria great? All that bothers us is the progress of all Nigerians regardless of creed.”

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‘Ex-SGF undermining goodwill of northern Christians’

Replying, Yakubu Dati, Chief of Staff to the Director General, APC Presidential Campaign Council, Governor Simon Lalong, accused Babachir Lawal of trying to isolate Christians in the north from playing significant roles in the mainstream politics of Nigeria.

He accused him of trying to lead northern Christians in the wrong direction because he lost the bid to be appointed running mate to Tinubu.

“Last time I checked, Babachir Lawal does not have the mandate to speak on behalf of northern Christians because he was never elected to lead any such group and does not command the respect of the average northern Christians. Even in his native Hong Local Government, Lawal does not have a voice, as his voice thins out when other respected personalities from the area like the current SGF, Boss Mustapha, speak.

“But more profoundly is the fact that Babachir Lawal talks as one who does not have a sense of history hence he is trying to carve out a region out of Nigeria to make them a target of derision and scorn.

Without anybody sending him, Lawal is trying to damage the reputation of northern Christians who have all along been accommodating and tolerant of other Nigerians,” he said.

Dati observed that Northern Christians in Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Bauchi, Kano, Kebbi, Sokoto, Kaduna, Plateau, Taraba Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Kwara etc were not known to be hostile, self-serving or epitomise bigotry as Lawal was trying to portray them, noting that the northern Christians have worked peacefully and harmoniously with other Nigerians and while they demand equity and fairness in all affairs, do not stake their integrity on the altar of tokenism of political office.

“The northern Christians have taken the front seats in some administrations and played other roles in others and other sections of the country have understood the exigencies of such era and have been cooperative.

Yakubu Gowon, a northern Christian, has been head of state, while TY Danjuma, Joe Garba, Domkat Bali, Shagaya, etc have held responsible positions in this country at one time or the other,” he said.

Sun

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Aisha Buhari bows to pressure, withdraws case against Internet critic

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Aminu Adamu and Aisha Buhari

Wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, has withdrawn her case against a final-year student of the Federal University, Dutse, Jigawa State, Aminu Mohammed, following pressure and condemnation by activists, Amnesty International, the National Association of Nigerian Students, and other Nigerians.

The prosecution counsel, Fidelis Ogbobe, while withdrawing the case on behalf of Mrs Buhari, said the President’s wife, being the mother of the nation, decided to withdraw the case following the intervention of “well-meaning Nigerians”.

Moving a motion for the withdrawal of the case, Ogbobe cited Section 108 (2)(a) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act. Justice Yusuf Halilu of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory commended Mrs Buhari for withdrawing the case.

Halilu, while issuing the release warrant, called on parents to always monitor their children to avoid recurrence

The 24-year-old student had alleged in Hausa that the wife of the President was “feeding fat on poor people’s money”. It was reported that he was moved from Bauchi to Abuja on Aisha’s command and locked up.

Muhammad’s uncle, Shebu Azare, had, in an interview published by BBC Hausa, on Monday, said the victim’s father, Mallam Adamu, was not aware of his son’s arrest until five days later when the matter had escalated.

The matter had also generated a lot of reactions, with prominent Nigerians, including the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, Omoyele Sowore, and other human rights activists calling for the student’s release.

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According to a police report, Muhammed was arrested at Federal University Dutse on November 18, 2022, after the wife of the President instructed a team of police detectives to track him down.

The Presidency had also barred visitors from visiting inmates at the Suleja Correctional Centre, Niger State, following the arrest of Aminu.

Before the withdrawal of the case, about 250 women groups from across the country under the aegis of Feminist Womanifesto demanded Aminu’s immediate and unconditional release from detention.

The women also demanded the release of Zainab Kassim, a former social media aide to the wife of the president, Aisha Buhari.

The groups, in a letter to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, dated December 1, 2022, described the action of the first lady as a gross violation of human right to personal liberty, freedom of speech and right to seek legal counsel, adding that no female leader should be associated with such abuses of power.

The letter signed by Convener of the groups, Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi and made available to journalists in Abuja on Friday read in part: “Various news outlets have suggested that the arrest of Muhammed and Kassim was in obedience to orders from Mrs. Aisha Buhari and that the student was beaten in her presence.

“We are concerned that despite the call from Nigerians nothing has been said by the office of the First Lady or the government in this regard to counter the narrative.

“The development is unacceptable in a civilian regime; the rule of law is expected to be prioritised in all arrests. Furthermore, in this period marking 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, no leader and certainly not a female leader should be associated with such abuses of power. No one should be above the law.

“We believe that the actions constitute a gross violation of human right to personal liberty, freedom of speech and right to seek legal counsel.

“These actions also infringe on Section 35, Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which states that an arrested person must be brought before a competent court of law within a reasonable time of 48 hours. It has been over 21 days since their arrest.

“We are worried about the continued detention of these citizens and its implications on the country’s human rights reputation. We are compelled to write to your esteemed office to demand an immediate investigation of the arrest, detention and assault of Aminu Muhammed and Zainab Kassim.

“We call your attention to the constitution which states in Section 35 (6), Any person who is unlawfully arrested or detained shall be entitled to compensation and public apology from the appropriate authority or person; and in this subsection, ‘the appropriate authority or person means an authority or person specified by law.

“We also demand the Office of the First Lady of Nigeria to respond to the allegation for the sake of public good and accountability.

“We hope you will use your good office to cause and investigate in this regard to ensure that the law takes its cause and both Aminu Muhammed and Zainab Kassim are released or taken before a court of competent jurisdiction.

“Nigerians are watching! We call on you to do the needful.”

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Oyetola left N76bn salary, pension debts

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Mrs Bimpe Ogunlumade, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance in Osun

Mrs Bimpe Ogunlumade, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance in Osun, says the state government has discovered a salary and pension-related debts, amounting to over N76 billion, left by the immediate past Gov. Adegboyega Oyetola’s administration.

A statement by Malam Olawale Rasheed, the Spokesperson of Gov. Ademola Adeleke of Osun, said on Thursday in Osogbo that Ogunlumade made the revelations while briefing officials of the new administration on the state’s financial status.

According to Rasheed, the Osun Government has uncovered a monumental debt in salaries, pensions and insurance commitments incurred by the administration of Mr Gboyega Oyetola, amounting to N76 billion.

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“This revelation was made by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mrs Bimpe Ogunlumade, while briefing officials of the new administration on the financial status of the state on Thursday.

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Some public servants earn more salary than the president – RMAFC boss

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Mohammed Shehu, chairman, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC)

Mohammed Shehu, chairman, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), says some political appointees earn more salary than President Muhammadu Buhari.

Shehu disclosed this during an interview on Channels Television on Thursday.

The RMAFC boss, who spoke on the commission’s plan to review judicial and political holders’ salaries, said some officials of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) collect salaries higher than the president.

He said the country needs to review allocations as some agencies remit less revenue. 

“The severance package of the president is just N10.5 million. This is after the president leaves office. You can imagine after spending four or eight years, that would be the only take-home. The salary of Mr President is not up to N1.3 million a month,” he said.

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“There are people in the private sector and others in other public sectors that earn twice, three times or four times. No public servant should earn a salary bigger than Mr President. But we do have public servants that earn salaries bigger than Mr President, such as in the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), etc.

“My argument has always been that no public servant should earn allowances, severances, or salaries larger than the president of the federal republic of Nigeria, and I stand by it.”

Speaking further on how salaries would be reviewed, especially on current realities, Shehu said salary review would go through processes.

He, however, added that salaries may be reviewed upward after going through due processes.

“When you do a review, the takeoff point is not immediate. And this is a process that has to go to the president and then to the national assembly, and then it becomes a law,” he added.

“I can not tell you whether we can afford it or not, but what I can tell you is there are unremitted revenues out there, probably estimated from N6 trillion to N7 trillion that should be remitted to the federation account.

The Cable

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