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Avoid war without end, Osinbajo, Ooni, Sultan warn secession agitators

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has warned groups and individuals calling for secession as a result of growing insecurity and perceived injustice, saying Nigeria cannot afford another civil war.

Indeed, the Vice President declared that agitation for disintegration could lead to a war without end and urged the political elite to rise up in defence of national unity.

Osinbajo, who spoke on Wednesday in Anambra State, received the support of two prominent traditional rulers – the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; and the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, with both royal fathers cautioning against calls for secession.

Osinbajo spoke during a meeting with All Progressives Congress governorship aspirants in Anambra State.

He expressed worry over the silence of the elite on the spate of attacks in the South-East and other parts of the country.

At the session organised by Anambra APC patriots, led by Dozie Ikedife, the Vice President said Nigeria should avoid “a war without end.”

He said, “Everyone who thinks they have some monies stored up somewhere, will eventually run out of money. Everyone who thinks they can go and hide somewhere, won`t even find a place to hide. In the end, everyone will suffer.

“Even if you don’t suffer, your parents, children, young and old people and your relations will suffer. We cannot afford a war in this country, we can`t afford it.”

The Vice President said the failure of the elite to act now would expose the country to danger.

He said, “I pray that our country will never know conflict, but I know that every conflict is as a result of elite failure to speak up the truth and tell the truth to their communities.

“If we don`t speak up against disunity, if we keep quiet and remain under the radar, the enemies of peace and those who want to promote disunity will have their way. And when this happens, we will find ourselves running helter shelter.”

At another event in Lagos, Osinbajo, the Sultan, the Ooni and the APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, attributed rising agitations and dissatisfaction across the country to illiteracy and misinformation.

They spoke at the presentation of a book titled ‘Islam in Yorubaland: History, Education and Culture’, by the Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN).

Osinbajo said it was saddening that those who are ill-informed have taken the mantle of demanding separation and promoting issues capable of pitching Nigerians against one another in a bid to achieving their agenda.

He argued that though the country was facing challenges and that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was exploring different options to bring about lasting solutions, Nigerians should support the government by shunning divisive rhetoric and their promoters.

The Vice President at the Lagos forum was represented by the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu.

He urged religious and traditional rulers to continue supporting the government in amplifying the message of peace and religious tolerance.

Sultan Abubakar said apart from history, religious leaders and scholars in Nigeria must feed their followers with the truth and the true meaning of the faiths they profess.

He called for religious tolerance to foster harmony across the country.

The monarch said it had become imperative for stakeholders to initiate policies that would bring down misinformation on religious differences.

Sultan Abubakar said calling for secession at the time Nigeria is seeking to fix its security apparatus.

Oba Ogunwusi also called for harmonious relationship among all tribes irrespective of their religious background. He called for unity among Nigerians.

He urged other regions to learn from the religious harmony in the South-West.

According to him, hardly is there a family in Yorubaland without having Muslims and Christians among them.

Despite this, Oba Ogunwusi said, it was rare finding people fighting over religion in the region.

Asiwaju Tinubu called for unity among Nigerians in the face of insecurity.

He urged Nigerians to support the Federal Government’s efforts at quelling insurgents and banditry in the country.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo at a different forum expressed optimism that the nation would soon overcome its security challenge.

He called for prayers for the nation to overcome the security situation.

He spoke at the 108th Annual Convention of the Nigerian Baptist Convention held at the Baptist International Conference Centre, KM 54 Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

Obasanjo said, “On the situation we are in the country, I am an incurable optimist about a number of things particularly about Nigeria. The situation in Nigeria threatening but we won’t be consumed by it.

“Keep praying that the situation will only be threatening, but we won’t be overcome by it. May we continue to prosper. Continue to pray for the nation’s leaders towards surmounting its challenges.

“The issue of insecurity is a very big challenge. We need prayers; we need you to continue to pray for the leaders in this country and continue to do your bit because the government alone cannot do it.”

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Lagos announces 10-week traffic diversion on Lagos-Ibadan expressway

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Lagos State Government has announced traffic diversion for 10 weeks on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway from the Old Tollgate to Berger section of the road.

The traffic diversion from Monday, January 30, 2023 to Friday, April 15, 2023, is in continuation of the ongoing rehabilitation work on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.

This is contained in a statement issued on Friday by the Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde.

He however said going by the notification received, the construction would be carried out in short segments to minimise inconveniences for motorists while traffic on the Ibadan-bound carriageway would be narrowed to two lanes to allow for the reconstruction of half of the Ibadan-bound carriageway.

The commissioner explained that the U-turn in front of the Lagos State Emergency Centre will be temporarily closed to traffic, adding that motorists on the expressway will be diverted to the next U-turn at the Old Toll Gate by the traffic control point. In the same vein, Traffic from CMD Road intending to connect 7UP and Motorways on the Lagos bound carriageway will make use of the Old Tollgate/Traffic Point U–turn as well.

While emphasizing that trucks and heavy-duty vehicles will be diverted to Ojota Interchange, Oladeinde informed that traffic on CMD Road inbound the Expressway will be diverted to the entry point besides the FMW weighbridge to access the expressway on a contraflow as the exit route to the expressway by Caleb International School will equally be temporarily closed, adding that CMD Road will be used as an alternative for the displaced Ibadan bound traffic.

He appealed to the citizenry to shun indiscriminate stopping, waiting, and parking along CMD Road to complement the efforts of the Traffic Management Team deployed to manage vehicular movement.

He also said that signs showing directions would be mounted along the road to guide motorists.

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Gunmen behead Imo council boss after N6m ransom

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Gunmen have killed the sole administrator of Ideato North Local Government Area in Imo State, Chris Ohizu, two days after he was abducted.

Ohizu was abducted on Friday along with two other residents in his country home at Imoko in the Arondizuogu area.

The attackers also set his residence and vehicles ablaze.

The family of the late LGA boss was said to have paid N6m ransom to the gunmen to secure his release.

They reportedly collected the money and still went ahead to kill him.

Videos showing the battered head of the LGA boss appeared on social media in the early hours of Monday.

In one of the videos, the gunmen threatened to also attack the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, and other residents of the state.

Imo has witnessed a spate of violent attacks by gunmen in recent times .

The incident is coming some days after an about-to-wed couple was killed in Arondizogu, Ideato  orth LGA.

Henry Okoye, Imo police spokesperson, said the police commenced investigation into the matter, adding that the command would soon release a statement on the incident.

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CBN insists on Jan 31 deadline to phase out old naira notes

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says deadline for the old naira notes of N200, N500 and N1,000 to cease to be legal tender remains January 31.

The Kano Branch Controller, CBN, Alhaji Umar Ibrahim Biu, refused pleas from Nigerians to extend the deadline.

“The old naira notes will cease to be legal tender by January 31, 2023. Pay in your old banknotes to beat the rush,” he said.

The branch controller spoke during the apex bank’s sensitisation tour of the new naira notes in Kano metropolitan markets.

The sensitisation of the new banknotes was held in Wapa Bureau De Charge Market, Galadima, Sabon Gari, Kwari and Kofar Wanbai markets, organised principally for traders.

Ibrahim said the new naira notes had been produced enough for distribution to all the commercial banks in the country.

He threatened to slam sanctions on commercial banks hoarding the newly designed banknotes.

Reacting to complaints that the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) were still dispensing the old naira notes, the CBN branch controller said the CBN has sent its staff to inspect bank’s ATMs to ascertain those still dispensing old notes for query.

He said the traders have the right to report any bank found either hoarding the new naira notes or charging customers before allowing them to deposit their old naira notes.

“You have the right to report any bank found hoarding the new naira notes or refuse to collect your old naira notes before the 31st January 2023 deadline.

“No bank should refuse to collect the old naira notes until the deadline of 31st January, 2023,” he said.

He told the audience that CBN has directed commercial banks to desist from payment of new naira notes on the counter, except through ATMs, as part of efforts to check favouritism of customers regarding the new currency.

“CBN agents are going round to ensure banks comply with the directive of dispensing the new notes via ATM,” he assured.

He explained that there is no limit to the amount of old N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes one can deposit in their account.

He said the sensitisation was designed to enlighten the traders on the need to deposit the old notes before the deadline to avoid any loss.

He said the redesign of the naira notes was aimed at checking corruption and addressing inflation as well as boosting the nation’s economy.

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