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To avert a major crisis, leaders must urgently roll out poverty alleviation plans – Prophet Ogundipe

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Prophet Israel Oladele Ogundipe is the founder and presiding pastor at the Genesis Global Church. In this interview with DADA JACKSON, he bares his mind on a number of topical issues including poverty in the land and the recent #EndSARS protest

What is your take on the recent #EndSARS protest against police brutality embarked upon by some Nigerian youths?

Thank you very much for this question. The decision of the youths to take to the streets to condemn the act of brutality by the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) was based on several years of pain and frustration. Many youths have experienced this act of brutality either directly or indirectly. I totally support the decision of the youth to engage the government with this peaceful protest. Our leaders owe us accountability and we should hold them responsible when they fail to deliver on their promises.

So it was a protest that you aligned with?

Absolutely

Would you say it succeeded largely because they had no arrowhead?

Yes, it really worked for them. I supported the fact that the protesters didn’t have a leader. We have seen different protests and strikes in this country that didn’t make any headway just because their leaders were allegedly compromised and bribed with huge amounts of money. But in the case of the #EndSARS protest, everybody was assumed to be the leader.

What is your reaction to the alleged shooting of the unarmed protesters in Lekki?

It’s really painful when the people meant to protect lives and properties are now the ones who take lives. I feel very pained seeing this happening in a democratic government. I strongly condemn the act, and I appeal to the leadership of our nation not to run our country like a military government but rather to run a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

How would you rate the performance of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration?

I want to be very careful with my choice of words. But sincerely speaking, I will say that many Nigerians are not happy. People put in so much into making sure that this current government got elected into power with the expectation of a promised CHANGE. Unfortunately, things have refused to change and rather things are becoming very hard for the common man. To whom much is given, much is expected, and that’s why it’s looking like people are disappointed in this current government.

Would you say the administration has failed the people?

This administration has really failed the youth continually. Young Nigerians take their time to go to school, study hard just to make sure they graduate with good grades so as to be able to get a good job. But unfortunately, they roam around the streets without any job. As a young Nigerian, I feel pained seeing the level of unemployment and insecurity in our nation.

Did you at anytime foresee this happening?

The recent happenings have confirmed one of the prophecies I gave this year in one of our services. I said that if our leaders were not careful, the masses would start invading their premises to pack food items and other valuables. This goes a long way to show that the poverty situation in our country is alarming. Hardly will you find a family in Nigeria who can afford a good meal when it is needed. My major worry is that if something urgently is not done about the level of hunger and poverty in the land, people may turn violent and they could do much more than what we saw during the #EndSARS protest. I strongly agree with the school of thought who believes that if nothing is done quickly to ameliorate the suffering of the people, there will be a situation where the poor will be attacking the rich. A hungry man, they say, is an angry man. It may get to a level where some hungry/poor people will start to see the rich people within their environment as thieves who steal government money and then see them as the reason why they are poor and underprivileged. This could also make them see rich people as their enemies.

What do you make of the looting of warehouses where alleged COVID-19 palliatives were kept?

How on earth will the government deprive hungry people of palliatives that were supposed to help them suppress the effect of the hunger during the lockdown? I have heard several excuses given by governors and I feel quite disappointed hearing some of these excuses. The real time that people needed these items, they were kept away from them and so many people lived in terrible hunger and even some died during the lockdown due to the inability to get food; only to discover later that thousands of bags of palliatives were being kept in various warehouses across the nation. Our political elites need to address the people they govern; they should show empathy. They need to immediately start rolling out plans on poverty alleviation.

There is this controversy surrounding the visit of Ayinde Wasiu (Kwam1) to your church sometime ago. Could you shed some light on what actually transpired?

Two major things prompted that visit of Kwam1. I am a prophet who doesn’t discriminate against any religion and I say that all the time. Apart from the fact that I was born a Muslim, I have always learnt to see everyone as my brother. K1 visited our church to thank God in submission for what God is doing in the ministry.

I didn’t invite kwam1 to our church; he was the one who said publicly at a function that he would love to pay a visit to the Genesis Global Church to appreciate God for the great things He is doing in the church. And when he reached out to me on this intention, I obliged.

Secondly, I remember that when I was a little boy, each time my mum saw Wasiu Ayinde on the TV, she would lay her hands on the TV to pray for him and she would also lay her hands on me to say my own Wasiu too (because my Muslim name is Wasiu) would be great. So, when Kwam1 offered to come, I saw it as an opportunity to tell our mothers in the church that their prayers over their children would always come to pass.

In our church, we believe in transition and not tradition. The world is evolving and we should be flexible enough to accommodate new practices that are different from the old doctrines.

People say you’re generous to a fault. What do you want to achieve with this?

Let me say it without mincing words. I had a very humble background and this has informed my high passion to give. Each time I remember how we struggled to survive, I always try to make sure I put smile on the faces of people struggling. My philosophy is that giving is living. I am only privileged and everything that God has given to me is for me to be a blessing to others.

What do you make of pastors who preach only prosperity at the detriment if salvation?

Prosperity Gospel is part of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and it’s a major part of our existence. Where I have a problem with it is when people deemphasize other parts of the Bible just because they want to manipulate members to give or they want to attract members to their church. I must say that prosperity is good and I preach prosperity too but it should not be used as a means for manipulation.

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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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Buckingham Palace aide resigns over racist comments

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A Buckingham Palace aide has resigned and tendered an apology over racist comments reportedly made to a black British guest at a reception hosted by the Queen Consort.

Ngozi Fulani, the founder of a charity supporting victims of domestic abuse, alleged that she was repeatedly asked by a royal aide at a Palace function where she was “really from” in Africa.

The palace said it was taking the incident “extremely seriously”.

An eyewitness to the conversation, Mandu Reid, confirmed the account and told the BBC the questions put to Ms Fulani were “offensive, racist and unwelcoming”.

Reid said she had a “sense of incredulity” about the exchange with a member of the Royal Household, in which Ms Fulani was “interrogated” about where she was from – even though she had explained she was born and lived in the UK.

Ms Fulani is the founder of the London-based charity Sistah Space, which supports black women who have faced domestic and sexual abuse.

Along with 300 guests, she had been invited to a high-profile reception at the Palace on Tuesday, where the Queen Consort, Camilla, had warned of a “global pandemic of violence against women”.

But after the event, Ms Fulani described her conversation on Twitter, where she was challenged by a royal aide to explain where she was from.

She recounted how she said: “We’re based in Hackney,” and the aide replied: “No, what part of Africa are you from?”

She said, “I don’t know, they didn’t leave any records”, and the Palace member responded, “Well you must know where you’re from, I spent time in France. Where are you from? Here, UK.”

“No, but what nationality are you?”

“I am born here and am British.”

“No, but where do you really come from, where do your people come from?”

She said that members of the Royal Household were circulating at the reception and making “chit chat” – but she said it became a “really unpleasant interaction”, when despite Ms Fulani’s replies there was an insistent questioning about her background.

Ms Reid said they were “stunned into silence” afterwards and says that Ms Fulani should receive an apology and those working for the palace should receive training.

Both Ms Reid and Sistah Space have decided not to name the royal aide believed to be involved.

Palace reacts

In response, Buckingham Palace said, “We take this incident extremely seriously and have investigated immediately to establish the full details.

“In this instance, unacceptable and deeply regrettable comments have been made.

“We have reached out to Ngozi Fulani on this matter, and are inviting her to discuss all elements of her experience in person if she wishes.

“In the meantime, the individual concerned would like to express her profound apologies for the hurt caused and has stepped aside from her honorary role with immediate effect.

“All members of the household are being reminded of the diversity and inclusivity policies which they are required to uphold at all times.”

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Adeleke denies sacking workers, monarchs

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Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke

Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, has denied making executive orders to sack traditional rulers and workers in the state.

He said he only set up a review panel and nobody has been sacked.

His Chief Press Secretary, Olawale Rasheed, who in spoke Rave FM in Osogbo, said executive order one to five shows the intentions of the administration to review, nullify, and set aside while the instrumentality to effect the orders was order six which is the composition of the panel.

He said: “There was never sack of any worker or traditional ruler. We only set up a review panel. It is impossible to sack and put a review panel in place.

“The review panel is to look at the numbers of the people that were employed, due processes of the employment, and qualification among other things.

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“Before our taking over, there were issues of backdating of employment, even till last year. So, order 1-5 will be operationalised by order 6 which are the panels.

“Those that were employed from July 17 till our takeover are still at work presently, they have not been sacked. The staff audit will review the employment.”

However, a statement by Rasheed said the governor has approved the dissolution of all non-statutory boards in the state with immediate effect.

“As a follow-up to the pronouncement of Governor Adeleke, on Sunday, November 27, 2022, all non-statutory boards, commissions and parastatals, including those of tertiary institutions (with exception of UNIOSUN) are hereby dissolved in the state, forthwith.

“Consequently, all accounting officers of such boards, parastatals and commissions are to take charge with immediate effect.”

Sun

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