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Probe those seeking your Votes …Catholic Bishops



Address grievances, agitations now - Catholic Bishops tell FG

Catholic Bishops have taken a critical look at the state of the nation and appealed to all Nigerian voters to look back before casting their votes, in the upcoming general elections.

According to the bishops, looking back in reflection would enable the voters do a better assessment and evaluation of those seeking their votes for election and re-election into public offices.

In a Communiqué issued at the End of the First Plenary Meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) held at the Daughters of Divine Love Retreat and Conference Centre, Abuja, the bishops said “Nigerians should assume the responsibility of evaluating the performance and antecedents of those who ask for their votes”.

Speaking specifically on ‘Nigeria as a family and the coming Elections,’ the Bishops regretted that Nigerians do not see themselves yet as one entity. They said seeing one another  as one family was necessary for the people to be more responsive and protective of their country.

“Events leading to the 2015 general elections make millions of Nigerians apprehensive and show that we are yet to see Nigeria as a family to which we all belong irrespective of our diverse ethnic, religious and political affiliations.  We have been witnessing an electioneering campaign largely devoid of issues of national interest but full of threats of violence, falsehood, rumour mongering, mudslinging and suspicion,” they said in the communiqué signed by Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama Archbishop of Jos, who is also CBCN President and Most Rev. William Avenya Bishop of Gboko and Secretary, CBCN

“It is clear that Nigerian politicians, with very few exceptions, speak and act in ways that negate the consciousness of a nation as a family, a community of persons in pursuit of the common good.  All political actors and all political parties in the coming elections should know that they are individually and collectively responsible for the process and its outcome.  Utterances and conduct capable of undermining the credibility of the democratic process must be avoided.  On their part, Nigerians should assume the responsibility of evaluating the performance and antecedents of those who ask for their votes”.

The Catholic bishops said time had come for Nigerians to realize that the country was bigger than any individual, ethnic, religious or political groupings and act accordingly. “Our diversity is a beauty to celebrate in gratitude to God.  Every Nigerian has a right to be different in so far as such difference is not inimical to the common good and the ideals we share in common.  This is the time to reflect and to identify those ideals summed up in the words of our old national anthem: “Though tribe and tongue [and creed] may differ, in brotherhood we stand.” Faced with the challenge of nationhood, let us enlarge our traditional African concept of family.  Let us liberate ourselves from the shackles of ethnocentrism, of malicious ethnic and religious solidarity. Let us, in our diversity, recognize our common humanity.  For the sake of our children, and for the sake of generations yet unborn, let us see one another, irrespective of the families to which we belong, as members of the same family—the family of Nigeria,” they said.

Earlier in a homily the  President of the Catholic Bishops Conference,  Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, of Jos, was worried that the ‘feverish, barren political campaigns’ did not encourage national family and the quest to win elections at all cost contributed to heating up the polity.

Archbishop Kaigama further expressed dismay that people were relocating for fear of post-election violence and suggested that the heads of the two major political parties – PDP and APC, President Jonathan and General Buhari, should do more to diffuse the tension, quell the fear and encourage nation building.“We will like to see a friendly, social interaction between Mr President and General Buhari, and if possible, with other aspirants where the issue is not elections, but a light-hearted conversation about the good of Nigeria.”

The Catholic Bishops also announced the re-election of Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos, as President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria; Most Rev. Augustine Akubeze, Archbishop of Benin, as Vice President; Most Rev. William Avenya, Bishop of Gboko, as Secretary; and Most Rev. Felix Ajakaye, Bishop of Ekiti, as Assistant Secretary.



Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes



Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump - CAN fumes

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.

President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.

Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.

He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.

He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.

“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’

“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.

“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.

“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.

“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.

“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”

However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.

He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.

“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”

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CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers



CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, has blamed Christians in the National Assembly (NASS), for the passage of the 2020 Companies and Allied Matters Bill (CAMA), signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.

Bishop Onah, said in a remark during the Sunday Mass that if Christians in NASS had opposed the bill, it would not have been passed into law.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Aug. 7, signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organizations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and a supervising minister.

“The question many Christians have been asking is, where were Christian legislators during the debate of this bill and its passage in the National Assembly?

“Because, if they had opposed this bill on the floor of the house, it would not have been passed and sent to the president for assent.

“I blame Christian legislators for doing nothing and allowing the passage of the 2020 CAMA Act,” he said.

“When I say that Christians are too divided and too selfish, don’t forget that the second in command in this country is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a professor of Law and a pastor.”

Onah, however, wondered what the Federal Government wanted to achieve in monitoring how the finances of churches in the country are managed when it contributed no dime to the church, NAN reports.

“Government should focus and monitor its ministries, agencies and other government institutions where it budgets billions of Naira annually and not church offerings.

“Had it been that the government gave allocations to churches and decided to monitor its usage, nobody will question the government,” he said.

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Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike



Increasing Fuel and Electricity Prices

Anger and condemnations, across the country, have continued to trail last week’s take off, of new increases in pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariffs, as directed by Federal Government.

Recall that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) official, D.O. Abalaka announced on Wednesday September 3, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the new price of petroleum is now N151.56k per litre instead of N149 – N150 per litre which it was previously.

The new electricity tariff which the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) tagged “Service Reflective Tariff” has also come into effect. It requires consumers to pay N53.87 – N66.422 per kwh of electricity.

Outraged consumers of fuel and electricity have therefore warned government to get ready for collision with the masses if it fails to rescind these new prices.

Those who have expressed outrage over the new prices regimes include, the Organized Labour, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian main opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).

Others are: Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA).

The NLC said, “The frequent fuel price increase will no longer be accepted. We will not allow Nigerians fall victim of government ineptitude and negligence to make the country self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum products at home.”

On its part, the PDP has described the price hike as “callous, cruel and punishing” and demanded an immediate reversal to avert a national crisis.

The All Industrial Global sees the incessant increase as a confirmation that deregulation means just price increase.

“This is unacceptable! Under a pandemic, we should put money in the pockets of citizens to revive collapsed livelihoods and preserve lives.” In its reaction, NECA said it has always urged Federal Government to adopt deregulation policy in the oil and gas downstream sector.

The MOMAN in its statement insists that monthly price variation of fuel was no longer sustainable. It urged PPRA to adopt quarterly price mechanism which would save the market the hassles of price volatility. The statements by IPMAN and NACCIMA also followed along the same line that the hike “…serves only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.”

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