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JUST IN: I Made Mistakes In The Past Because I Was Young, I’ve Changed Now —Pantami Pleads |The Republican News

I was young when I made some of the comments, I was in university, some of the comments were made when I was a…

Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Ali Isa Pantami, has renounced some contoversial comments he made on Al Qaeda and Taliban.

The minister has been under fire over the comments which were interpreted as endorsing the extremist sects.

Social media users and some government critics have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to fire him if he fails to step down.

But while answering questions during his daily Ramadan lecture at Annor Mosque in Abuja on Saturday, the minister said he now knows better about some of the comments he made in the past.

He said the campaign against him is politically motivated.

“For 15 years, I have moved round the country while educating people about the dangers of terrorism. I have traveled to Katsina, Gombe, Borno, Kano states and Difa in Niger Republic to preach against terrorism.

“I have engaged those with Boko Haram ideologies in different places. I have been writing pamphlets in Hausa, English and Arabic. I have managed to bring back several young persons who have derailed from the right path.

“Some of the comments I made some years ago that are generating controversies now were based on my understanding of religious issues at the time, and I have changed several positions taken in the past based on new evidence and maturity.

“I was young when I made some of the comments; I was in university, some of the comments were made when I was a teenager. I started preaching when I was 13, many scholars and individuals did not understand some of international events and therefore took some positions based on their understanding, some have come to change their positions later.”

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I Support Terrorist Groups Like Taliban, Al-Qaeda But I’m Not A Fan Of Boko Haram — Isa Pantami |The Republican News

Minister of Communications and Digital, Isa Pantami


Though Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Pantami denounces any allegiance to Boko Haram, he expressed support for the global extremist groups, the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

“This jihad is an obligation for every single believer, especially in Nigeria,’’ Mr Pantami said in one of his vicious preachings in the 2000s. “Oh God, give victory to the Taliban and to al-Qaeda (Allahumma’ nṣur Ṭālibān wa-tanẓīm al Qā‘ida).”

Mr Pantami’s call to Jihad and unalloyed support for murderous groups portray him as a dyed-in-the-wool Islamic fundamentalist. Yet, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Mr Pantami as communications minister to control the country’s massive data and telephone infrastructure and other sensitive details of national intelligence.

When contacted on Wednesday by newsmen regarding his support for the terrorist groups, the minister did not comment.

On Monday, Mr Pantami threatened to sue some media platforms for reporting that he is on the U.S. terror watchlist for supporting Boko Haram.

The minister had claimed on Twitter that his lectures “against the doctrines and all other evil people (terrorists) have been available for over 15 years, including debates that endangered my life against many criminals in Nigeria.”

But he failed to acknowledge that he is an avowed supporter of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, as revealed in a 2019 academic document ‘Debating Boko Haram’.

Mr Pantami invited Muslims, especially “Ahlus Sunna” (Salafis), to be sceptical of politicians and religious leaders calling for peace and understanding but retaliate with jihad.

“This jihad is an obligation for every single believer, especially in Nigeria (hādhā jihād farḍ ‘ayn ‘ala kull muslim wa-khuṣūṣan fī Nījīriyā),” he added. Mr Pantami’s comments were translated by Professor Andrea Brigaglia, an African expert at Naples University in Italy. Nigerian scholar Musa Ibrahim of the University of Florida in the United States contributed to the paper that explored the onset of Boko Haram in Nigeria.

Top journal publisher academia.edu published the research in March 2019, several months before Mr Buhari tapped Mr Pantami as a minister. Mr Pantami’s violent preachings, which he rendered in Hausa and Arabic throughout the late 1990s and early to mid-2000s, had gone largely unreported in the Nigerian mainstream media.

The document detailed how Mr Pantami offered himself as a volunteer to mobilise the Hisba police of the North, requesting to be appointed as the “commander” (kwamanda) of a militia (ready to travel to Yelwa Shendam) to fight in defence of the Muslims.

The speech, which is about 20 minutes long, concluded with the prayer, “Oh God, give victory to the Taliban and to al-Qaeda (Allahumma’ nṣur Ṭālibān wa-tanẓīm alQā‘ida).”

“During his speech, Pantami is in tears, and his voice is often broken by sighs. The genuineness of his emotional response to what was, without doubt, a dramatic episode in the history of violent conflict in Plateau state is obvious,” said the report.

In a second speech, delivered in 2006, Mr Pantami offered his public condolences for the death of the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, al-Zarqawi.

“May God have mercy on Aḥmad alFāḍil al-Khalayleh, raḥmatullāh’ alayhi. May God forgive his mistakes. He is a human being. He has certainly some mistakes in front of God, so may God forgive his mistakes. Who am I talking about? He is Abū Muṣ‘ab al-Zarqāwī.

“He was born in 1966 of the Christian era, that is forty years ago. […] After some time, he was given responsibility for a camp in Herat. It was the Commander of the Faithful (Amīr almu’minīn) Mollah Omar ‒ may God preserve him ‒ who personally gave him the authority to run this camp.”

The document noted Mr Pantami as further saying, “To this date, in the community of the Prophet we have some awesome people, people of awesome faith, who follow the creed of the Sunna and thanks to whom the enemies of God are unable to find rest in this world.

“They have killed the Shaykh, the martyr Abdallah Yusuf Azzam ‒ may God have mercy on him ‒ but did the struggle end? They went on to strike Chechnya, and they killed many of them: did it end? […] Whenever one goes, another one comes, and he is even more awesome than the first,” Mr Pantami added.

In 2012, former President Goodluck Jonathan made a veiled reference to the fact that terrorists and their sympathisers had infiltrated his government. Boko Haram and other terror groups in the country have continued to terrorise Nigerians by the wanton destruction of lives and property. Source: Peoples Gazzette

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We Received Order Not To Repel Boko Haram Attack On Borno Town —Military Source |The Republican News

The military source told SaharaReporters that Brigadier General, S. S. Tilawan had asked soldiers to stay back rather than attack the terrorists who invaded Damasak town on Saturday.

A military source has explained why the Nigerian Army of 5 Brigade and 145 Battalion could not repel Boko Haram attack on Damasak town, Borno State despite heavy military presence.

The military source told SaharaReporters that Brigadier General, S. S. Tilawan had asked soldiers to stay back rather than attack the terrorists who invaded Damasak town on Saturday.

According to him, the Boko Haram militants had come through the town where civilians are residing making it difficult for the fighter aircraft to strike.

He said the airforce personnel had monitored the movement of the terrorists and informed foot soldiers who ought to tactically combat the attack. He, however, said S. S. Tilawan asked soldiers to retreat, giving the terrorists a smooth operation.

“The Boko Haram terrorists came through Damasak town and started the attack from 4:04 pm to 8 pm. The attack lasted for that long, the Boko Haram militants came through the town where civilians live. The airforce personnel tried, they were there on time to attack Boko Haram but couldn’t because of civilians.

“It was supposed to be the duty of the army to enter that town and fish out these bad boys, but we don’t even have what to use, talkless of other things. The jet cannot bomb that town because the Boko Haram militants came from where civilians are staying and the governor of this state, Babagana Zulum, has so much confidence in this battalion, that is why he opened IDPs’ camp in Damasak to protect his people because he so much loves his people. He wants to ensure that the people live comfortably but now it seems like the army has failed the man due to high corruption in the army, this country is so bad.

“With my five years in the army, even common helmet we don’t have, even those who fought first and second world wars used the helmet to fight and in this modern day and age, we don’t have a helmet, I am very angry.

“Within a month now, we have lost 18 soldiers in this battalion because of one useless Brigade Commander S. S. Tilawan they brought to us. This man is creating unnecessary work, he scattered the camp. I believe he is an agent of Boko Haram. A few days ago, a company was dislodged by Boko Haram militants and when our people tried to go for reinforcement, he said we should not go. That day we lost 10 soldiers and today when the jet came, they told us that they could sight the Boko Haram guys but could not bomb because civilians were there, and that we should go with our little weapons and recapture the town.

“Tilawan still gave order that we should not go to that town. He has forgotten that we are here because of these people. The world should come and do something about this man before the issue gets out of hand. The governor should know that his people are no longer safe because of the Brigadier General S. S. Tilawan, he should come fast and do something.

“People are dying anyhow, and we are here for them. I don’t know the number of people who died but I know Boko Haram militants entered the area and looted it. I feel angry because we could not help these people and we are here for them. It is my duty as a Nigerian soldier to protect people but there is nothing we can do when our leaders make decisions against the people.

“Boko Haram killed people in the town and injured some. The people are doing burials in their cemetery now. We would’ve rescued them yesterday but the commander gave the order that we should not enter the town.

“They didn’t enter our camp but they looted Damasak town to their satisfaction. They even took civilians’ cars away. We lost 3 soldiers to yesterday’s attack, totalling 18 soldiers under just one month.”

SaharaReporters had earlier reported how the Boko Haram fighters invaded Damasak town in Borno State on Saturday, burning United Nations facilities and forcing humanitarian workers to flee for their lives.

It was learnt that the terrorists, aided by their deadlier Islamic State West African Province fighters, set fire to the UN office and at least three other international charity organisations contiguous to the UN facility.

“The terrorists came into the town in gun trucks. They first embarked on a looting spree. They carted away aid supplies meant for the Internally Displaced Persons before they set fire to the UN hub in the town and three other buildings belonging to other aid organisations,” a source in the town narrated.

(Sahara Reporters)

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Nigeria Heading For A Breakup, There’s Urgent Need To Prevent It —Lai Mohammed |RN

Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed

•Meets opinion leaders tomorrow


•Abdulsalami peace committee convenes today

With growing insecurity across the country, secessionist agitations and ethno-religious crisis, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has warned that Nigeria is heading for the brink, urging that there is an urgent need to pull it back.

“Despite huge human and material resources the country is heading for the brinks and there is an urgent need to pull it back from this catastrophe,” he said in a letter inviting leaders of opinion to a town hall meeting scheduled for tomorrow in Kaduna.

Also concerned by the raging strife across the land, the Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar (rtd)-led National Peace Committee (NPC) is also convening a meeting today in Abuja to discuss the way forward.
Nigeria has recently witnessed increasing insecurity, leading to the killing of security agents and innocent citizens by bandits.

The security crisis has made many Nigerians and members of the international community to express concerns about the state of the nation.
Mohammed, in a letter, inviting prominent Nigerians for a town hall meeting in Kaduna tomorrow said the manifestations of the general state of insecurity in the country, especially with secessionist narrative, crass politicisation of ethnic and religious differences need to be addressed urgently.
He said with the situation, the country is heading for the brink.

He said: “As you may observe, Nigeria has failed to manage its diversity. Despite huge human and material resources the country is heading for the brink and there is an urgent need to pull it back from this catastrophe.

“Increasingly, we are seeing this lack of capacity to manage our diversity manifesting in a general state of insecurity as witnessed in the heightened incidences of farmers/herders clashes, Boko Haram insurgency, banditry, ethno-religious clashes and intolerance, cultism, drug addiction and kidnapping.

“Closely tied to all these are the dangerous threat to the unity of the country and its continued existence as one indivisible nation. But the story of Nigeria has not always been this negative. How did we get here and what can we do to change the narrative to present our country in the best of light? This requires teamwork, reflecting all diversities, leveraging on all our collective creativity to pursue with diligence the project of rescuing Nigeria.’’

Mohammed added that the correct starting point towards addressing the problems is building an elite consensus on the security, unity, indissolubility and peaceful existence of Nigeria.
He said such elite consensus had worked in the past and there is a need to find out why it is not working again as well as to proffer solutions because Nigeria is truly at a tipping point.

In the invitation letters sent to many opinion moulders nationwide, the minister said a broad-based and inclusive town hall meeting has been fixed for Kaduna tomorrow to discuss some of the manifestations of the general state of insecurity in the country, especially with secessionist narrative, crass politicisation of ethnic and religious differences.

“The proposed town hall meeting will aim at developing concrete implementable resolutions because a lot of theoretical talks and postulation had taken place with little or no requisite outcome.
“The event will be declared open by President Muhammadu Buhari. Reputable scholar, Prof. Jibril Ibrahim, will be the lead presenter and will set the tone for discussion with Prof. Saka Nuru, Prof. Chudi Uwazurike and Prof Kokunre Eghafonaas as guest discussants,’’ the letter stated.

The meeting is expected to be attended by the leadership of the legislature, governors, ministers, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, service chiefs, Inspector-General of Police, heads of security agencies, religious and traditional leaders and members of the international community amongst others.

Similarly, the Abdulsalami-led peace committee has also scheduled a meeting of prominent leaders for today in Abuja to address what it described as the “escalating spate of insecurity, banditry, kidnapping, regional agitations, the killing of innocent citizens and other forms of violence.’’
It added that the vexed issues have continued to cause deep concern to well-meaning citizens at home and abroad.
NPC said it had been receiving requests from Nigerians, urging it to intervene. (ThisDay)

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Boko Haram Overwhelming Nigeria Under Buhari’s Watch —Bishop Kukah |The Republican News

Bishop Matthew Kukah

By Ignatius Igwe 

The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Bishop Matthew Kukah on Sunday berated the current administration for its handling of Nigeria’s security challenges, saying Boko Haram terrorists are consuming the nation under President Muhammadu Buhari’s watch.

Kukah in his 2021 Easter message titled, ‘Before our glory departs’, recalled that President Buhari had in 2015 described Boko Haram insurgents as a typical case of small fires causing large fires.

“On May 29, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari, at his swearing-in as President of Nigeria, said: Boko Haram is a typical case of small fires causing large fires,” Kukah said.

“Now, before his watch, the fires are consuming the nation, and in many instances, they indeed start small.

“In all, Nigeria’s troubles are growing by the day, but our hands must remain stretched out in supplication.”

Bishop Kukah also blamed those in power for the increasing cases of banditry, kidnapping, terrorism and armed robbery in the country, noting that insecurity keeps deteriorating because the ruling class pays more attention to rehabilitating bandits and kidnappers than the victims.

He expressed concern over the killing of security operatives and the “helplessness” of the citizens, saying: “Taunted by Boko Haram, ravaged by bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, and other merchants of death across the nation, there is collective fear as to whether Nigeria’s glory is about to depart! Retired military and intelligence officers lament over what has become of their glorious profession as they watch the humiliation of our military personnel.

“Traumatised citizens are tortured daily by bandits. The nation has since become a massive killing field, as both government and the governed look on helplessly.

“A thick and suffocating cloud of desperation, despondency, desolation, gloom, and misery hangs in the hot air. We have no message and have no idea how long this will last. Our people seek solace and protection, but frustration and darkness threaten to drown them. Is their government on AWOL?”

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

NIGERIA: BEFORE OUR GLORY DEPARTS

EASTER MESSAGE, April 4th 2021

By Matthew Hassan KUKAH, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese

If a religious leader is afraid to say what is right, what else can his silence mean but that he has taken flight? Hiding behind a wall of silence is like taking flight at the approach of the wolf.

Pope St. Gregory the Great (540–604 AD)

1: Easter Sunday is here again. But first, let us step back to Friday.

Good Friday was a Kairos moment for the beleaguered followers of Jesus, a defining moment that separated truth from falsehood and light from the darkness. At Golgotha, Jesus remained silent when the first thief taunted Him, and when bystanders scornfully asked him to demonstrate His divine powers by coming down from the cross. Everything about Christ–the prophecies of His birth, His life on earth, the miracles He performed, the sermons He preached, His torture and subsequent death–now hung languidly on a wooden cross on the hill of Golgotha. There were two types of persons at Golgotha: observers and waiters. The observers had two characteristics, derision and curiosity.

The waiters were characterised by hope, fear, and anxiety. Both sides watched and waited with bated breath. After His ignominious death, everything now depended on the third day. After all, He had said He would rise after three days (Mk. 9:31).

2: Let us pause and look back at the earlier events in the life of Jesus. Let us look briefly at the drama of the three temptations of Jesus by the devil as recorded by St. Matthew. First, the devil has a sense of perfect timing when he approached Jesus. He knows that Jesus had fasted for forty days and nights without food and was hungry (Mt. 4:2). Prove that you are the Son of God: turn these stones into bread, he said (Mt. 4:3). In response, Jesus says: Man will not live on bread alone (Mt. 4:4). Here, Jesus insists

that there are higher goals for us to live or die for. The devil had hoped that like the dictators of today, Jesus could seduce the people with the bread of temporal power to gain cheap followership. No, Jesus says, you must set a higher moral goal.

Second, the devil asks Jesus to throw himself down the cliff. After all, he tells Jesus, the Angels of God will hold you (Mt. 4:6). Here, Jesus is called to take a shortcut to fame.

Why travel the hard road of suffering, sacrifice, exclusion, and powerlessness? Succumb to the seduction of the dreamer, the charmer, climb the actor’s shoulder. And then what next? Jesus rejects this temptation. Why? Because God demands more than theatrical performances from us.

Third, the devil says he will give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world (money, power, territory) only if He bows and acknowledges him (Mt. 4:8). Wow! No better evidence that the devil is a liar. He knows he has no kingdom and what he has is his kingdom of darkness and lies. It was in this same manner that the devil deceived Eve at the Garden of Eden by mixing a concoction of lies. At the base of this temptation is the seduction of pride and power. God knows that the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God (Gen. 3:5). Think of the many who have sold their souls for ephemeral power, those who have denied Jesus by action so as to ascend the throne of power. By His resistance to the devil, Jesus shows that following His path will require tremendous sacrifice.

3: It’s now Saturday night. The clock is ticking. Will He or will He not rise as He said?

No one knows what to expect. Will Jesus be exposed as a fraud? The Apostles are retired, desolate, forlorn, woebegone, and despondent. Has it all come to nothing? Have they lost everything? Has it all just been an illusion? Was Peter right when he asked what their reward would be, having forgone everything to follow Him? (Mt. 19:27) Has this been one wild goose chase? Where would they turn to now? The sun gradually sets

on Saturday. The night has in its womb, a combination of the derision and curiosity binding the observers and waiters. A cloud of trepidation envelopes everywhere. The Roman authorities have built a concrete wall of military security around the grave. They sealed the stone and placed heavy military guard just in case, as they feared, His followers come and steal the body and pretend that He had risen (Mt. 27: 64).

4: Sunday morning would seal the fate of everyone on both sides.

As it turns out, the world forgot that: He who guards Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps (Ps. 121:4). Before daybreak, a woman, Mary Magdalene, visits the grave to perform a simple ritual. To her shock, she finds an empty tomb! (Jn. 20:1). Slowly, painfully, unbelievably, the words go out: They have taken the body of the Lord away and we do not know where they have put Him (Jn. 20:2). They will soon realise that, indeed, His resurrection is only a fulfilment of what He had promised during His lifetime. The devil has been defeated, and the Lord has the final word. Truth has drowned falsehood. Light has overcome darkness. Good has triumphed over evil. Life has defeated death.

5: The Roman soldiers who stood guard over the grave were like dead men (Mt. 28:3).

However, rather than face punishment, the Roman authorities offered to bribe them and asked them to lie that the Lord’s body had been stolen while they were sleeping! (Mt. 28:13). It is too late: The Lord is risen indeed! World history succumbs to the power of the Creator of heaven and earth. Time and space have merged. History’s calendar is split into two. Henceforth, everything will be marked by whether it happened before or after the resurrection of Jesus Christ! This is what Christians celebrate today. But what is the implication of all this for us in Nigeria today?

6: Nigeria’s current predicament reminds me of Israel’s situation that led to the death of Eli, the great High Priest of Israel. Israel’s defeat in the hands of the Philistines led to the death of 30,000 soldiers. The two sons of the 98-year-old priest – Hophni and Phinehas – died in the battle. Eli’s two sons had foolishly carried the Ark of the Lord into the battlefield for protection, only for it to become a trophy for the victorious Philistines.

The high priest, Eli, collapsed and died after hearing this horrible news. Elsewhere, on hearing about the death of her husband, her father- in-law, and the loss of the Ark, Eli’s daughter-in-law went into premature labour. She was delivered of a baby boy–a call for great celebration in Israel! Strangely, she responded by naming her newborn son “Ichabod,” meaning, The glory has departed!

7: Taunted by Boko Haram, ravaged by bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, and other merchants of death across the nation, there is collective fear as to whether Nigeria’s glory is about to depart! Retired military and intelligence officers lament over what has become of their glorious profession as they watch the humiliation of our military personnel. Traumatised citizens are tortured daily by bandits. The nation has since become a massive killing field, as both government and the governed look on helplessly. A thick and suffocating cloud of desperation, despondency, desolation, gloom, and misery hangs in the hot air. We have no message and have no idea how long this will last. Our people seek solace and protection, but frustration and darkness threaten to drown them. Is their government on AWOL?

8: Two weeks ago, I came across a video in which a very frustrated Muslim cleric, addressing a Muslim audience, lamented: If you killed 200 chickens in the farm of any of the big farmers, you will be dealt with. But today, we are being killed. It is your fault. On the day of elections, you say, it is Jihad! Christians will take over Nigeria! Ok, the Christians did not take Nigeria. It has been left in the hands of those who sit and see us being killed. If we are killed, the head says, God forbid! He was not elected to say God forbid. This imaginary jihad won the elections now where are the jihadists? The lesson here is that politicians will use religion to mobilise for elections, but they cannot use it to govern.

9: The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria weighed in with a strong statement on February 23, 2021, titled, We Must Pull Back from the Brink of Collapse. Part of the statement read: The very survival of the nation is at stake. The nation is pulling apart.

Widespread serious insecurity for long unaddressed has left the sad and dangerous impressions that those who have assumed the duty and authority to secure the nation are either unable or worse, unwilling to take up the responsibilities to their office.

Patience is running out. Sadly, all of these warnings are still falling on deaf ears.

10: It may sound strange, but for us Christians, the celebration of the resurrection of Christ is the greatest assurance that all these will pass away. This is not a call for us to simply sit on our hands or believe we can pray our crises away. As pointed out above, the sufferings of Jesus and His Cross provide us with the perfect mirror of our hope. St. Paul reminds us: We are hard-pressed on all sides, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body (2 Cor. 4:9). These are the hallmarks of our faith. We must remain steadfast.

11: I appeal to Christians to continue in the spirit of the Gospel, the teachings of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. St. Paul says: Though He was God, he humbled himself, became man and remained obedient up till death (Phil. 2:6ff). Following in His steps, we Christians have lived through the life of martyrdom. Jesus taught us how to pray for our enemies (Mt. 5:44). Although His teachings are hard (Jn. 6:60), it was not the guns of a powerful army that brought down the walls of Jericho. The prayers of the priests did (Jos. 6:20). Jesus defied the temptations of coming down from the Cross. He knew there was a higher truth deferred. It was fulfilled on Easter day. No matter the provocation, we must arm ourselves with the weapons of truth, the Word, the Spirit, and love. At the heart of Christianity is the Truth and Love.

12: Today, many of us erroneously speak about the trial of Jesus by Pilate on Good Friday. In reality, it was Pilate who stood trial, not Jesus. Pilate sat on a throne to judge what he himself was ignorant of–the truth. Chained by ignorance, the powerful often grope around a twilight zone between truth and lies. At the mention of the word “Truth” by Jesus, Pilate was jolted from his chair. In trepidation and apprehension, the mighty man says, Truth, what is that? (Jn. 18:38). Pilate was looking for the Truth but did not recognise it when it stood right before him. In every age, the seduction of raw power tends to blind the Pilates of this world to the truth.

13: When governments face legitimacy crises, they fall back on serving the sour broth of propaganda, half-truths, and outright lies. They manufacture consent by creating imaginary enemies, setting citizens against one another by deploying religion, ethnicity, region, and other platforms while appealing to the base emotions of patriotism. We forget the reality that without truth, the throne of power often turns into a cage, and the occupant is turned into a prisoner. In reality, the truth needs neither a judge nor a witness. The truth is its own judge and witness. Without the truth, as the old song says, all else is sinking sand!

14: Recently, according to the World Happiness Report, we are one of the unhappiest nations in the world. This is unacceptable but understandable. Our clay-footed fight against corruption has not moved the needle of transparency forward. Of course, being the poverty capital of the world comes with its rewards such as banditry, violence, death, sorrow, blood, poverty, misery, and tears. Our cup of sorrow is permanently full; hence the exponential rise in the frustration curve across the country.

15: Sadly, human life is haemorrhaging so badly in Nigeria, but the greatest tragedy is the death of empathy from those in power. Mysteriously, the government is investing billions of naira in rehabilitating so-called Boko Haram repentant members and their other partners in crime in the belief that they want to turn a new leaf. These criminals have waged war against their country, murdered thousands of citizens, destroyed infrastructure and rendered entire families permanently displaced and dislocated. Why should rehabilitating the perpetrator be more important than bringing succour to the victims?

16: When kidnapped or killed, victims and their families are left to their wits. They cry alone, bury their loved ones alone. And our government expects us to be patriotic? The victims of violence need empathy, which the dictionary defines as the ability to understand and share the feelings of the other. A critical deficit of empathy on the side of the government makes healing almost impossible for the victims. We have not heard anything about a rehabilitation programme for the thousands of schoolchildren who have been victims of abduction. We seem to assume that their return to their schools is sufficient. Left unaddressed, the traumatic effect of their horrors will haunt them for a long time. Tomorrow’s parents, military generals, top security men and women, governors, senators, and ministers will come from today’s pool of traumatised children.

The security quandary is the greatest indictment of this government.

17: There is a time for everything under the sun (Eccl. 3:1). Perhaps, we can paraphrase this by saying there is a time for war and a time for peace. There is a time for poverty and a time for wealth. There is a time for stealing and a time for returning what has been stolen. There is a time for politics and a time for governance. There is a time for tethering to the brink of chaos and a time for recovering the soul of a nation.

There is a time for the collapse of morality and a time for moral recovery. There is a time for leadership and a time for statesmanship. There is a time for losing greatness and a time for achieving greatness. Nigeria must now ask itself: What is left of our glory? Where are the values that held us together?

18: On our national Coat of Arms, we profess our motto to be: Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress. But let us ask ourselves: Is Nigeria united today? Do citizens still have faith in the country? Where are the signs of peace or progress? Today, before our very eyes, these words have been emptied of their flavour and have lost their resonance and capacity to summon our citizens to patriotism. St Augustine once said: Remove justice, and what are kingdoms but gangs of criminals on a large scale? He further said that: A gang is a group of men (and women) under the command of a leader, bound by a compact of association, in which the plunder is divided according to an agreed convention. This is the fate of our nation today. Day by day, Nigeria drifts irreversibly into a dark tunnel. Things are falling apart with unnerving rapidity because those who govern have only a pact to protect their interests. Politics is merely its conveyor belt of ambition. Nigeria has a date with destiny. If we do not turn around, The axe is alreadylaid to the roots of the tree (Mt. 3:10).

19: With some chance, we might pull through this, but it is getting tougher each passing day. Does anyone remember where we started and how we got here? On May 29, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari, at his swearing-in as President of Nigeria, said: Boko Haram is a typical case of small fires causing large fires. Now, before his watch, the fires are consuming the nation, and in many instances, they indeed start small. The rumblings over the wearing of a hijab in Kwara State suggest that we have not seen the end of individuals sacrificing national cohesion to feed their personal ambitions by starting small fires. Most politicians hardly think through the long-term effects of these pyrrhic victories of using religion. What started as a small fire with adoption of Sharia in Zamfara in 1999, spread across the northern states. Ordinary people broke into ecstatic joy. Today, what has become of the north? What are the lessons?

20: In all, Nigeria’s troubles are growing by the day, but our hands must remain stretched out in supplication. Prophet Isaiah’s words should give us hope and consolation. He said: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze (Isaiah 43:2). We shall lift our eyes to the mountain because we know that our help shall come from the Lord (Ps. 121:1). As Christians, we do not trust in God because we cannot revenge. We do not revenge because we trust in God. The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still (Ex. 14:14). Just as the chains of death could not hold Jesus in the grave, so shall we triumph. Break into shouts of joy together, O ruins of Jerusalem; for the Lord has consoled his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem (Isaiah 52:9). Have hope and be cheerful (Rom. 12:12).

A very happy and peaceful Easter to everyone.

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We’ve Uncovered The Bureau De Change Operators Helping To Sponsor Boko Haram —Presidency |The Republican News

Garba Shehu

The Presidency says it has uncovered the Nigerians who are transferring money to Boko Haram terrorists from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Malam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant To The President On Media and Publicity, disclosed this when he featured on a Channels Television programme.

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The Presidential spokesman, who said some Bureau De Change operators were facilitating transfer of money to terrorists, added that Nigerians will be shocked when details of the investigation are revealed.

He said some persons have been arrested in connection with the incident.

“Bureaus de change are facilitating money to terrorists. We have already worked with the UAE,” he said.

“Convictions have been achieved of Nigerians who are transferring money to Boko Haram terrorists and this also happens domestically. And I tell you that by the time we finish this investigation, the shocking details will surprise many Nigerians.”

Earlier in the week, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, who is the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, had said there is a link between kidnapping, banditry and terrorism.

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Corruption: 13 Security Chiefs, Public Officials Connected To 800 Properties In UAE Worth $400m |The Republican News

Dubai


By Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja

About 800 assets worth $400 million stolen from Nigeria and domiciled in various cities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been traced to 13 Nigerian security chiefs and public officials.

Of the 800 assets said to have been uncovered by investigators, the 13 security chiefs are discovered to own 216, while the remaining 584 have been traced to Nigerian public officials.

Investigators further revealed that about N17 billion, being stolen assets from Nigeria annually, are laundered in the UAE and the United Kingdom (UK).

These were some of the revelations made at an international conference in Abuja on Tuesday, with the theme; Fixing Financial Flows: A critical Review of UK and UAE Policies, Laws and Practices in Financial and No- Financial Institutions.

The event, organised by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) and other foreign and local development partners, was held at the Sheraton Hotels, Abuja.

The chairman of HEDA, Olanrewaju Suraju, said the illicit financial outflows from Nigeria have continued to hurt the vulnerable poor, fuel violence and constitute threats to moral authority of the Nigerian state.

Suraju said that the UAE and the U.K. have been facing attacks for failing to live up to international obligations in curbing illicit financial flow, mainly perpetrated by politically exposed persons. (The Nation)

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‘DSS Competing With Bandits, Terrorists To Kidnap Nigerians’–Citizens Condemn Arrest of Ganduje’s Aide For Asking Buhari To Resign. |RN

Salihu Tanko Yakasai

By Tayo Olu

Angry reactions have trailed the arrest of a media aide to Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS).

Salihu Tanko Yakasai, popularly known as Dawisu, was reportedly arrested by the state security agents after taking to social media to critise the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) government over recent abductions of schoolchildren in the country.

Dawisu had said that the APC government “at all levels” had failed Nigerians in their primary duties of protecting lives and property.

He mentioned Friday’s abduction of over 300 schoolgirls in Jangebe, Zamfara, and over 300 schoolboys in Kankara, Katsina, last December, as proofs that the APC government had failed.

Dawisu, who is a member of the APC, had asked President Buhari and governors of troubled states in the country to “deal with terrorists decisively or resign”.

Kano State residents were said to have complained about Dawisu’s whereabouts after his series of tweets criticising the government for failing to protect the citizens.

Following his reported arrest, #FreeDawisu trended at number one on Saturday on Twitter as Nigerians criticised President Buhari and the state security service for constantly attempting to muzzle free speech in a democratic setting.

Co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls movement, Aisha Yesufu, said the DSS was now “competing with kidnappers to abduct citizens”.

She added that, “It is more relieving to be with DSS not because they have not infringed on your right or kill you as kidnappers would but because you will not pay RANSOM! Dawisu is a citizen with the right to speak his mind #FreeDawisu”

EiE Nigeria, an advocacy group for good governance, described Dawisu’s arrest as, “a dangerous sign of a government that fears it is losing its mandate and is falling into panic.”

It said, “Critics are being arrested on ludicrous charges… while bandits roam free, tells us very clearly where Nigeria is headed. #FreeDawisu”

Below are some of the twitter reactions to Dawisu’s arrest

Credits | TW

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COAS, Attahiru Gives 48-hour Ultimatum To Recapture All Territories From Boko Haram |The Republican News

Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru

By Mukaila Ola

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, has given 48 hours ultimatum to the troops of the Nigerian Army to clear Boko Haram from reported captured areas of Borno State.

Marte, a local government in the troubled state was recently reported to have been attacked and taken over by Boko Haram.

Some communities in the state including Kirenowa, Kirta. Wulgo, Chikingudo in Marte and Ngala local government areas were reported to have a strong presence of the terrorist group.

The COAS who on Sunday addressed the troops of the Nigerian Army Super Camp 9, Dikwa gave the order that the insurgents should be cleared from the reported areas in the next 48 hours.

He said “areas around Marte, Chikingudu, Wulgo Kirenowa and Kirta must be cleared in the next 48 hours.”

The COAS who said he had spoken to the Theater Commander, and the General Officer Commanding 7 Division, told the troops that ”you must not let this nation down. Go back and do the needful and I will be right behind you.”

He told them: “You should be rest assured of all support you required in this very onerous task.”

The Army Chief equally said: ”You are aware of the recent attack on Dikwa and Marte, you should not allow this to happen again, go after them and clear these bastards”.

The COAS, who commended the efforts of the troops in the fight against Boko Haram, said: ”I am here to deliver the greetings of Mr. President and Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buahri. I have spoken with your Commanders, we are going to provide you the equipment and weapons you need to end this war.

“We are also going to address the issue of over stay in the theatre. No more issue of over stay”.

The COAS while addressing the residents of Dikwa and those who fled during the recent onslaught on Marte, but now taking refuge in Dikwa, he said: ”I want to assure you that we are going to protect you, not only that we are going to clear Marte, Kirenuwa, Wulgo, Kirta and their environs. What we need from you is your cooperation and prayers.”

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Boko Haram Kills 7 Soldiers In An Ambush In Northeast Nigeria |The Republican News

■Troops killed in ambush in Borno state’s Marte local government area

By Adam Abu-bashal and Ahmet Gencturk

At least seven Nigerian soldiers were killed in an ambush by Boko Haram terrorists in Borno state, reports said Wednesday.

According to the local press, troops with the 153rd Task Force Battalion in the Marte local government area were caught by surprise when the insurgents attacked them.

An armed clash erupted, during which seven soldiers died and many others were wounded.

The insurgents escaped following the attack, the reports noted.

Boko Haram launched a bloody insurgency in 2009 in northeastern Nigeria but later spread its atrocities to neighboring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting a military response.

More than 30,000 people have been killed and nearly 3 million displaced in a decade of Boko Haram’s terrorist activities in Nigeria, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Violence committed by Boko Haram has affected some 26 million people in the Lake Chad region and displaced 2.6 million others, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

Credits |AA

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