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Muslims And Christians Can Cohabit And Flourish – Buhari |The Republican News

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President Muhammadu Buhari has warned against politicising religion, saying Christians and Muslims in Nigeria can flourish together.

Mr Buhari said this in an opinion article published by the News Agency of Nigeria.

The article earlier appeared on the UK-based Christian Times on Friday.

In the article, the president referenced a Biblical verse and argued that Christians and Muslims share the same root, although their believes differ.

Read the op-ed below:

In 1844, the Revd Samuel Ajayi Crowther returned home to Yoruba land (now part of modern-day Nigeria). Twenty years earlier, he had been kidnapped and sold to European slave traders who were bound for the Americas. He was freed by an abolitionist naval patrol, and received by the Church Missionary Society. There, he found his calling.

Crowther made his voyage home to establish the first Anglican mission in Yoruba land. He came with the first Bibles translated into Yoruba and Hausa languages. He opened dialogue and discussion with those of other faiths. And his mission was a success: Crowther later became the first African Anglican bishop in Africa.

Today, Nigeria has the largest Christian population on the continent. The messages and teachings of Christianity are part of the fabric of each person’s life.

Along with the millions of Christians in Nigeria today, I believe in peace, tolerance, and reconciliation; in the institution of the family, the sanctity of marriage, and the honour of fidelity; in hope, compassion, and divine revelation.

Like Bishop Crowther, I am a descendant of Abraham; unlike him, I am a Muslim. I believe our two great religions can not only peacefully coexist but also flourish together. But Muslims and Christians must first turn to one another in compassion. For, as it says in Amos 3.3: “Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?”

As they are People of the Book, I believe that there is far more that unites Muslims and Christians than divides them. In fact, I believe that the messages of the Bible are universal: available for anyone to exercise, and instructive to all.

We must resist the temptation to retreat into our communities, because, if we do, we can only look inwards. It is only when we mix that we can reach new and greater possibilities.

Whichever religion or religious denomination they choose to follow, Nigerians are devout. Anything that Nigerians believe will place impositions on their practice, and belief is therefore sure to cause widespread alarm.

And, unfortunately, there are those who seek to divide Nigerians — and our two great religions — and to do so for their own advantage.

I stand accused — paradoxically — of trying to Islamise Nigeria while also being accused by Boko Haram terrorists of being against Islam. My Vice-President is a devout man, a Christian pastor. He, too, is accused of selling out his religion, because of his support for me.

This is not the first time that I — nor, indeed, my Christian-Muslim evenly split cabinet — have been the subject of such nonsense. Fortunately, the facts speak differently from the words of those who seek to divide us from one another.

Since my administration has been in power, Boko Haram has been significantly and fatally degraded; I have befriended church leaders and church groups both within and outside our country; my Vice-President has addressed and opened dialogue with Muslims up and down our land.

In all things, we seek that which all well-meaning Christians and well-meaning Muslims must seek: to unite, respect, and never to divide. Does it not say “There is no compulsion in religion” (Qur’an 2.256)? Does it not say “Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us” (Luke 9.50)? This, surely, is the path that followers of both our two great religions must walk.

UNFORTUNATELY, those who wish us all to walk apart have recently found another focus for their efforts: the tragic clashes between nomadic herdsmen and settled farmers in the central regions of Nigeria.

For generations, herders have driven their cattle from the north to the centre of our country; they tend to be predominantly Muslim, although not exclusively. The farmers, in certain areas of central Nigeria, are predominantly Christian.

The causes of this conflict are not religious or theological, but temporal. At the heart of this discord is access to rural land, exacerbated both by climate change and population growth.

Sadly, there are some who seek to play fast and loose and so make others believe that these are not the facts. When religion is claimed as the cause — and by those who know that it is not — it only makes finding a resolution more difficult.

The government has taken action to mediate, to bring the two groups together in peace and unity. But we also need all parties to follow the teachings of the scriptures, and encourage reconciliation rather than cause division. As it is said: “Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear?” (Mark 8.18).

As our constitution codifies, politicising religion has no place in Nigeria; for it makes us turn away from one another; it makes us retreat into our communities and walk different paths.

I believe that there is a better way. To those who seek to divide, I still hold my hand out in brotherhood and forgiveness. I ask only that they stop, and instead encourage us to turn towards one another in love and compassion. Nigeria belongs to all of us. This is what I believe.     (Premium Times)

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Mass Killings Must Be Addressed, Saraki Tells Northern Leaders |The Republican News

Bukola-Saraki

 

President of the Senate, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Wednesday, told northern leaders to join hands with the Federal Government in finding a lasting solution to the incessant killings taking place in the country.

Saraki made the call while addressing a delegation of the Northern Leaders and Stakeholders Assembly (NLSA) who visited him at the National Assembly, led by its Chairman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai.

Saraki, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, noted that peace and unity are essential to achieving overall development of the country while commending the group for rising up to contribute their quota in realizing a peaceful and prosperous country.

Saraki said: “By this time, as elders, you ought to be resting, but the patriotism in you brought you out. You said you are political but non-partisan, we are all political and we need to get Nigeria in the right direction.

“Being leaders, this is the time to find lasting solutions. This is not the time for blame. This is the time for us to bring peace and regional dialogue. No society worth its salt will keep quiet in the face of these killings.

“Something somewhere is wrong. We need to meet to bring about peaceful coexistence and unity in this country. Part of the solution is to know that something is wrong.

“I am happy that you are here and we will speak the truth about the problems and to conduct ourselves on how to encourage dialogue and ensure that the right thing is done,” he said.

Earlier, the chairman of the group and leader of the delegation, Yakasai, said the purpose of the visit was to brief the President of the Senate on the formation of the organization, including its aims and objectives.

He said that the group is not out to get a consensus presidential candidate for north as being rumoured in some quarters, but rather to cooperate with Nigerians who share in its vision and mission.

According to him, the group is out to formulate and device methods of preventing and resolving conflicts with the goal of creating and sustaining peaceful coexistence, arrest the drift in the North, restore individual and group confidence, create functional regional unity, among others.

Besides, he said the group will look at the problems of armed robbery, kidnapping and herdsmen/farmers clashes and to find a way to resolve them.

He said the group will soon organize a Northern political summit to address the identified problems while seeking the support of the National Assembly in hosting the event.

Members of the delegation included a former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, former Minister of Defence, Haliru Ballo Mohammed, former Governor of Niger state, Babangida Aliyu, former Governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada, former FCT ministers, Bala Mohammed and Abba Gana, former Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Inna Ciroma, Dr. Umar Ardo, Hajia Zainab Maina, Dr. Mamman Shata and Senator Joseph Waku, among others.  (New Telegraph)

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Kim Jong Un Meets Moon Jae-in, Says Koreas’ On Starting Line Of A New History |RN

(Provided by Wochit News)

GOYANG, South Korea — With a single step over a weathered, cracked slab of concrete, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made history Friday by crossing over the world’s most heavily armed border to greet South Korean President Moon Jae-in for talks on North Korea’s nuclear weapons. Kim then invited Moon to cross briefly back into the north with him before they returned to the southern side.

Those small steps must be seen in the context of the last year — when the United States, its ally South Korea and the North seemed at times to be on the verge of nuclear war as the North unleashed a torrent of weapons tests — but also in light of the long, destructive history of the rival Koreas, who fought one of the 20th century’s bloodiest conflicts and even today occupy a divided peninsula that’s still technically in a state of war.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, shakes hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone Friday, April 27, 2018. Kim made history Friday by crossing over the world's most heavily armed border to greet his rival, Moon, for talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons. (Korea Summit Press Pool via AP)© The Associated Press North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, shakes hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone Friday, April 27, 2018. Kim…

“I feel like I’m firing a flare at the starting line in the moment of (the two Koreas) writing a new history in North-South relations, peace and prosperity,” Kim told Moon as they sat at a table, which had been built so that exactly 2018 millimeters separated them, to begin their closed-door talks. Moon responded that there were high expectations that they produce an agreement that will be a “big gift to the entire Korean nation and every peace-loving person in the world.”

Beyond the carefully choreographed greeting, however, it’s still not clear whether the leaders can make any progress in talks on the nuclear issue, which has bedevilled U.S. and South Korean officials for decades. North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests last year likely put it on the threshold of becoming a legitimate nuclear power. North Korea claims it has already risen to that level.

Kim and Moon in their talks vowed to have more meetings, according to Moon’s spokesman, Yoon Young-chan, with Kim joking that he would make sure not to interrupt Moon’s sleep anymore, a reference to the North’s drumbeat of early morning missile tests last year. Kim also referred to a South Korean island that North Korea attacked with artillery in 2010, killing four, saying the residents of Yeonpyeong Island who have been living in fear of North Korean artillery have high hopes the summit will help heal past scars. Kim said he’d visit Seoul’s presidential Blue House if invited.Earlier, both leaders smiled broadly as Moon grasped Kim’s hand and led him along a blindingly red carpet into South Korean territory, where schoolchildren gave Kim flowers and an honor guard stood at attention for inspection, a military band playing traditional Korean folk songs beloved by both Koreas and the South Korean equivalent of “Hail to the Chief.” It’s the first time a North Korean leader has crossed over to the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone since the Korean War ended in 1953.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, second from right, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, second from left, attend during a summit at Peace House of the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea, Friday, April 27, 2018. North Korean leader Kim made history by crossing over the world's most heavily armed border to greet South Korean President Moon for talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons. At right is Kim's sister Kim Yo Jong. (Korea Summit Press Pool via AP)© The Associated Press North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, second from right, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, second from left, attends during a summit at Peace House of the border village of…

Kim’s news agency said that the leader would “open-heartedly” discuss with Moon “all the issues arising in improving inter-Korean relations and achieving peace, prosperity and reunification of the Korean peninsula” in a “historic” summit.

The greeting of the two leaders was planned to the last detail. Thousands of journalists were kept in a huge conference centre well away from the summit, except for a small group of tightly controlled pool reporters at the border. Moon stood near the Koreas’ dividing line, moving forward the moment he glimpsed Kim, dressed in dark, Mao-style suit, appearing in front of a building on the northern side. They shook hands with the borderline between them. Moon then invited Kim to cross into the South, and, after he did so, Kim grasped Moon’s hand and led him to the North and then back into the South. They took a ceremonial photo facing the North and then another photo facing the South.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in walk together at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone Friday, April 27, 2018. Kim made history Friday by crossing over the world's most heavily armed border to greet his rival, Moon, for talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons. (Korea Summit Press Pool via AP)© The Associated Press North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in walk together at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone Friday, April 27, 2018. Kim…

Two fifth-grade students from the Daesongdong Elementary School, the only South Korean school within the DMZ, greeted the leaders and gave Kim flowers. Kim and Moon then saluted an honour guard and military band, and Moon introduced Kim to South Korean government officials. Kim returned the favour, introducing Moon to the North Korean officials accompanying him. They then took a photo inside the Peace House, where the summit was to take place, in front of a painting of South Korea’s Bukhan Mountain, which towers over the South Korean Blue House presidential mansion. Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, was by his side throughout the ceremony, handing him a pen to sign a guestbook, taking the schoolchildren’s flowers from his hand and scribbling notes at the start of the talks with Moon.

Nuclear weapons will top the agenda, and Friday’s summit will be the clearest sign yet of whether it’s possible to peacefully negotiate those weapons away from a country that has spent decades doggedly building its bombs despite crippling sanctions and near-constant international opprobrium.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in inspect honor guard as Kim crossed the border into South Korea for their historic face-to-face talks, in Panmunjom Friday, April 27, 2018. Their discussions will be expected to focus on whether the North can be persuaded to give up its nuclear bombs. (Korea Summit Press Pool via AP)© The Associated Press North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in inspect honour guard as Kim crossed the border into South Korea for their historic face-to-face talks, in…

Expectations are generally low, given that past so-called breakthroughs on North Korea’s weapons have collapsed amid acrimonious charges of cheating and bad faith. Sceptics of engagement have long said that the North often turns to interminable rounds of diplomacy meant to ease the pain of sanctions — giving it time to perfect its weapons and win aid for unfulfilled nuclear promises.

Advocates of engagement, however, say the only way to get a deal is to do what the Koreas tried Friday: Sit down and see what’s possible.

The White House said in a statement that it is “hopeful that talks will achieve progress toward a future of peace and prosperity for the entire Korean Peninsula. … (and) looks forward to continuing robust discussions in preparation for the planned meeting between President Donald J. Trump and Kim Jong Un in the coming weeks.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signs a guest book watched by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, left, inside the Peace House at the Peace House at the border village of Panmunjom in Demilitarized Zone Friday, April 27, 2018. Their discussions will be expected to focus on whether the North can be persuaded to give up its nuclear bombs. (Korea Summit Press Pool via AP)© The Associated Press North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signs a guest book watched by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, left, inside the Peace House at the Peace House at the border village of…

Moon, a liberal whose election last year ended a decade of conservative rule in Seoul, will be looking to make some headway on the North’s nuclear program in advance of a planned summit in several weeks between Kim and Trump.

Kim, the third member of his family to rule his nation with absolute power, is eager, both in this meeting and in the Trump talks, to talk about the nearly 30,000 heavily armed U.S. troops stationed in South Korea and the lack of a formal peace treaty ending the Korea War — two factors, the North says, that make nuclear weapons necessary.

North Korea may also be looking to use the talks with Moon to set up the Trump summit, which it may see as a way to legitimize its declared status as a nuclear power.

One possible outcome Friday, aside from a rise in general goodwill between the countries, could be a proposal for a North Korean freeze of its weapons ahead of later denuclearization.

Seoul and Washington will be pushing for any freeze to be accompanied by rigorous and unfettered outside inspections of the North’s nuclear facilities since past deals have crumbled because of North Korea’s unwillingness to open up to snooping foreigners.

South Korea has acknowledged that the most difficult sticking point between the Koreas has been North Korea’s level of denuclearization commitment. Kim has reportedly said that he wouldn’t need nuclear weapons if his government’s security could be guaranteed external threats were removed.

Whatever the Koreas announce Friday, the spectacle of Kim being feted on South Korean soil was striking.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in walk together at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone Friday, April 27, 2018. Kim made history Friday by crossing over the world's most heavily armed border to greet his rival, Moon, for talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons. (Korea Summit Press Pool via AP)

Kim and Moon enjoyed each other’s company in the jointly controlled village of Panmunjom near the spot where a defecting North Korean soldier fled south last year in a hail of bullets fired by his former comrades, and not too far where North Korean soldiers axe-murdered two U.S. soldiers in 1976.  (Associated Press)

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2019 Election: Orji Kalu Advocates Support For Muhammadu Buhari |RN

 

Orji-Uzor-Kalu1

Former Abia State governor, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu has asked traditional rulers in the country to support the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, in view of his various political reforms.

Dr Kalu made the call during his visit to the palace of the Soun of Ogbomosoland, Oba  Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade.

The former governor, who is also Aro of Ogbomosoland, said as chairman Advisory Board for the National Movement for the re-election of Buhari, he is visiting traditional rulers across the country; to champion the cause for another term for president Buhari in 2019.

Kalu said he was in Ogbomosoland to preach peace to the people and to appeal to the Soun to continue to maintain peace and order in his domain; in line with one of the cardinal principles of the Buhari-led All Progressives Congress government.

Dr Kalu maintained that as the Aro of Ogbomosoland, a title given to him by the Soun almost 20 years ago, the diversity of the country should be positively explored for the peace, unity and progress Nigeria.

He later presented a plaque to the Soun, on behalf of the National Movement for the re-election of Buhari.

In his remarks, the royal father expressed delight at the visit and said Dr Kalu remains a sincere friend of Ogbomosoland, who is welcome any time.

Oba Ajagungbade said president Buhari is trying his best possible to put the country on the pedestal of rapid socio-economic development hence, he will have the support of the people if he decides to contest again in 2019.

The Soun stressed that as a traditional ruler, he will join others in praying for the sustenance of peace and security in the country as well as God’s divine guidance for the nation’s leaders.  (The Sun)

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Mistake Buhari Made, Obasanjo’s Coalition Is Continuation Of Coup Against Democracy – Rev Kukah

BUHARI-BISHOP-KUKAH
… SAYS OBASANJO’S COALITION CALL, CONTINUATION OF COUP AGAINST DEMOCRACY

 Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja

The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Revd Dr Matthew Hassan Kukah, has said that the Coalition of Concerned Nigerians proposed by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo in his 18-page letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, to take Nigeria out of the woods, is a continuous coup against democracy in the country.

In this online interview with Sunday Sun, Kukah, a social critic and public commentator, also said he would have thought that if Obasanjo thought he made a mistake, he should at least, apologize to Nigerians before offering the people another recipe to correct the current state of affairs in the country.

Taking a look at the current administration, Kukah further said one of the main mistakes that the Buhari administration made was to assume that everything that happened before them was wrong and everyone who came before them was a criminal.

Kukah also said he had no regret in participating in the General Abdulsalami Abubakar-led Peace and Reconciliation Committee that ensured a peaceful transfer of power from former president Goodluck Jonathan to incumbent President Buhari.

You are a cleric who is supposed to be primarily concerned with spiritual affairs, yet, your name cannot be wished away when it comes to national affairs, more importantly, when one considers the important assignments you have handled for the nation and your constant chastisement of the government. In view of this, how do you see the recent letter written by former president Olusegun Obasanjo to President Muhammadu Buhari?

 You are generous with your observations. It is very interesting how politicians map our roles for us priests. When you say something that makes them happy, they hail you, but when the shoe is on the other foot and you say the same thing, they charge you to mind your spiritual duties and leave politics out. I am a free citizen of my country and will continue to make my little contributions. I am not out to entertain and make people happy. In fact, the sadder they are, the more likely it is that you are saying the right thing, only they are unhappy. What do you expect me, an ordinary citizen to say when a General has written a letter to another General, a former president has written to a sitting president whom he himself brought to power? I prefer to choose the battles I can win. But at another level, I would have thought that if people think they made a mistake, they should at least apologise to us before offering us another undated youghurt.

 

In x-raying the letter, which areas do you think ex-President Obasanjo was right and wrong? 

I have no x-ray machine and I do not know if the one in the Villa clinic is working now. The letter was not written to me and, if you saw the banter between the two people last week (during the just concluded 30th Ordinary Session of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), then you will be more restrained in your response.

The coalition proposed by Obasanjo: is it feasible in our clime?

 I do not know anything about the coalition and I am honestly not in a position to make any comment. As a person, I am not sure that this emergency ambulance mentality is the best form of institutionalizing democracy. Most of this is the indiscipline which does not understand how democracy and consensus building works. It is a continuation of this coup against democracy when those who have held Nigeria to ransom, decide on whom they want in power and then go ahead to manipulate the levers of power for their ends. We can only wish them luck.

Looking at the totality of the current state of affairs in the country, what is your verdict on the incumbent administration?

 I take it that what this administration has offered is the best they can offer, given that they have covered over three quarters of the time allocated to them. My verdict is not important and Nigerians should pass their verdict at the next elections. This time, we will be judging based on evidence not propaganda.

In your estimation, where did President Buhari get it wrong?

 Who told you he got anything wrong? What is your marking scheme? I believe that what we have is the best that President Buhari can and has offered. He has not told you or anyone that he feels he has made a mistake or wishes to do anything differently. He says he takes his time and I believe we should respect that.

Even though as a Nigerian, he is eligible to vote and be voted for, taking a look at the nation from 2015 till now, do you think if the resident decides to take a second shot at the presidency, it will be right for Nigerians to queue behind the president and vote for him?

 Why not? He should be free to offer himself to Nigerians. It is left for Nigerians to decide and luckily for us, we have records of his promises, his achievements in fulfillment of those promises. These should be the basis of decision not the issue of if he should or should not contest. The decision is his to make.

You were very prominent in the General Abdulsalami Abubakar-led Peace and Reconciliation Committee that ensured a peaceful transfer of power from former president Goodluck Jonathan to President Buhari. Judging by the activities of the current government, do you regret participating in that committee?

 I am very proud of what General Abdusalam led the committee to achieve. We made our own contribution along with other Nigerian civil society groups. I can only thank God for the miracles of answered prayers. In any case, should we not thank God that the current administration has been given a chance to showcase what they are capable of doing?

 When we finished the elections, we thought we should disband and go home, especially given that the people who were involved in the exercise were extremely busy people who made sacrifices because no one received or asked for a single penny. We had believed that the committee’s work was done. However, we were encouraged by the reaction of Nigerians across the board when we undertook a consultative initiative to find out what Nigerians felt about the committee.

 So, rather than disbanding and going home, we sought the views of the media, the leaders of the two parties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC). We had audience with the Senate President and the Speaker, former president Jonathan and current President Buhari. Each and everyone expressed satisfaction and encouraged the members to continue in view of the fact that the country still needed some wise counsel and that the people needed encouragement.

Do you think the president consolidated on the gains recorded by your committee?

 It is not for us to judge, but my views are pretty well known. When a midwife helps in a delivery, is she to follow the new mother home to inspect how she is looking after the baby? It is left for Nigerians to judge.

Some people have said that where we are economically, politically, socially, et cetera, is worse than where we are coming from? Do you agree?

 Where are we coming from? The problem is that we always think yesterday was better than today. One of the main mistakes that this administration made was to assume that everything that happened before them was wrong and everyone who came before them was a criminal. They created the impression that they had to drain the swamps and literally write a new script. More energy could have been committed to identifying what was worth continuing and in the process, building confidence in the country.

 Now, they have realized rather late in the day that the team is the same, only the jerseys are different. Can you name one thing that is substantially different today from what it was yesterday after you have mentioned Boko Haram? At the beginning, I made a case for the fact that national cohesion was an urgent project, holding our people together and developing a vision. Now, look where we are as a people, see how divided we have become, see how scattered and littered the landscape is. Can we continue like this into the next election?  

Your brother was kidnapped recently, and at the same time, the nation was grappling with security concerns, most importantly, in Benue State. In your calculation, where are these social ills and odds leading us to?

 My brother’s case was dwarfed by the tragedy of Benue, along with many others in the daily menu of senseless killings that are now our lot. His case is a metaphor for the suffering and pain of many Nigerians who have become more exposed now than we have ever been. What is more painful is the seeming lack of concern by the government and the lack of a clear plan to reverse this sad phase of our national life. It is very saddening indeed.

What can we do to achieve the Nigeria of our dreams?

 The Nigeria of our dreams is made simple: a country where we can live in peace and security, raise our families with some dignity, a nation where we have an idea of what being a Nigerian means. We just want what others have come to take for granted.        (The Sun)

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