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[BE FAIR TO MINORITIES IN NIGERIA, ATIKU TELLS BUHARI]

Former Vice President and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar, yesterday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to provide the world a good example in the way minorities are treated in the country.
Atiku applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for drawing the United Nations (UN) attention to the sufferings of Myanmar’s Rohingya people cited by the UN as perhaps the world’s most persecuted minorities.The former vice president spoke via a statement issued in Abuja by his media office in reaction to President Buhari’s presentation at the UN General Assembly in New York, United States.

He stressed that minorities all over the world deserve the cooperation of majority groups, adding that he is convinced that Nigeria would also provide the world a good example in the way the country treats its minority groups.‎“It is my sincere desire that arising from President Buhari’s speech, the UN will increase its support to Nigeria and her neighbours in the Lake Chad Region as we redouble our efforts to rid the region of the scourge of terrorism and restore peace and prosperity to a once thriving zone.‎”

Atiku aligned himself with the president’s message of gratitude to the international community for its efforts in the Lake Chad region which has helped bring succour to Nigerians affected by the scourge of terrorism. He congratulated President Buhari on a successful outing at the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly in New York last Tuesday.

Efforts to reach the spokesperson of the APC, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, via a phone call and text messages, for him to react to the issue of the protection of the rights of minorities failed.Similarly, the founder of Powerline Bible Church, Bishop Lawrence Osagie, has enjoined President Buhari to drop the terrorist tag on the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

At a press briefing on the forthcoming annual conference of the church to be held on October 1 to 8 this year, Osagie said it was lamentable that a country, which serves as a role model to other African countries, would display such a level of failed leadership.“The present situation is very painful because at a global level, people talk about civilised ways of leading people, but here we are still more like in the dark ages. We are acting as if we don’t know what democracy is all about, particularly with what is going on in the eastern part of the country. The way the government has handled it has exposed what the problem has been over the years.

“I cannot stop you from expressing yourself, it is your right, even if it does not suit me. There are better ways of going about it, we have a constitution, though it is not perfect but it guarantees some level of freedom and liberty. The right to life should not be denied anybody, under no circumstances should you take another person’s life. What we are seeing now is an eloquent display of failed leadership. For Nigeria, a nation that other African countries looked up to, to be manifesting this level of decadence at this time is so sad,” he said.

The cleric urged the leadership to retrace its steps immediately. “The damage is already done and whether Buhari likes it or not if God gives him life he will answer for what he has done, there is no way he can escape it, there is absolutely no where he can run to hide. The world today is not the same as we had it 30, 40 years ago, it is moving and we need to be seen to be a nation that is moving along with civilisation.”

Osagie maintained that the president should dialogue with the agitators instead of asking the military to crush them. He advised IPOB to exercise caution in its agitation, stating that it should not be a do-or-die affair.

Meanwhile, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has warned that if the state of affairs in Nigeria does not conform to the ideas of justice, democracy and the rule of law, the nation would continue to drift dangerously towards crisis.Wike said it was regrettable that the fight against corruption has been politicised and skewed in a manner to oppress opponents of the Federal Government.

The governor made the comments in a keynote address at the 12th General Synod of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion at Saint Paul’s Cathedral in Port Harcourt yesterday.“We need as many voices that can speak truth to power and the church of God cannot afford to keep quiet, while things go wrong and the nation continues to drift dangerously towards the cliff of crisis,” he said.

“People say power of any kind corrupts, but political power can be more vicious if exercised unchecked and in disregard of democratic norms. While we all support the Federal Government’s much-vaunted but pretentious fight against corruption, it is patently wrong to fight corruption with corruption and double-speak or by side-stepping the rule of law, disobeying court orders and blackmailing the judiciary to submission. Unfortunately, this is the order of the day under the present democratic dispensation” he said.

Wike implored the church to be an active moral guardian of political powers as instructed by God in order to reassert its influence as a critical voice for justice. He insisted that government actions must at all times be secured on legal and moral legitimacy.

The governor wondered how the Federal Government could justify the situation where former public office holders from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are continuously harassed with corruption charges by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), while at the same time sparing former members who defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) of similar investigations and treatment. He said the only exception was the alleged pure vendetta against Senate President, Bukola Saraki for daring to contest the office of the Senate president against the wish of the cabal in his party.

The Primate of Anglican Church, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, said the theme of the General Synod, “Thou shalt not steal” was taken from the Bible and formed the church’s commitment to the fight against corruption.

“Leaders or persons who usurp the positions or privileges of others, either forcibly or clandestinely, are also stealing. The culture of percentage kickbacks on contracts, outright embezzlement of public funds and bribery are all acts of stealing. Political oppression, marginalisation, sidelining, injustice and discrimination are all forms of stealing. Kidnappers are guilty of breaking the eighth commandment in very gruesome ways,” he said.

The Guardian

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