Saturday, 19 August 2017

Breaking News: President Muhammad Buhari Returns

News reaching us now indicate that President Muhammad Buhari is back from London.

Our source noted that the President is likely to make speech later in the day to address Nigeria.

It will be noted that it was when the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye visited him in London that he appreciated him for his good works, prayers and Nigerians for their prayers as well.

Details later.

Pastor Adeboye Visits President Buhari in London

The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, Enoch Adejare Adeboye, has visited President Muhammadu Buhari in London.
Buhari confirmed the visit, with pictures, via his official Twitter handle, with a caption: “I thank Pastor Adeboye for visiting today, and for his prayers and good wishes. May God continue to bless him and his work.”

Adeboye becomes the second prominent religious leader to visit the President following the visit of Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, on August 5.

Buhari has been on medical vacation in London since May 7, 2017, and all recent callers at the Abuja House, where he is recuperating, say his recovery is going on smoothly.

However, Buhari himself said last week that there had been “tremendous improvement” in his health only that he hadn’t been given the go-ahead by his doctors.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Igbonla Boys: 'Lagos Must Do More to Protect Children'-- CEE-HOPE

The Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE-HOPE), a child’s right and development Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) has reacted to the recent release of six school boys of the Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, Epe.
In a statement issued in Lagos, CEE-HOPE’s Executive Director, Betty Abah, said it was a great relief that the boys (who were abducted from their school hostels) had been brought back after 65 tortuous days in kidnappers’ den. ‘We can only imagine the joy of family members whose loved ones had been held captive for over two months. We congratulate the authorities and agencies who worked assiduously for the release of these boys, most notably, the Federal Government, Ondo State Government and the Nigerian Police Force,’ said Abah.

The statement further asked the Lagos State Government to do more to ensure maximum protection for its school children as against the current state of affairs which it said has left children as easy preys and at the mercy of criminals. It asserted that the Igbonla case was  quite avoidable given that a clear three-day notice was issued to the school by the militants yet the abduction happened with apparent no resistance by any security operatives, not to mention that abduction also took place in the same school in October 2016. It called for the school authorities and security operatives in the area to be questioned as to what really transpired.

‘Children in Lagos State are currently endangered and the attitude of the state government hasn’t helped matters. It took 10 traumatic days for the government to address the parents of the boys and that was even after a protest to the government house in Alausa. And the Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, who by law is the Chief Security Officer of the state, would not talk to them. Even though the victims are vulnerable young persons, the state government gave the parents a cold shoulder saying it would not negotiate with criminals, and maintained a lukewarm attitude to their boys’ plights until the Federal Government’s intervention. They were also left to negotiate with the kidnappers, selling property and borrowing huge sums in the process. All these send a gravely wrong message to the rest of poor Lagosians in a progressively insecure atmosphere’, it added.
The statement also cited instances of ongoing rape, brutalization and multiple killings in the Ikorodu area of the state by the rabid Badoo cult, with most of the victims being women and girls; the recent rape to death of Obiamaka Ngozichukwu Orakwe, a 14 year old girl in Abule-Ado area of the state. It asked for stringent punishment for criminals to serve as deterrence.
‘The present government of Lagos State must run government with a more humane face, scale up its security apparatus and give the beleaguered population a sense of belonging and security. Again, on Igbonla, besides ensuring comprehensive medical and psychosocial treatment for the recently released boys, the state government must compensate the parents to show that government can have a human face and is not all about infrastructures,’ said Abah.
The statement further added that kidnappers, ritualists and criminal arrested must not only be given ‘media trials’ but be openly tried, sentenced and shamed as a way of rescuing the state from the current grip of insecurity.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

'Bring Back Kidnapped Igbonla School Boys'

CEE-HOPE Tasks Lagos State Government.
More than 40 days after six students of the Lagos State Model College, Igbonla in Epe area of Lagos were kidnapped by unknown gun men, they are yet to be rescued. A Non-Governmental Organisation, NGO, the Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE-HOPE) has urged the Lagos State Government to effect the release of the students as further delay would put the school boys’ lives at risk.
‘We are pained that more than 40 whole days after their kidnap, to the continued anguish of their parents and relatives and to the outrage of the world, the Lagos State Government has not succeeded in bringing the boys home,’ said CEE-HOPE’s Executive Director, Betty Abah. 
The students were kidnapped from their school premises on May 25. Upon the announcement by the Lagos State Government that it wouldn’t negotiate with the kidnappers, the parents, mostly fishermen, traders and pensioners, raised N2Million and then N6Million to effect the children’s release , but they (kidnappers) had remained adamant, demanding the sum of N100 Million. The latest incident happened despite a similar occurrence last year, and also following a letter to the school authorities notifying them of an impending attack. The kidnapped boys are Yusuf Farouk, Ramon Isiaka, Pelumi Philips, Peter Jonas, Adebanjo George and Judah Agbaosi.
About two weeks after the kidnap incident, parents and relatives of the kidnap victims marched on a protest to the Lagos State Government office in Alausa, protesting the blanket of silence from both the government and police on the abduction, saying there was no communication from either government or police as to the state of their children. Though some persons with alleged links to the kidnap were said to have been arrested shortly after, the boys are yet to be back.
‘This blanket of silence has, sadly, remained for the most part on this and other related issues of public interest. We are aggrieved because this is an abdication of the fundamental principle of our constitutional democracy which vests the ‘security and welfare of the people’ in the hands of the government. The slight and outright detachment with which issues concerning waterfront communities, street traders and other categories of the urban poor in Lagos are treated are the same attitude with which the Igbonla school boys’ case is being treated, and it is scandalous,’ added the statement. ‘Would it be too much if the state government and police come out with occasional updates on the matter, to re-assure the boys’ traumatised relatives and the anxious public at large?’ it further asks.
The statement also called on the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo who is a former Attorney-General of Lagos State, to wade into the matter so as to dispel the general notion that the Nigerian government does not take issues of child’s right, welfare and protection as priorities especially when those concern children of the haves-not. It also warned that the mistakes committed by the last administration on the Chibok schoolgirls abduction saga must not be repeated in that of the Igbonla schoolboys.
‘The Lagos State Government must do all it can to ensure the safe return of these boys. Each of the six boys, like every other child in Nigeria or in the world has a right to study in safety and pursue their dreams no matter the social-economic status of their parents. The Lagos State Government must accord them that right. This delay is dangerous. Lagos State must explore all channels to ensure their safe release. What is paramount and at stake now is the survival of these boys. Government shouldn’t show concern and timely commitment only when the rich and influential and their offspring are concerned. Lagos must secure all schools, end the air of insecurity in Ikorodu (currently under the siege of the Badoo cult) and other parts of the state. The government should explore intelligence gathering in their crime fighting, strengthen the laws on criminal acts such as kidnapping to rid the state of criminals and their menace.’
‘It is good to build a mega city, but first, Lagos must build a safe and mega populace, and ensure that children, either of the poor or rich, realise their mega dreams. This is not the case right now in Lagos,’ the statement concludes.