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CATHOLIC GROUP BERATES LALONG OVER ATTEMPT TO DRAG POPE INTO POLITICS

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•My reference to him mark of reverence not ridicule –Gov

A group, Concerned Catholics in Nigeria, yesterday, flayed Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong for dragging the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, into the “unhealthy debate” over the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC).”

Lalong had told journalists on Wednesday, after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari, that as a Catholic, the Pope had not told him it was wrong to take the APC campaign director general job.

However, National convener and president of the Catholic group, Dr. Ben Amodu, who described the statement as “maligning the name of the Pope for his advantage and that of his party” expressed shock that Lalong would elect to throw caution to the wind by insinuating he had the support of the Pope.

He said the Plateau governor had no justification mentioning the name of the Catholic pontiff as reasons for accepting to serve as DG of the Muslim-Muslim APC presidential ticket of  Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shettima, knowing  the controversy the issue was generating in the country.

He said citing the Pope in a purely local political matter was  “to the detriment of the collective sensibilities of other Catholics in Nigeria and around the world.”

“The reference to the Pope in his statement for accepting to serve as the Director General of the APC Presidential Campaign Council was made in poor taste and a puerile attempt to drag the Catholic Church into a matter that has no bearing with the Pope…Concerned Catholics in Nigeria condemns such despicable conduct as it is not reflective of the stance of the Pope and the Catholic Church in Nigeria and around the world concerning the political permutations in Nigeria.

“The desperation of the APC in forcing its Muslim-Muslim ticket down the throats of Nigerians is alarming, and more curious is the fact that Governor Simon Lalong, a practising Catholic who supposedly knows that the Catholic Church is not only involved in partisan politics, but still went ahead to insinuate that the Pope is in support of his decision smacks a mockery of the revered Catholic Church in Nigeria and around the world…Governor  Lalong must consequently tender an unreserved apology to the Catholic community in Nigeria for dragging the Pope into the murky waters of Nigerian politics. It remains unjustifiable and as much condemnable.”

However, Governor Lalong has clarified that his reference to the Pope was a mark of reverence and high esteem and not disregard for the Catholic pontiff, the church or christianity.

In a statement by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr. Makut Macham, the governor said he was misunderstood and misrepresented by many.

“My reference to the Holy Father, the Pope was to emphasise that as a Christian born and raised in the Catholic faith, accepting the assignment given to me by my party the APC of which I am a founding member, does not in any way remove my faith in Jesus Christ or my commitment to the Church in Nigeria and universally.

“Those who know me can attest to my respect for the church, christianity and spiritual fathers of all denominations. They know my modest contribution to the growth of the Church in Plateau State, Northern Nigerian and Nigeria at large and can testify to it,” he said.

Neverthelss, Presidential Support Council of the All Progressive Congress (APC), yesterday, said Governor Lalong would not resign as DG of Tinubu/Shettima campaign organisation.

Its National Coordinator, Dr. Kassim Muhammad, former member Nasarawa State House of Assembly stated this  in Lafia.

He said Lalong had no reason to resign his appointment because he did not violate any known law having supported a Christian presidential aspirant during the APC  primary.

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PETER OBI RAISES ALARM OVER ARREST OF ‘OBIDIENTS’ BY SECURITY AGENTS

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Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, LP, Peter Obi has claimed that security agents are ‘silently arresting’ his Obidients supporters.

Obi made this allegation in a series of tweets via his verified Twitter handle on Tuesday.

His words, “Recent reports of OBIdients being silently arrested by some security agents is extremely disturbing and condemnable. We must ensure that everyone is given a level playing field in the forthcoming elections, and that no eligible Nigerian, irrespective of ethnicity, religion or political affiliation is disenfranchised, more so through violence and intimidation.

“Elections are not deemed free and fair when a certain group employs the tool of intimidation to ensure that the opposition is silenced, both at the campaigns and at the polls.

“Peaceful assembly and unfettered electioneering campaigns are constitutionally guaranteed. Both and other ordered liberties cannot be breached wilfully by security agents,” he said.

Obi, however, called on the Federal and State agencies to remind their operatives on the need to respect civil liberties.

Recall that supporters of Obi had also raised the alarm over alleged intimidation by the officials of security agencies at the Lagos4ObiDatti during the weekend (Saturday).

A member of Peter Obi Central Coordinators, F S Yusuf, whow made the claim in a tweet via his Twitter handle, stated that Peter Obi’s supporters are being harassed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport 1.

His tweet reads, “Reports reaching me Joseph Onuorah @BigJoeOfLagos an #Obidient and a part of the Lagos ObiDatti Rally is being held by the DSS/Immigration at the MMA1 upon his arrival from France. He was flagged on the “Stop List”. We call on the authorities to respect his rights……”

A coalition of support groups, Lagos4ObiDatti, backing Peter Obi in 2023, had earlier announced plans to hold its Lagos 4-million-man march for ObiDatti.

Addressing newsmen in Lagos, the Lagos4ObiDatti Central Organizing Committee said the march will take place across three major locations on October 1, 2022.

The group, however, denounced any attempt to link the Lagos Obidient Rally to the 2020 #EndSars Movement.

Speaking on the Lagos4ObiDatti rally, chairman of the Publicity and Media Committee, Christopher Ademuyiwa, had stated that the march would hold simultaneously in three different locations in the Lagos metropolis, namely Admiralty gate Lekki Phase 1; Archbishop Vining Memorial Church, GRA, Ikeja; and at FHA field on 23 road Festac.

Ademuyiwa said: “This march is more like a carnival, and the Obidients in Lagos are gearing up in large numbers to show their support for the Peter Obi and Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed presidential ticket.

“Also, plans have been made to have buses transport Obidients to and from their locations, and the bus pickup points will be released on social media.

“Our march is legal and constitutional, it is within the electoral time frame and calendar released by INEC and all security agencies have been duly and formally informed using the appropriate means.

“The police, NSCDC, road safety and DSS will be on ground to provide security as we march,” Ademuyiwa had said.

Meanwhile, Peter Obi Grassroots Mobilization group had, ahead of the rally, stated that, as advised by our legal team, all the support groups for Peter Obi will comply with the Court Order and directives contained therein as it relates to Lekki Toll Gate.

“We will not deviate from the planned routes as judiciously Ordered. We urge every OBIDIENTS to comply,” the group stated in a post via its Twitter handle on Saturday.

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BUHARI’S INDEPENDENCE BROADCAST EMBARRASSING, SAY NIGERIANS

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Nigeria Coat of Arm

Nigerians, from different quarters, have described President Muhammadu Buhari’s national broadcast on the occasion of the 62nd independence anniversary, as a national embarrassment.

It could be recalled that during this year’s independence national broadcast, Buhari was quoted as saying: “The annals of Nigerian’s history was no longer a household secret as I failed and later succeeded in my attempts to become the country’s president.

“I am honoured to say my election as a democratic president in 2015 was made positive by the majority of Nigerians.

“When you elected me, I acknowledged that the tasks before me were daunting, but surmountable, because of growing national consensus that our chosen path to national development was democracy.”

Many Nigerians have, therefore, ciriticised the president as the democracy he referred to in his speech has been bastardised by the present All Progressives Congress (APC) led government by failing to meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.

Commenting on reactions to Buhari’s independence broadcast, a Dutse, Jigawa State-based social critic, Mahmud Tahir, said that the blame for the socio-political and economic woes of the country should not be borne by the president alone.

He added that his cabals, the state governors, and members of the National Assembly, among others, must share in the leadership failure of the country.

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FG WARNS AGAINST FAKE NIGERIA AIR RECRUITMENT WEBSITE

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The Management of Nigeria Air Limited on Tuesday described the website and links used for recruitment advertisements and announcements by unscrupulous members of the public claiming to be agents or staff of Nigeria Air as ‘fake.’

In a statement, the Special Assistant (Public Affairs) to the Minister of Aviation, James Odaudu, advised Nigerians to disregard such notifications or invitations as nothing of such exercise is currently ongoing.

He, however, advised those who applied for the earlier officially advertised positions to get authenticated information from the official website: www.nigeriaair.world.

The statement read,” The attention of the Management of Nigeria Air Limited has been drawn to some recruitment advertisements and announcements by certain unscrupulous elements claiming to be agents or staff of the upcoming airline.

“The so-called agents have created a host of fake websites and links supposedly for the submission of applications by unsuspecting members of the public.

“We wish to inform the general public, especially those who have applied for the earlier officially advertised positions, that no recruitment interviews or tests have been scheduled. All such announcements or invitations for such should be disregarded as they are the handiwork of fraudsters and scammers.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the official website is www.nigeriaair.world, and only those pre-qualified as meeting the B737 requirements will be contacted by the management of Nigeria Air Limited individually, and certainly not by public announcements.

“All those concerned are therefore advised to ignore such announcements or invitations, as responding to, or dealing with them in any way, will be at their own risk.

“Management appreciates the unprecedented level of interest shown by Nigerians in the airline which has resulted in the receipt of over 20,000 applications for positions in the organisation so far and wishes to state that the recruitment process for other positions will begin in due course.”

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