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Minister harps on culture usage for social development




The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Thursday called on Nigerians to use culture as dialogue to improve human relationship and social development.

Mohammed, who was represented by Mrs Ifeoma Anyanwutaku, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, made the call at the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development in Abuja.

The 2021 edition with the theme: ‘Cultural Diversity in the COVID-19 Era’, was aimed at reawakening cultural consciousness.

According to him, the culture day gives us an opportunity to celebrate our cultures and also deepen our understanding of the role of cultural values in promoting social cohesiveness and development.

“Every society is shaped by its distinct culture, be it language, cuisine, religion, fashion, architecture or music.

“The country’s rich and unique cultural heritage is an invaluable asset that has continued to serve as a springboard to portray our nation’s image to the rest of the world.

“In spite of our cultural diversity, we have continually forged a path to a stronger, unified and indivisible nation.

“While the world races to find a lasting solution to the COVID-19 pandemic, with various countries collaborating and working tirelessly to save humanity from this common enemy, the vital lesson of our common humanity must translate into our national lives.”

The minister noted that the pandemic has limited physical activities, by given us the unprecedented opportunity to live differently and take advantage of various technological channels and platforms to foster cultural diversity.

“We must therefore leverage on available virtual platforms and digital technologies to break barriers and natural borders in showcasing and promoting our tangible and intangible rich cultural products, as well as conduct our day-to-day activities to meet our social responsibility,” he added.

Mohammed commended the outstanding performance of two Nigerian artists, Dani Ogulu a.k.a Burna Boy and Ayodeji Balogun a.k.a Wizkid, for winning the prestigious Grammy Awards.

“It is worth mentioning that our artistes have continued to showcase Nigeria’s rich culture on the world entertainment stage.

“Not too long ago, two of our artistes, popularly known as Burna Boy and Wizkid, won the prestigious Grammy Awards.

“This great feat underscored the importance of the Nigerian culture in inspiring a broad range of artistic expression,” he commended.

Mohammed called on all stakeholders and well meaning Nigerians to complement government’s effort in building a peaceful, progressive and prosperous Nigeria for the benefit of all.

Earlier, Anyanwutaku said the vision of United Nations Educational, Scientific Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has helped Nigerians to understand the role of culture.

She added that with this role the right conditions could be created for dialogue to enhance understanding and improve human relationships across various strata of the society.

Anyanwutaku, represented by Mrs Rose Kwarsen, Deputy Director, Department of Cultural Heritage and Industry, said the process would promote national development.

“Today’s celebration is a pointer to the important role of culture, in not only shaping but also opening vistas of opportunities for people of different cultural background to interact and establish mutual understanding.

“Against this backdrop, I wish to emphasis that mutual understanding can be established only through dialogue.

“For any society to thrive politically and socioeconomically there is the need to leverage on the salient role of culture in promoting social integration,” she said.

Anyanwutaku said that Nigeria’s unique cultural diversity has played a critical role in fostering interaction between people of different cultural backgrounds.

The Permanent Secretary added that such cultural background has contributed immensely in building bridges across various ethnic groups in Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was attended by dignitaries from the Chinese Cultural Embassy, National Film and Video Censor Board, National Gallery of Art and Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation.

Others are: India High Commissioner, representatives from National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism, National Institute for Cultural Orientation, Anglican Girls Grammar School Apo, and Junior Secondary school Tudun Wada among others.(NAN)

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Buhari Pledge to Rescue Kaduna Train Attack Hostages



President Muhammadu Buhari


President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday assured to rescue 31 hostages taken in a train attack and return them “safe and unhurt”, his office said, five months after their abduction.

Gangs of bandits with no ideological or religious motives are known to kidnap for ransom in northwest and central Nigeria.

On March 28, armed men blew up a train travelling between Abuja and Kaduna and opened fire, killing eight people, wounding 26, and taking an unspecified number of passengers hostage.

A week later, they freed one hostage — a top bank executive — as a goodwill gesture for Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting, because of his “advanced age”.

Dozens of hostages have already been freed following negotiations, but 31 remain in the kidnappers den.

“I have been informed that at last count, there remain about 31 people in the hands of the kidnappers,” Buhari told representatives of the families of the hostages in Abuja on Thursday.

He said his government would ensure the safe return of the remaining hostages to their families.

“My primary concern is to get everyone released safe and unhurt,” he assured.
The president commended the security forces on recent successes against kidnappers and “terrorists”.

“In the past couple of days, you must have heard about the number of terrorists neutralised by the military, and a number of hostages freed. These efforts will not stop, or reduce,” he said.

“We must take the fight to the terrorists and demonstrate that there is no hiding place for them within the borders of our country,” he said.

“Each one of them will be hunted, and pursued and spoken to in the language that they understand,” he added.

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Five Guards Brigade Killed By Bandits Buried In Abuja



Five Guards Brigade Killed By Bandits Buried In Abuja


The Nigerian Army on Thursday buried five members of the Guards Brigade killed by bandits during a clearance operation in the Federal Capital Territory recently.

The soldiers were laid to rest at the Guards Brigade Cemetery, Maitama , Abuja, according to a statement by Guards Brigade spokesperson, Captain Godfrey Anebi Abakpa

Among the deceased was Captain Attah Samuel.

“Until their demise, the gallant soldiers were serving with 7 Guards Battalion, Lungi Barracks Maitama and 176 Guards Battalion Gwagwalada in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja respectively,” the statement said.

“While reading the funeral oration of the deceased officer and soldiers, the Commanding Officers of 7 Guards Battalion Lt Col Salim Yusuf Hassan and Commanding Officer 176 Guards Battalion, Lt Col Joshuah Kolowale Adisa described the late Captain and Soldiers as thoroughly bred Infantrymen who were genuinely committed to their duties in defence of Nigeria and whose contribution and services would be greatly missed.

“They asked God to console the families left behind stressing that while the Brigade and the Nigerian Army mourns, the families should take solace in the fact that they have fought a just fight and their souls shall continue to rest with the lord till the resurrection morning.

“Highpoint of the event was the presentation of accoutrements by the representative of the Chief of Army Staff, Maj Gen James Alilu Ataguba to the next of kins of the deceased personnel and lowering of the remains of the fallen heroes.

There was also the blowing of the last post and gun salute to bid the departed heroes fair well

“The burial process started with Christian wake keep and funeral service held in honour of the fallen heroes at St John’s Military Church (Protestant) before the final Internment at the Guards Brigade Cemetery Maitama Abuja.

“The solemn ceremony was witnessed by senior officers of the Nigerian Army, Commanding Officers, Staff Officers of the Brigade, Bwari Area Council Chairman, Hon John Gabaya as well as family members and the barracks community.”

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Two More ISWAP Terrorists Linked To Owo Church Attack Arrested – DHQ



Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor


Two more Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists linked to the attack on St Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo state, have been arrested.

Gunmen had on June 5 stormed the Catholic church, killing over 40 worshippers and injuring others.

The incident drew widespread condemnation, with President Muhammadu Buhari ordering security agencies to arrest the attackers.

On June 9, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, blamed the attack on ISWAP, but the claim was countered by Ondo state Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu.

Just yesterday, the Chief of Defence Staff, Lucky Irabor, announced that the gunmen behind the attack on the church have been arrested.

But in a statement on Wednesday, the Director of Defence Information, Jimmy Akpor, said the two suspected ISWAP fighters were arrested through the collaborative effort of the military and the Department of State Services (DSS).

“Recall that the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, during his parley with media executives and editors yesterday, Tuesday 9 August 2022, informed of the arrest of 4 terrorists among those who carried out the attack on St Francis Catholic Church, Owo on 5 June 2022,” Akpor said.

“They were arrested through a combined operation by military and DSS personnel at Eika, Okehi LGA, Kogi State on 1 August 2022.

“Those arrested include Idris Abdulmalik Omeiza (a.k.a Bin Malik), Momoh Otohu Abubakar, Aliyu Yusuf Itopa and Auwal Ishaq Onimisi.

“Barely few hours after the disclosure by the CDS of the arrest of 4 of the Owo Catholic Church attackers, 2 additional ISWAP terrorists, who were also connected to the attack on the church were apprehended at Omialafara (Omulafa), Ose LGA, Ondo State yesterday, 9 August 2022.

“The arrests were made through the collaborative effort by military and DSS personnel. The suspects are Al-Qasim Idris and Abdulhaleem Idris.

“It is instructive to note that Abdulhaleem, alongside other high profile ISWAP commanders, had also previously coordinated attacks on military targets in Okene, Okene LGA, Kogi State resulting in casualties.”

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