The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan urges Nigerians to unite for the progress of the country and continue to keep faith with their fatherland.
Lawan, in a message, felicitates all Nigerians on the
occasion of the 61st Independence Anniversary of the country.
“This is the first year of our seventh decade as a nation and also the second year of the third decade of the Fourth Republic.
“I find it remarkable that we are living in the longest era of democracy in our history as a nation.
“That may seem modest as an achievement but it is an additional cause for celebration in the light of our political experience.
“Every patriot will always remember with pride that historic moment on October 1, 1960 when the British Union Jack was lowered and our Green-White-Green flag hoisted in its place.
“That moment symbolizes our attainment of freedom from colonial rule. But it also marks the beginning of the onerous task of building a united, peaceful and prosperous nation that we set for ourselves.
“Over six decades on, the journey has been eventful and the challenges enormous. But we can be proud of the progress that we have made, draw lessons from the missteps and rededicate ourselves to our historic mission of nation-building. We should never abandon that mission.
“Our founding fathers encountered difficulties from the diversity of our people and country. But they realized that the feature is not unique to us and so they wisely embraced it as a potential source of strength.
“That is why they resolutely bound us into an indissoluble union. They had a dream of a diverse, united and prosperous Nigeria as a beckon of hope to Africa and the entire Black World.
“We must keep the torch of that dream of our founding fathers burning and hand it over to the next generation of Nigerians.
“The founding fathers got nothing on a silver platter. Their dream of a glorious future for Nigeria inspired them in confronting the challenges of their time.
“That great heritage is what we are celebrating today. We must preserve and pass it to the coming generations.
“If our founding fathers had succumbed to the challenges that they encountered in their pursuit of independence, we would not today have a great country to celebrate. They faced their challenges and prevailed.
“Our own challenges today are numerous but they are not insurmountable. If we face them like our founding fathers faced those of their time, the coming generations will also accord our memories their gratitude.
“Our political, religious and traditional leaders as well as influencers of opinions across the country need therefore to unite their purpose and energy for the good of our dear nation.
“As issues arise, let us use the right channels to address them in the true spirit of democracy. Nigeria belongs to all its citizens, not to some more than the others.
“It is in this regard that I will again encourage all Nigerians to take advantage of the ongoing process of constitutional review at the National Assembly.
“The National Assembly is determined to facilitate a meaningful review of the Constitution by the people, to ensure that the instrument continues to serve its purpose and to meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.
“A people-oriented Constitution will address the frictions that we are currently witnessing and this is why the National Assembly is taking very seriously this national assignment.
“We already have a consensus on democracy as the best form of government for us as a people. So, we should all get actively involved in its processes.
“The National Assembly will always provide the necessary legislative interventions to strengthen the processes and encourage popular participation.
“For instance, we are about to harmonize the positions of the Senate and the House of Representatives on the Electoral Reform Bill. We are confident that the Bill will enhance the improvement that we have continued to see in our electoral process.
“Let us keep faith with Nigeria and continue as one people to work for our collective security and prosperity. May God continue to bless Nigeria,” Lawan says.
Bauchi Blasphemy: We ‘ll not accept this brutal way of murder – CAN
Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria ( CAN) in Kaduna State, Rev.Joseph John Hayab has raised concern over the allegation of blasphemy in Bauchi, saying the challenge now is for Government authorities and security agencies to act fast to address abuse of the constitution before it leads to a more serious conflict that can not be handled.
He said in a statement on Saturday, that allegations of blasphemy have now become the new excuse by fundamentalists in Northern Nigeria to kill the remnant that bandits and terrorists have not yet killed.
“How can you justify the period of what happened in Sokoto, the allegation in Borno, the fake allegation on Babachir Lawal by one northern actor who we have on record how he made blasphemous remarks about
Jesus Christ but quickly went and brought it down on the internet to cover himself before coming out to falsely accused Babachir Lawal the former SGF and today we are seeing another carnage in Bauchi under the excuse of blasphemy, “He said.
“We know and have evidence of how some of these allegations of blasphemy are false and just for blackmail or settling scores with perceived enemies or well-mannered young girls who have refused sexual advances by the opposite sex from another religion.”
“We are also aware of how fanatics have in the past raised lies in the name of blasphemy.”
“CAN wonder if the recent sermons we are getting from some Islamic clerics on what the Holy Quran says about what should be done if anyone is accused of blasphemy is unpopular amongst followers?”
“The challenge now is for Government authorities and security agencies to act fast to address this abuse of our constitution before it leads to a more serious conflict that can not be handled.”
“Nigeria Christians most especially those of Northern extraction have for ages exhibited tolerance despite many provocations and lack of reciprocation of our love and friendship but these new tactics for killing our people from any and every accusation of blasphemy are unacceptable to CAN and all Christian faithful.
We will not accept this brutal way of murder and inhuman treatment of our followers to continue.”
“Government and security agencies should come out to enforce the law on every murderer hiding under religion.
We will also wish to appeal to Christian leaders and parents to guide their children to resist any ungodly provocation that will make them says things that blood-thisty fundamentalist can easily use to kill them.”
“CAN is appealing to religious leaders from both religious divides to intensify teachings about the evil of taking the laws into one hand and killing another person for whatever reason.
Allege offenders should be reported to security agencies or taken to any competent court of law for judiciary pronouncement.
Nigeria is not a banana republic but a nation we believe should be governed by the rule of law,” he said.
Oyetola bags Vanguard 2021 ‘Governor of The Year Award’ for Good Governance
LAGOS EXPLAINS OKADA CLAMPDOWN
Lagos State Government has described the ongoing enforcement of restrictions on the operations of commercial motorcycles, popularly called okada, in certain parts of the State as a necessary step to curb their indiscipline, save lives and improve security.
Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, spoke on Channels TV Sunrise Daily about the new enforcement order given by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the backlash recorded in a part of the State.
According to Omotoso, the resurgence of Okada operations and acts of indiscipline being exhibited by riders have become a serious source of concern as many people have lost their limbs and lives through Okada accidents.
His words: “Our doctors are complaining that more and more people are coming with Okada-related emergency. About 1,712 accidents have been recorded in Lagos in the first quarter of this year. Out of this figure, about 45 percent; to be precise, 767 of the accidents were caused by Okada. And it is shocking to know that about 54 percent of the victims are between the ages of 30 and 39. These are our able-bodied young people who are getting cut down like that all because they mounted okada.”
Attributing the high fatality rate of riders and passengers to plying about 500 highways, major roads and bridges, which the Road Traffic Law prohibited, Omotoso affirmed that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s order was to reinforce the law and give the riders an opportunity to move out and find some other things to do.
He said: “There is a Law that lists all the routes commercial motorcycles are restricted from plying. The Law is still there; it has not been repealed. So, the enforcement is not new and it is going to continue as the June 1st deadline stands.”
Describing as unfortunate the insecurity in some parts of the country that has forced many people to migrate to Lagos to make ends meet by riding Okada, the Commissioner explained that the development led to complaints from residents who have expressed their rejection of okada.
“Lagosians are worried about the mystery of Okada; they don’t know where they come from; the riders are unknown; they don’t even have number plates. They don’t come for LASRRA registration, so we can’t account for them,” he said.
Speaking further, the Commissioner described the approach to the renewed enforcement as well planned and strategic because the State expected the kind of backlash the exercise has generated, but assured all that it was an experience the law enforcement agents were used to.
On possible increase in crime rate, following the enforcement, Omotoso said “everything the law enforcement agencies need in terms of equipment, welfare and encouragement would be provided for them to step up enforcement and security of lives and property.”
The Commissioner expressed the determination of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to ensure full enforcement and allayed fears that the government would want to go back because of politics.
He said: “Mr. Governor is a man of integrity; he is a man of his words. He is going to ensure that whatever it takes to enforce the law will be done. We have been encouraged by Lagosians who have seen the danger and who feel that moving with Okada from one place to another because it is very fast cannot be compared to the security threat they pose. The goal is to have a Lagos without motorcycles because there is no megacity in the world that you go to and find this kind of mode of transportation.
“It is also preposterous for anybody to say for our votes come and mess up Lagos. No, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Governor, is not going to do that. This is the last time we are going to have this as the bikes are being crushed to show people that we are very serious, and communicate to those bringing them in, that enough is enough.”
Omotoso advised okada riders to look for something else to do as there are so many opportunities in Lagos for anyone who wants to stay in Lagos and wants to be law-abiding.
“You should go and collect your LASRRA card and be an official resident of Lagos and find something to do. Artisans who left their jobs to ride Okada should find a reason now to go back to their jobs,” he said.
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