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Daily Headline News (Wednesday, 12-5-2021)

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Reuben Abati: Buhari In Charge Of Nigeria

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Reuben Abati: Buhari In Charge Of Nigeria

Reuben Abati, the former spokesman to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, has said it is evident that President Muhammadu Buhari is in charge of the country.

Abati was commenting on Buhari’s interview with ARISE TV last week Thursday.

Several critics including Wole Soyinka, Nobel laureate, and Aminu Tambuwal, governor of Sokoto state, had claimed that Nigeria is being run through proxies and that Buhari is not in charge of the nation’s affairs.

Some others have alleged that the president’s spokespersons have been airing their opinions and not those of their principal.

But Abati, who was among the team that spoke to the president, said the interview proved that Buhari is in the know of things in the country.

He said the president is in charge and “showed no hesitation in restating some of his reported views and taking ownership of them despite the controversial nature of those views”.

“His submission to a media conversation is also a form of protection for his spokespersons. Many have accused Garba Shehu, Femi Adesina and Alhaji Lai Mohammed of speaking for themselves, and not for the President, but we have all seen a President, speaking for himself, whose views do not contradict what his aides have been telling us,” Abati said in an opinion piece.

“Our interview with him also proved the point that there is no doubting the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari is effectively in charge. He knows what is going on. And he showed no hesitation in restating some of his reported views and taking ownership of them despite the controversial nature of those views.”

Abati said the Buhari interview “has further revealed how divided we are as a nation”.

He urged the president to address Nigerians more often.

“Whoever advised President Buhari to grant media interviews last week and also address the nation on Saturday, June 12, did him a big favour. The intensity of media appearance was a good move, even if it came rather late,” he said.

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“Every President has his or her own style but deliberately playing possum should not be part of that style. President Buhari should speak more often to Nigerians. He should sit down at Presidential media chats.

“Nigeria is not a feudal system where the aristocrat treats the people with disdain. In a democracy, the man of power is accountable to the people who expect their leaders to continually justify why they must be in power and office.”

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Daily Headline News (Tuesday, 15-6-2021)

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Outrage Over Demolition Of 12 Churches In Lagos

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Outrage Over Demolition Of 12 Churches In Lagos
Image used for illustrative purpose

There has been outrage over the demolition of 12 churches on 2nd Avenue, FESTAC Town, Lagos State, by officials of the Federal Housing Authority.

It was gathered that a market and a car mart were also affected in the exercise carried out on Sunday.

The demolition started around 5am and continued till around 3pm.

The leader of the Gate of Righteousness Evangelical International Church, Pastor Joshua Obong said he started his ministry in the community 18 years ago and wondered why his church was targeted for demolition.

He said, “The officials first came last week and started marking our buildings. After they were done, they left and returned two days later. That was when they gave us a seven-day notice, which expired last Wednesday.

“On Sunday morning, around 5am, we suddenly saw bulldozers at the First Gate, FESTAC Town. They got to my church at exactly 11am; they demolished all the churches along the road, except the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Communion Chapel and CPM, which they spared. All other churches were brought down.”

Obong said there was no other warning prior to the seven-day notice.

He claimed that the government took advantage of the strike action by judicial workers, adding that nobody could approach the court for injunctions to stop the demolition.

“We wrote to them, seeking extension of time, but the letter was not even acknowledged,” he added.

One of the demolished buildings

The Overseer of Christ Gospel Church International, Pastor William Ehiorenren, said a senior government official had advised them to send a lawyer to Abuja to sort out the matter.

He stated, “He promised that they would not touch any church till the lawyer returned. Our lawyer was still in Abuja when they came on Sunday, a day of service, and demolished our churches. The lawyer called all their staff members, but they switched off their phones.

“We heard that they want to re-allocate the land and sell to moneybags and make millions. I have not seen where seven days would be given for people to vacate their property.

“We have been in that area for years and we spent millions of naira in building our churches. They could not even give us time to move, because they had mapped out their evil plan to sell the land to people.”

Ehiorenren said his church usually paid tenancy rates to landlords, who he claimed had legal claims to the land.

The cleric accused the government of leaving certain churches because their leaders had political connections.

He explained that his church was not served any notice of demolition.

The Deputy Director, Social Security and Intergovernmental Relations, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Lagos State, Pastor Barnabas Otoibhi, said 12 churches were demolished by the government.

He explained that the owners of the churches cleared a swamp and built their structures, adding that the affected worship centres had been in the community for between 13 and 20 years.

According to him, the government accused the pastors of “encroachment and erecting illegal structures.”

Otoibhi, however, queried why the demolition was carried out without adequate notice and while some of the occupants were asleep.

He said, “We are wondering why the government would do this on a Sunday. Are they now working on Sundays? Is it the government that is doing this or somebody that is powerful in government or a politician is behind this?

“The notice they sent to them, they called it final notice, without serving them any previous letter. We asked that they should be given time. We were discussing this when the bulldozers came in on Sunday morning. The first church was pulled down at exactly 5.45am. Aside from the churches, they also cleared those selling cars in that line. Only a few buildings were spared.”

The cleric said a protest was planned for today (Tuesday) to kick against the “shabby manner” in which the churches were treated.

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