Nigerian Government Dangerously Demonizing Catholic Bishop Nigeria

The Nigerian government appears to be treading the old path of the military dictatorship now by demonizing those who speak out to remind the government of its responsibilities to its citizens. It is not regarding such critics who are Nigerians are enemies of the government.

In the days of the inglorious military administrations in Nigeria, each time government spokesmen refer to a Nigerian as an enemy of government, it is a step towards clamping down on such people and putting them out of circulation by detaining them.

One of the spokesmen of President Muhammadu Buhari released a statement over the weekend in which he referred to the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Northwest Nigeria, Most Reverend Matthew Hassan Kukah as one of the enemies of the Nigerian government.

Most Reverend Kukah has been consistent in drawing the attention of government to its seeming incapability in dealing with terrorism and other forms of criminality which is needlessly wasting the lives of thousands of Nigerians on the highways, in their homes, on their farms and that no place is safe for Nigerian citizens.

Bishop Kukah said with the government’s penchance for nepotism, religious bigotry and tribalism in its appointment of heads of all security outfits with people from only one part of the country, the North, it is amazing that criminality and violence are highest in the country.

At different times, the Bishop had reminded the government to ensure social justice as panacea for peace and harmony. Is that the reason the Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah should be tagged an enemy of government?

Nigerian Government Petty: Blaming Country’s Insecurity On Bishop Who Speaks Truth To Power

To excuse it’s ineptitude in tackling the troubling insecurity in Nigeria, the Nigeria Presidency is  attributing the delayed delivery of 12 Super Tucano jet fighters for the Nigerian Air Force to fight insecurity across the country to comments by those it described as “the opponents of the Nigerian government” including the Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Sokoto, Matthew Kukah.

The Presidency revealed that the reasons given for the delay includes poor inter-religious relations between Christianity and Islam in the country and it was compounded by constant lobbying of US Congress by the government’s opponents.

These were contained in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, titled ‘Predicting Nigeria’s collapse is a perennial pursuit of US think tanks and policy experts.’

Nigeria: At least 29 killed in armed bandit attack

It also said that the United States’ policy and support to Nigeria have been so inconsistent over the years, especially as regards the provision of military equipment to fight the decade-long insecurity in the Sahel region.

The presidency also berated the US policy experts and think tanks for their perennial attempts at predicting the country’s collapse; which, it said, does not paint a true picture of a country that has enjoyed 23 years of steady democracy.

The statement partly read: “It is a pity therefore that US policy and support towards our country, including during the Buhari administration, has been so inconsistent.

“In 2015 the then newly-elected Buhari government requested US military support in the form of Super Tucano jet fighters for the Nigerian Air Force. The Nigerian military, security, and intelligence services repeatedly made this request. The US administration of the time concurred: the delivery of such jets would help deliver a critical turning point in Nigeria’s struggle against jihadist terrorists across the Sahel.

“Yet two years later, that jet delivery was rescinded, the reasons given that unless Nigeria improved its religious relations between Christianity and Islam then US support would not be forthcoming in this, and many other areas.

“Such views were compounded by the constant lobbying of US Congress by the opponents of the Nigerian government who had lost the previous election, and many of their southern religious supporters—including Bishop Matthew Kukah, the Catholic Bishop of Diocese of Sokoto, who, unsurprising, provides a supportive quote for the dustcover of the new edition of Campbell’s book. (Kukah even took to addressing the US Congress himself, briefing his audience on the history of coups in Nigeria—without, of course, mentioning that none had occurred since 1993, some 29 years ago).

Architecture from Nigeria | ArchDaily

“Fortunately, now today under a new US administration these jets have been delivered, and with it, a serious blow against the terrorists—with the supreme leader of Islamic State in West Africa and scores of other leaders of the group eliminated in airstrikes.

“In 2005, a US National Intelligence Council paper “Mapping Sub-Saharan Africa’s Future” floated the idea there could be a military coup in Nigeria. However, for the last 29 years, close to a generation; there have been none.

“Since the return of democracy in 1999 there have been six general elections, four elected presidents, four transfers of power—including one in 2015 between the winning opposition candidate and the losing incumbent president seeking re-election.

Apologist of the Nigerian government, especially the spokesmen of the President have been wont to make spurious allegations against Nigerians among them the Catholic Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of “hate”. They do everything to silence critics and those who speak truth to power to remind the government of its responsibilities to the Nigerian citizens.

It is annoying and cynical for the spokesman of the Nigerian President to demonize Bishop Kukah as an enemy of the government. This was how the late Dr. Mailafia, a former Deputy Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank was harassed by the Directorate of State Security for exposing the undercover efforts of the government to infiltrate the southern and middle-belt regions of the country with hundreds of thousands of Northern fighters in order to muzzle every opposition.

 

Mixed reactions trail death of over 100 persons in Imo oil bunkering explosion

Marcus Fatunmole April 24, 2022

MIXED reactions have trailed the death of more than 100 persons in an explosion at an oil bunkering site in Imo State on Friday night.

While most Nigerians expressed shock over the incident, some others blamed oil bunkering on the high rate of poverty and hunger in the country, which they say would not allow the illegal activity to stop.

At least 109 persons died when an illegal crude oil refining site at Abaezi forest in Ohaji-Egbema Local Government Area of the state exploded.

Residents woke to see the firestorm, which burnt scores of people involved in the business beyond recognition.

Charred remains littered the forest following hours of the blaze that raged throughout the night and prevented terrified residents from coming close.

The inferno also consumed at least six vehicles.

However, some victims escaped with varying degrees of burns.

Providing an update on the tragedy Friday night, the Head of Operations of the National Emergency Management Agency, Ifeanyi Nnaji, said 109 bodies were recovered from the forest.

Multiple reports also said many people involved in the activity drowned while attempting to escape.

The State Governor Hope Uzodinma sympathized with family members of the victims but condemned the illegal business.

Represented by the state commissioner for petroleum resources, Goodluck Oprah, Uzodinma said all the victims were burnt beyond recognition.

He said, “Most of the people engaging in this act are from Rivers, Bayelsa and other neighbouring states, and it is sabotage for our people to allow this illegal activity to continue.”

While decrying the impact of the tragedy on agricultural and aquatic lives in the area, the governor appealed to the people to desist from the business, which he described as suicidal.

Some Nigerians who commented on the disaster in different posts on a Facebook Page, “Egbema United HQ”, allegedly created for Egbema people said the business would continue in the area.

Screenshot of reactions to the calamity on Egbema Community Facebook Page (1)
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Checks by our reporter showed that the majority of people who wrote on the platform expressed sympathy over the incident. Most of them also condemned the activity.

Temple Ndubuokwu opined that residents of the area would not desist from the business despite the tragedy.

He wrote: “Our people won’t hear. After a while, they will continue.”

Eng. Gideon Nkemakolam said: “If bunkering stops, Egbema will be hell. No home for everyone… Raping and all sot of evil will be on the high side.”

Similarly, Tony Jay wrote: “Before saying no to bunkering, you should consider that after saying no to it, you would still end up dying of hunger.”

What Is COVID Injection Fatality Rate?

BY TESSA LENA TIMEAPRIL 23, 2022 PRINT

A great ‘Perspectives on the Pandemic’ interview with Dr. Spiro Pantazatos. Dr. Pantazatos is not shy at all about sharing his analysis, and he is also tremendously graceful and humble when presenting it.

Story at-a-glance

  • Dr. Spiro Pantazatos is a researcher at Columbia University who recently co-authored a study on “vaccine-induced fatality rate”
  • His initial reaction to the COVID pandemic was 100% mainstream, and it was the data (and his scientific integrity) that compelled him to change his mind
  • Dr. Spiro Pantazatos believes that the risk associated with COVID injections is comparable to the risk associated with getting COVID in 2020, with the injection risks increasing with each dose
  • His message for the fellow scientists is to find their voice and stop being silent

This story is about a very brave researcher at Columbia University who co-authored a paper on risks associated with COVID vaccination (“vaccine-induced fatality rate”), in October 2021.

The researcher’s name is Spiro Pantazatos, Ph.D. He is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurobiology (Psychiatry) at Columbia University. He is also Research Scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. The title of his paper (a preprint) is “COVID vaccination and age-stratified all-cause mortality risk”:

“Accurate estimates of COVID vaccine-induced severe adverse event and death rates are critical for risk-benefit ratio analyses of vaccination and boosters against SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in different age groups. However, existing surveillance studies are not designed to reliably estimate life-threatening event or vaccine-induced fatality rates (VFR).

Here, regional variation in vaccination rates was used to predict all-cause mortality and non-COVID deaths in subsequent time periods using two independent, publicly available datasets from the US and Europe (month-and week-level resolutions, respectively).”

Currently Dr. Pantazatos is trying to fund a home for this paper but all journals where he submitted it have declined so far.

Dr. Pantazatos was interviewed for the “Perspectives on the Pandemic” series, and in my opinion, the interview came out stunning (with a disclaimer that the topic is gruesome, so it’s a stunning interview about a horrible thing). Dr. Pantazatos’ presentation is so graceful and even-headed that it could be “the” video to send to your friends who have been calling you crazy all this time!

Dr. Pantazatos’ Initial COVID Position Was 100% “Mainstream”

Early in the pandemic, Dr. Pantazatos was very moved by the vivid images that the media was feeding us — and, as a result, he became terrified of the virus. His initial plan was to lockdown inside his house until the vaccines came out.

What Compelled Him to Get More Skeptical

But then he started looking at data presented by scientists like John Ioannidis, for example, and he quickly realized that the situation was different from the one painted by the media.

Then Dr. Pantazatos’ co-author on this paper, Herve Seligmann, came up with an analysis of European data showing a consistent trend where a vaccination campaign seemed to be accompanied by an increase in all-cause mortality during the month following the vaccination campaign.

Dr. Pantazatos didn’t like that conclusion very much as it implied the unthinkable, and so he decided to do his own analysis based on the U.S. data (vaccinations and all-cause mortality), published by the CDC. And when he did his analysis using the U.S. data, it showed the same trend. His analysis of the CDC data showed that following a vaccination campaign in a given locality, there was an increase in all-cause mortality during the following month, followed by a decrease.

In Dr. Pantazatos’ opinion, the risk associated with COVID injections is comparable to the risk associated with getting COVID — if the risk associated with COVID is assessed at the high, early-in-the-pandemic level. And given that the two risks are comparable, and the injection risks seem to increase with each subsequent does — and the pharma companies are pushing for boosters from here into the horizon — he believes that we really need to discuss the VFR.

Why Rejection From the Journals Then?

Interestingly, Dr. Pantazatos mentioned in the interview that even before 2020, he was well aware of the fact that the process of getting scientific works published in prestigious journals was tainted. He referred to the 2005 article in “PLOS Medicine” called, “Medical Journals Are an Extension of the Marketing Arm of Pharmaceutical Companies” that talked about how exactly the journals are incentivized by pharma companies.

Furthermore, scientists themselves have developed a habit of trading total integrity of research for the prestige and benefits of having their works published — and so even before 2020, it was not uncommon for researchers to “massage” the angle etc. in order to fit in. From myself, I would like to add the following quote from the Lancet:

“Much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness,” wrote Richard Horton, the Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet in 2015.

Incidentally, I wrote an article about corruption in the medical establishment last year, in case you are curious.

The Importance of Speaking Out

Dr. Pantazatos is not shy at all about sharing his analysis, and he is also tremendously graceful and humble when presenting it. Personally, I am very impressed by Dr. Pantazatos’ scientific integrity and his ability to actually “follow the science” — as well as by the grace with which he presents this rather ugly topic.

Pope Francis names secretaries of doctrinal and disciplinary sections of CDF

St Peters Basilica dome Credit Luxerendering Shutterstock CNA

 

Pope Francis on Saturday appointed secretaries of the doctrinal and disciplinary sections of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

The pope named Monsignor Armando Matteo, 51, as the secretary of the doctrinal section of the CDF and Monsignor John Joseph Kennedy, 53, as the secretary of its disciplinary section on April 23.

Cardinal Luis Ladaria, 78, remains as the head of the CDF with the new appointments. He has served as its prefect since July 2017.

Under Pope Francis’ reform of the Roman Curia, solidified by the implementation of the apostolic constitution, Praedicate evangelium (“Preach the Gospel”) last month, the internal structure of the CDF has been reorganized into two sections.

When the new apostolic constitution comes into force on June 5, the Vatican’s doctrinal and disciplinary office will also be known by a new name, the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Matteo will lead the CDF’s Doctrinal Section, which is responsible for matters “having to do with the promotion and protection of the doctrine of faith and morals,” according to the motu proprio, Fidem servare, issued by Pope Francis on Feb. 14.

The theologian and professor at the Pontifical Urbaniana University is originally from the Archdiocese of Catanzaro-Squillace in Calabria in southern Italy. He was served as the adjunct under-secretary of the CDF since April 2021.

Matteo holds a degree in philosophy from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan and a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

The Doctrinal Section examines curial documents before their publication to assure they are doctrinally sound. Pope Francis said it will also examine “writings and opinions which appear problematic for the correct faith, encouraging dialogue with their authors and proposing the appropriate suitable remedies to be applied.”

The section will also be responsible for issues regarding Anglican personal ordinariates.

Kennedy will head the Disciplinary Section, which deals with certain serious canonical crimes.

Originally from Dublin, Kennedy has worked as an official within the CDF since 2003 and has served as the head of its disciplinary section since 2017. He holds a licentiate and a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University.

It is expected that Cardinal Ladaria, who turned 78 this week, will be replaced as prefect of the CDF within the year.

The Canonical Gospels

Biblical Archaeology Society Online Archive

The four canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John narrate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Biblical Archaeology Society editors have hand-selected articles from the BAS Library that cast each of the canonical Gospels in a new light. Explore the earliest-known versions and authors of the canonical Gospels in this BAS Library Special Collection.

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—the four canonical Gospels—have come down to us only in Greek. The Gospels we use today—in English or in other languages—are translations from old Greek manuscripts. By contrast, what Christians call the Old Testament—the Hebrew Bible—was written in Hebrew, with a few short sections in a sister language called Aramaic. Were the canonical Gospels originally written in Greek? In “Was the Gospel of Matthew Originally Written in Hebrew,” Biblical scholar George Howard presents formidable evidence that at least one of the Gospels, and perhaps more, may originally have been written in Hebrew! Learn what Howard discovered in a little-known 14th century manuscript preserving the type of Hebrew written in the first century.

How did Mark end his gospel? It’s difficult to tell from the nine versions of his last chapter that we have today. The shortest version ends with the empty tomb; Jesus is never seen again. In the longest, Jesus reappears three times before he rises to heaven. The difference is critical—to Bible scholars trying to determine which ending is the earliest, to biographers mapping the course of Jesus’ life, to historians trying to trace how it came to be recorded, to theologians contemplating Jesus’ resurrection, and to curious readers who simply want to know how the story ends. In “To Be Continued … The Many Endings of the Gospel of Mark,” Michael W. Holmes examines the various versions to rethink our understanding of the gospel.

In “Who Wrote the Gospel of Luke?” Mikeal Parsons investigates this seemingly obvious question. The gospel itself never reveals the author’s name. However, over the centuries, numerous traditions have evolved around this somewhat shadowy evangelist: Luke is credited with writing not only his gospel but the New Testament Book of Acts as well. He is portrayed as a physician, a friend of Paul’s and even a painter, and is described as a gentile writing for a gentile audience. “Who Wrote the Gospel of Luke?” investigates the individual behind the author of two of the most significant contributions by an early Christian to our understanding of the founder of Christianity and its first followers.

Commentators have long debated whether John provides the truest portrait of Jesus or the least accurate. But perhaps they should be asking another question altogether: What kind of book is the so-called Gospel of John? The brisk dialogue and memorable sayings of the Synoptics give way to a handful of elaborate set pieces in John. In “The Un-Gospel of John,” Robin Griffith-Jones considers this more spiritual gospel. While the other gospels tell Jesus’ stories from the outside, John reveals the heart of Jesus.

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