THE Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has warned the government against making the COVID-19 vaccination compulsory for workers.
The labour union spoke through its President, Ayuba Wabba, during a briefing on the COVID-19 vaccination advisory for federal civil servants in Abuja on Monday.
He said, “The truth is that despite being imperfect, the COVID-19 vaccine has given all of us a better chance of fighting the virus and staying alive.
“I urge workers all over the world to take advantage of the COVID-19 vaccines and keep themselves, their families and their colleagues at work safe and free from the morbid threats of the corona pandemic.
“We urge the government and other employers of labour to make special arrangements for workers to access the vaccine at the workplace.”
He, however, urged the Federal Government to use persuasion and conviction rather than force.
“We urge that the tool of persuasion and conviction be used rather than force to get workers and the general populace to take the vaccination.”
The ICIR had earlier reported Boss Mustapha, who leads the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 on October 13, 2021, as saying that Federal Government workers without proof of COVID-19 vaccination or result of tests done within 72 hours would not be allowed to gain entrance into their offices from December 1, 2021.
Dominic Onyeukwu managed to save his unborn son’s life during a riot. 20 years on, he could not prevent his son from being killed by SARS
WHEN the Kaduna Riot erupted in February 2000, the late Chibuike Ikeagwuchi was still in his mother’s womb. The riot, which led to over 200 deaths and many properties destroyed, later extended to Kano, where Chibuike’s parents lived at the time.As Chibuike’s mother, Agnes’, due date drew nearer, the riot had intensified. Chibuike’s father, Dominic, decided to prioritize the safety of his wife and family by evacuating them from Kano.
One night in March 2000, Dominic managed to get his plan of escape in motion. But there was a problem. When he and his family arrived at the Sabon Gari Park, the last bus of the F.G. Onyenwe Transport Company to Owerri was almost full, unable to accommodate all six family members.
Dominic decided to put his pregnant wife and four children on the bus so he could stay behind and join them later. He wanted to, as he recalls, “allow my wife and children to arrive home safely without any pressure on the pregnancy.”His family did arrive safely, and so did he, a month and two weeks later. The family had relocated to their hometown at Oboukwu Obizi in the Ezinihitte local government area of Imo State. There, Chibuike Ikeagwuchi was safely delivered.
“I avoided every trouble. I dogged every bullet,” Dominic remembers. “I did everything I could to make sure that the child was safe and secure.”
But two decades later, Dominic would not be in the position to protect his son, who was murdered in cold blood.
It was the afternoon of September 19, 2020. when an officer named Isaiah Bene, attached to the Nigerian Mobile Police Force (MOPOL) at the Elelenwo area of the Obio/Akpor local government in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, killed Chibuike, who had turned 20 just months before.
Chibuike and his friend, identified as Reuben, were reportedly walking along the road when they saw operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the Nigerian Police Force. Having previously heard and seen atrocities committed by the unit, the two friends started running in fear. When they could not keep up, the officers chased after them and raised a false alarm with shouts of “thieves! thieves!”
To avoid being killed, Chibuike and Reuben eventually stopped to explain themselves to the SARS officers, who were still running towards them. During their short wait for the SARS officers to catch up to them, the duo was approached by MOPOL officer Bene, who was stationed in Elelewon.
Reuben recalls emptying the bag he was carrying when he heard a gunshot behind him. Chibuike had been shot in the back by Bene and had fallen face down on the ground. The incident was videoed by eyewitnesses and posted on social media.
When the SARS operatives finally arrived at the scene, they handcuffed Reuben. Chibuike was still breathing at that time, but the SARS operatives refused to take him to the hospital. Instead, they put him on the floor of a tricycle, where he breathed his last breath around 3:00 pm.
While Reuben was taken to the police station, Chibuike was taken to the University of Port Harcourt (UPTH) mortuary.
Dominic heard about Chibuike’s shooting from his (Dominic’s) eldest son, Michael. When he heard, he went to the Elelewon police station, where he requested to see his son but was informed Chibuike was not in their custody.
He then received a phone call from Reuben’s mother, who told him not to leave the police station. When Reuben’s mother arrived at the station, they were allowed to see Reuben, who told them Chibuike had been killed and taken to the mortuary by the SARS operatives. Dominic slumped.
“I did not know when I fell,” he says.
He was shocked but also angry that his son had not only been shot but taken to the mortuary without his consent. “They allowed my boy to die slowly,” he says.
When Dominic got to the UPTH mortuary that evening, the attendants did not doubt his claim of being the father of the deceased because of the striking resemblance.
By the time I saw his body, he was very dark,” Dominic remembers.
The SARS operatives had dumped Chibuike’s corpse and registered him under the name Daniel Anambra, a 30-year-old accident victim.
Dominic took his son’s corpse and travelled to their hometown, where he ensured Chibuike was buried in the family compound on December 21, 2020.
“The boy was a son I did not know I would lose like that,” the 69-year-old Dominic laments. “He was not a cultist – it was proven beyond reasonable doubt. Throughout the time of his death till now, I never saw any group come to say he was their member.”
Dominic describes his late son, his fifth and last child, as a potential music superstar who went by the stage name Sleek. Chibuike, Dominic reveals, was in a group that already had an album to their credit.
In 2020, Chibuike was admitted to study civil engineering at the Federal University of Owerri (FUTO) but could not attend because of complications caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition to being an artist, he also installed aluminium windows and roofs.
On October 27, 2020, Dominic instituted two separate cases – criminal and human rights – against the Rivers State Command of the Nigerian Police Force in the Rivers State High Court. The human rights case was speedily carried out, and on November 27, 2020, Dominic was awarded the sum of 50 million naira for damages. The criminal case was adjourned to April 14, 2021, while officer Bene was remanded in prison.
Chibuike’s mother, Agnes, cries as she reflects on her son’s life. “Life has never been the same,” she says, sobbing. “I keep calling his number. I was there when they were burying him, but I still call his number [to see] whether he would answer me.”
“Though I have other children, the departure of that boy seems as if 20 people left my house,” she adds.
Dominic, meanwhile, says the loss of his son has shattered him, almost driving him to insanity. “His loss disorganized me,” he explains. “Since his loss, I’ve become disoriented.”
If we are trying to ascertain motive in a situation like this, shouting ‘Allah’ would seem to be a key detail. That potentially moves the incident from ‘disturbed passenger freaks out over failed phone connection’ to ‘jihadist tries to commit suicide
Border Patrol agents apprehended a total of 1,666,167 illegal immigrants along the southwest border in fiscal 2021—breaking all records since 1925 after the agency was formed (when 22,199 illegal aliens were arrested).
An additional 294,352 were stopped after trying to enter at a port of entry without legal papers, bringing the total to almost 2 million (1,956,519) for fiscal 2021, according to new Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statistics.
The CBP doesn’t officially release the number of “gotaways”—illegal aliens who are detected by Border Patrol, but evade capture. However, former CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan told a congressional Republican roundtable on Oct. 20 that the gotaway number hit at least 400,000 illegal aliens this year.
The Biden administration has faced growing criticism for the crisis at the southern border, which started to ramp up a year ago in tandem with election rhetoric.
St. Margaret Mary’s life reveals the truth that the Christian life is a love story for every person.
Young love. A childhood promise. Family opposing the match. Finally, a lifetime happily in love with each other.
It sounds like the plot of a romantic novel, doesn’t it? But it’s the real story of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, the saintly French nun whose feast we celebrate today.
St. Margaret Mary was a rather unusual child. She deeply loved the Eucharist from a young age, much like Blessed Carlo Acutis. She was said to prefer silence and prayer to rowdy childhood games.
When she was 13, her years of private prayer and sacrificial love for Christ came to a head. She secretly promised the Blessed Virgin Mary that she would consecrate herself to religious life.
But this promise was to be sorely tested a few years later. In her late teens, St. Margaret Mary heeded her family’s urging to search for a suitable husband. She began to attend dances and parties and meet eligible young men, all with marriage in mind.
All this social excitement came to an abrupt end, however, when Christ reminded her of her early promise: One night upon her return from a ball, she had a vision of Christ as He was during His scourging, reproaching her for infidelity after He had given her so many proofs of His love.
She forgot all about the young men she’d met and desired once more to take Christ as her bridegroom. But there was one major obstacle: her family. Her mother and older brother wanted her to marry.
When her brother urged her to marry immediately, Margaret responded by describing her true love, Jesus:
“He is the most beautiful, the richest, most powerful, most perfect and accomplished of all lovers and I am promised to Him.”
Her brother was unimpressed. He continued to oppose her entering the convent for some time, until at last, a Franciscan priest visited the family and convinced him of Margaret Mary’s vocation.
At least, after so many years, St. Margaret Mary’s dream was realized. She would be united forever to her great love as a nun in a Visitation convent.
While St. Margaret Mary was to endure more trials in her life, Christ’s burning love and constant presence always consoled her. It was “love ever after” not just for a lifetime but in Heaven beyond.
The rest of her life was dedicated to making Christ known throughout the world, especially through devotion to his Sacred Heart, which she steadfastly promoted:
[Christ] called her “the Beloved Disciple of the Sacred Heart,” and the heiress of all Its treasures. The love of the Sacred Heart was the fire which consumed her, and devotion to the Sacred Heart is the refrain of all her writings. In her last illness she refused all alleviation, repeating frequently: “What have I in heaven and what do I desire on earth, but Thee alone, O my God,” and died pronouncing the Holy Name of Jesus.
St. Margaret Mary’s life sounds like a love story, but with Christ in place of an ordinary man. But what’s most extraordinary about it is that a love story with Christ is not something reserved only for the holiest people. It’s something to which every Christian is invited.
St. Margaret Mary was unusual in preferring silence and prayer to excitement and play, but you don’t have to be like her to fall in love with Jesus. Each and every one of us is called to our own love story with Christ. And these love stories will be as distinct and unique as each person.
A Jesuit priest, Fr. Pedro Arrupe, beautifully captured the reality of a relationship with Christ in a reflection called Fall in Love:
Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in Love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in Love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.
St. Margaret Mary shows us what it can look like to fall in love and stay in love with Christ.
Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson issued a legal opinion saying that his office won’t seek disciplinary action against doctors who prescribe hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin as off-label medicines to treat or prevent COVID-19, as long as they are not engaging in any misconduct.
The opinion (pdf), issued on Oct. 14, was in response to a request from Dannette Smith, CEO of the state’s Department of Health, which licenses and disciplines doctors. Smith asked whether it would be “deemed unlawful or otherwise subject to discipline” for doctors to prescribe ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, or other “off label use” medications to treat or prevent COVID-19.
The Republican attorney general said in the opinion that his office finds “the available data does not justify filing disciplinary actions against physicians simply because they prescribe ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine to prevent or treat COVID-19.”
Health care providers in general may be subject to discipline if they “neglect to obtain informed consent, deceive their patients, prescribe excessively high doses, fail to check for contraindications, or engage in other misconduct,” wrote Peterson.
He said his office is not recommending any particular treatment options for COVID-19, but only the off-label early treatment options as raised by the health department “and conclude that the available evidence suggests that they might work for some people.”
The opinion continues, “Allowing physicians to consider these early treatments will free them to evaluate additional tools that could save lives, keep patients out of the hospital, and provide relief for our already strained health care system.”
Leader, do yourself and the organization you love a favor. Leave before you have to leave.
I’ve learned watching people in organizations over the years. I’ve seen it in government, business, and, sadly, far too often in the church.
Some people stay too long.
Does this sound cruel? I don’t mean it to, but they do. They stay beyond their welcome. Beyond their usefulness. Beyond their ability to make a positive impact.
So, I have some advice.
Leave before you have to leave.
When you are tired of the vision
If you can’t support the leadership
When you have no heart left to give the organization
If you consistently struggle to stay motivated
When you are pulled towards something else
Certainly, if you feel God is freeing you to move elsewhere
Leave before you have to leave.
Don’t be forced out because you’re too stubborn, scared, or have a false sense of loyalty. You’ll do more harm to your reputation, your attitude and the organization during the miserable days.
And it may be you need a rest – a sabbatical – but the point of this post is to do the right thing – for you and the organization. Never stay for a paycheck, or a false sense of loyalty, or because you’re afraid to walk again by faith.
“Naming and shaming of sponsors of terrorism is unconstitutional but the naming and shaming of the “sponsors” of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho isn’t.”
FAROOQ KPEROGI – OCTOBER 23, 2021
On July 18, 2021, so-called bandits shot down an Alpha Jet belonging to the Nigerian Air Force on the boundary between Zamfara and Kaduna states. Then on October 7, 2021, the Wall Street Journal, whose news section is adjudged one of America’s most credible, got a scoop that the Nigerian Air Force paid N20 million to bandits to buy back “an antiaircraft gun” that the bandits had seized from the Nigerian military in a clash.
The antiaircraft gun, the paper said, “posed a threat to President Muhammadu Buhari, who had been planning to fly to his hometown….”
On October 20, 2021, the bandits, whom the Wall Street Journal says have “collaborators inside the army” and who are “better equipped with larger-capacity advanced weaponry than national security agencies,” detonated explosives on the Abuja-Kaduna rail tracks and caused the indefinite suspension of rail transportation between Abuja and Kaduna.
What has become transparently apparent in the last few months is that the plague of so-called Fulani herdsmen banditry is way deeper and more complex than we have persuaded ourselves to believe. The menace we self-deceptively and simplistically attenuate as mere “banditry” is nothing short of well-oiled, deep-rooted, well-practiced, and well-organised mercenary terrorism whose tentacles have spread to unthought-of social territories of the Nigerian society.
Early this month, I had a lengthy conversation with a well-placed Nigerian government official on a whole host of issues, including the escalating, never-ending scourge of mass abductions for ransom in vast swathes of the country. In the course of our conversation, he casually shared with me a disturbing story that, for me, strikes at the core of why terroristic banditry won’t go away anytime soon.
He was involved in negotiations for the release of abductees some months back. The multi-million-naira ransom paid to the “abductors,” he said, went through a tortuous chain of command that finally ended up with some armed, well-nourished, out-of-state individuals. In other words, although the kidnappers were bucolic Fulani, the people who finally received the ransom weren’t.
In any case, as most people know, most of the cattle that the Fulani herders rear don’t belong to them; they belong to wealthy city dwellers (and some prosperous rural folks) from all over Nigeria.
Well, the anecdote that the government official shared with me recalls a viral video of a “bandit” in one of the northwestern states swearing in Hausa that “bandits” aren’t independent actors, that they are armed and financed by well-placed people in the society who take advantage of their poverty and disaffiliation from mainstream society to recruit them.
To be clear, I am not by any means absolving Fulani herders from responsibility for kidnapping. I just want to transcend the surface on which we have dwelled for far too long.
I also connected the dots between what the government official told me and a message that trended in Nigerian social media circles in May 2019 about a woman who was threatened with abduction but given the option to pay N5 million into a bank account to avert her kidnap.
A portion of the narration is worth reproducing without authorial intervention: “She took it up. Went to the bank with some assistance from influential friends. They asked that the account be flagged…. Bank did checks. Bank said the account cannot be flagged else they will lose influential clients How so? The names attached to the account are powerful names. That the kidnap ring pays some top persons percentage from the ransome [sic] paid. She was advised to jejely goan [sic] pay her POTENTIAL KIDNAPPERS. I was speechless for over 5 minutes.”
If you think this is a made-up story, read Daily Trust’s July 28, 2021 story titled “Kidnappers in FCT Begin Collection Of Ransom Through Banks.” When a Mrs. Aminat Adewuyi was kidnapped in Niger State, the kidnappers threatened to slaughter her if her relatives didn’t deposit N5 million naira into an Access Bank account.
The amount was later scaled back. “The ransom payment slip, a copy of which was obtained by Daily Trust showed that Adewuyi’s husband paid N500,000 into an Access Bank account with number 1403762272 and the name Badawi Abba Enterprise,” the paper reported.
Also recall that late last month even the National Youth Service Corps advised youth corps members posted to abduction-prone roads like “Abuja-Kaduna, Abuja-Lokoja-Okene, or Aba-Port Harcourt” to let “family members, friends and colleagues to have someone on hand to pay off the ransom that could be demanded” in the event of their abduction. This piece of advice was frozen in a handbook distributed to corps members.
It’s easy to explain away the NYSC advice as merely an organisation being pragmatic and making peace with the ever-present reality of mass abductions in the country. But the listless capitulation to mercenary terroristic bandits by almost all segments of the Nigerian government, including security outfits, points to high-profile complicity, in my opinion.
The Daily Nigerian reported on October 21 that security agencies had intercepted communication between “a notorious bandit” and his “associate.” “The report, dated October 19, 2021 and entitled ‘PLANNED ATTACK ON TRAIN AROUND RIJANA, KADUNA STATE,’ said the terrorists were heard discussing about the planned attack by Darul Salam terrorists in concert with two bandit kingpins, Danlami and Lawan (not real names),” the news site reported.
It quoted the security report to have said, “Baffa informed Bala that members of Darussalam (Boko Haram) in collaboration with bandits led by Danlami and Lawan are currently on their way to plant a bomb at a bridge on the railway in Rijana to hijack a moving train and kidnap the passengers. Baffa said he decided not to participate in the operation because it is risky but believed that DANLAMI and LAWAN will blow up the bridge.”
Why was the report, which the paper said was “circulated across security agencies,” ignored? Was this complicity, incompetence, or indifference? I am inclined to think it’s complicity, especially in light of the Wall Street Journal’s not-surprising revelation that mercenary terrorist bandits have “collaborators inside the army.”
Here are my own extrapolations based on the facts I’ve encountered these past few months. While uneducated, pastoral, semi-nomadic Fulani herders are the public face of mass abductions for ransom in the country, they are just branches of a tree whose roots are buried deep beneath the surface. The herders are mere expendable foot soldiers of people who have privileged connections to the government and the private sector.
Peasant, seminomadic Fulani herders who have lost their cattle have historically served as an inexhaustible pool of lumpen proletariat to conscript into all kinds of conflicts. In the early 1800s, for instance, they constituted a huge percentage of Afonja’s army in his fight against the Alaafin of Oyo. In “A Little New Light: Selected Historical Writings of Professor Abdullahi Smith,” the late Abdullahi Smith wrote that Fulani pastoralists who lost their cattle to tsetse fly bites in Yoruba land and “had nothing to lose” became Afonja’s mercenaries.
The domination of abduction for ransom by Fulani pastoralists who have lost their cattle seems to me like the recrudescence of what happened in the 1800s—and at other historical epochs. Killing the abductors will do nothing to stop the problem because they are merely the branches of a tree. You don’t kill a tree by cutting off its branches because new branches will sprout in time.
You kill a tree by uprooting it. That means identifying the funders and real beneficiaries of mass abductions in the country. From the information I am privy to, they are elites who are not necessarily Fulani. They are a pan-Nigerian gang of ruthless buccaneers who are united by rapaciousness and vileness.
But instead of confronting this grave existential threat to Nigeria, Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, is obsessed with blabbering about who the “sponsors” of Sunday Igboho and Nnamdi Kanu are.
This is the same guy who refused to name and identify people who have been exposed by the United Arab Emirates as sponsors of Boko Haram terrorists because, according to him, “Naming and shaming of suspects is not embarked upon as a policy by the federal Government out of sheer respect [for] the constitutional rights of Nigerians relating to presumption of innocence.”
Naming and shaming of sponsors of terrorism is unconstitutional but the naming and shaming of the “sponsors” of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho isn’t. That is all you need to know for why mercenary terroristic banditry will endure for as long as incompetent hypocrites like Malami hold and control the levers of government.