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Killing Of Catholic Priests: Group Sends Message To Inter-religious Organisation, Slams Buhari

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Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) on Monday slammed the Federal Government and security agencies over the rising kidnapping and killing of Catholic priests who are now endangered species as they have become soft targets for suspected Fulani bandits who are growing their kidnap-for-ransom business.

HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, called on the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council to speak up loudly and condemn the persecution of Catholics in the country.

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The group said it is becoming unbecoming the slaughtering and kidnapping of Catholic priests in the country by bandits who have been identified as Fulani on numerous occasions by abducted Catholic priests freed upon the payment of ransom.

Recall that gunmen on Friday kidnapped a Catholic priest and the Deputy Registrar of Spiritan University Nneochi, Fr Chinedu Nwadike. The Imo indigene was kidnapped on Umunnochi-Ihube road by the Enugu-Okigwe road alongside a seminarian, Emmanuel Nwafor. Their abductors had since established contact with their relations and placed N50m ransom on them just as an unconfirmed report indicates that they have been released after 24 hours.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Kidnap Catholic Priest, Seminarian, Demand N50m Ransom

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Reacting, HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The recurring killings and kidnappings of Catholic priests all over the country is another loud sign of the failure of the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

“This latest kidnap-for-ransom happened at the checkpoint of Soldiers and is exactly this same nexus between these kidnappers and soldiers that emerged from the disclosure of Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria who was recently kidnapped and freed upon payment of N100 million ransom but the President did nothing to arrest the soldiers involved in these daredevil crimes of kidnap-for-ransom and this is why the Igbo youths who volunteered to protect Igboland under the auspices of the Eastern Security Network were crushed by soldiers only for soldiers to actively connive with armed Fulani herdsmen to kidnap travellers along the Lokpanta Highway along the Okigwe/Enugu Federal Highway.

“It is worrisome that despite the killing of over 12 Catholic priests in 2022 and the abduction of scores of Catholic priests all over the country, the present regime, and security agencies have left the ugly trend to continue.

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“Aside from the latest abduction of Fr Chinedu Nwadike, Rev. Fr. John Mark Chietnum of Kafanchan Diocese at the parish rectory of Christ the King Catholic Church, in Kaduna State was abducted and killed in July after bandits abduct him and other priests.

“Bandits have also kidnapped and killed the Chaplain of the Catholic community of the Kaduna State Polytechnic and chairman of the Nigerian Catholic Diocesan Priests Association, Kaduna State Chapter, Vitus Borogo.

“In March, Reverend Father Joseph Bako of the St John Catholic Church, Kudenda in the Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State was kidnapped and he died in the kidnappers’ den.

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“Rev. Fr. Alphonsus Uboh of St. Pius X Parish Ikot Abasi in the Mkpat Enin Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State was also kidnapped.

“Two reverend fathers and their domestic staff were also hijacked from the rectory of their Parish in Katsina under Sokoto Diocese which is headed by Right Reverend Doctor Mathew Hassan-Kukah who has recently come under massive verbal threats by Islamists.

“Earlier, bandits kidnapped the Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence, Samuel Kanu Uche, and he wasn’t released until he paid a ransom of N100m. In fact, he revealed the identity of his kidnappers as “Fulani herdsmen” whose “cattle were very close” to where he was kept. He also indicted the military when he said where he was kept wasn’t far from a military checkpoint.

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“Terrorists killed over 40 Catholics during a Sunday service in Owo, Ondo State, in June. Scores of others were injured in the ambush, which is one of the gruesome terrorist attacks on Catholics in the country.

READ ALSO: Tears As Slain Edo Catholic Priest Buried

“HURIWA calls on security agencies in the internal security institutions all headed by Muslims to be guided by conscience and put an end to the targeted persecution of Catholics in the country.

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“The Nigeria Inter-Religious Council must also rise to the occasion and collectively condemn the heinous action. Muslim clerics must not keep quiet but must speak out and condemn the massacre of Catholics by Fulani bandits.

“Conscience and love for humanity should be above religious sentiments. Crime is crime and should not be deodorised.

“HURIWA will today send out a petition to the Roman Catholic Pontiff Pope Francis abd World leaders for the umpteenth time to intervene to stop the persecution of Christians in Nigeria by armed Jihadists kidnappers.”

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2023: Don’t Vote For Killers, Jonathan Warns Nigerians

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Former president, Goodluck Jonathan, has warned Nigerians not to vote for those he described as “killers” during the 2023 election.

Jonathan stated this on Sunday in Uyo during a special interdenominational service to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the creation of Akwa Ibom State.

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READ ALSO: 2023: Jonathan Campaigns Against Violence

“In 2023, you must not make the mistake to vote killers.

“Those who will carry knives, guns, and all kinds of gadgets to go and kill people because of politics, are the enemies of society.

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“If you kill to become a leader, you will continue to kill to remain a leader.

“The people will continue to suffer. Make sure that from the House of Assembly to the House of Representatives to Senate to governor, you vote for the right people in Akwa Ibom State,” Jonathan said.

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$23m Abacha Loot: Group Drags Buhari, Malami To Court Over Nigeria’s Agreement With US

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sued President Muhammadu Buhari over the agreement between Nigeria and the United States for the repatriated $23 million stolen by Sani Abacha.

Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) is a respondent in the suit.

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The agreement signed in August followed the $311 million Abacha loot returned by America in 2020.

In suit FHC/ABJ/CS/1700/2022 filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP is asking the court to direct the President and Malami to make the details public.

The body wants to know the mechanisms put in place to ensure that the repatriated funds are not mismanaged, diverted or re-stolen.

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SERAP noted that the repatriated $23 million is vulnerable to mismanagement as a substantial part of the estimated $5 billion returned Abacha loot since 1999 remains unaccounted for.

READ ALSO: How The UN Aids The Powerful To Exploit Their Weak

The suit filed by Kolawole Oluwadare and Atinuke Adejuyigbe relies on the Nigerian Constitution, the Freedom of Information Act, and the country’s international obligations.

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The lawyers said Nigerians look forward to the court’s favourable judgement as they are entitled to information about the use of public funds.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit which was instituted on Friday.

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Delta Community Presents Akanigboro III To Chief Priests Of Ijaw Kingdoms’ Gods

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Heir to the traditional stool of Akanigboro, King John Falabu Court, Akanigboro III, a priestly stool of ancient Mein Dynasty, has presented himself to the chief priests of the gods in Mein kingdoms.

Akanigboro III, addressing the chief priests at Ezebiri in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State, who came from the various Mein kingdoms, including from Mein ancestral home of Ogobiri in Bayelsa State and various Mein Kingdoms in Delta State, said he sought to present himself to them to inform them of his ascension to the ancient stool after much hesitations and refusal to the wish of his ancestors.

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The meeting, which started with prayers to God in recognition of His supremacy over all creatures, featured questions, answers and advice.

Responding to questions of scrutiny from the chief priests, Akanigboro III, who went into historical lane, said: “The Akanigboro stool is a priestly stool and original kingship stool of Mein, progenitor of Mein clan, who was the first on the stool, being Akanigboro I.

“When Mein passed on, his son, Akan, ascended the stool and was Akanigboro II.

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“When Akan passed on, there was a development that stalled the ascension process of a new ruler on the stool, which situation lingered for centuries with the kingdom in disarray without a ruler.

READ ALSO: Boundary Crisis: Delta Communities Sign Peace, Security Agreement

“It was this situation that led the children of Mein to leave our ancestral home, Ogobiri, in the present-day Bayelsa State, and migrated down to the present location called Western Ijaw, where they founded communities and kingdoms. More so, it was that same development that led the heir to the stool to migrate to the present location, Kpakiama and which history is known by all Mein descendants.

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“Now, when I was growing up, I began to receive messages from the ancestors in my dreams that I’m the chosen one to ascend the Akanigboro stool, being a descendant of Ogubo, but I did not heed to the dreams.

“But, as time went on, seers from various places started telling me that I’m the chosen one to ascend the stool.

“With all these signs, I was hesitant until it got to a point I was disturbed by the ancestors which forced me to present issues, first to my family members, then to the people of Ogubo-ebede quarters who, in turn, presented me to Kpakiama urban community that I’m the chosen one and that I’m ready to ascend the stool of Akanigboro.

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“However, the leadership and people of Kpakiama urban community received the news with joy and prayers to bring alive the ancient stool of their progenitor with the assurance that they’re ready to do the needful to ensure the Akanigboro stool takes its rightful place once again.

“The essence of calling you to converge here is to formally inform you that a chosen heir has ascended the ancient stool of Akanigboro. I was supposed to visit all communities in various Mein Kingdoms to inform you, but to make it easier, I opted to call all of you to Ezebiri. More so, I have earlier visited our ancestral home, Ogobiri, before this gathering here”.

In their response, the priests of the gods in Mein kingdoms, speaking through the chief priest, Mirror of the gods, Ezebiri, Chief Godwin Oroupade, thanked him for informing them and said that the Akanigboro stool rules over only three communities in Mein Clan, stressing they had no roles to play in his priestly stool since he’s not ruling over Mein Kingdoms.

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Oroupade, who is the Eseduo of Kerebiri-Mein kingdom and Chairman, Priests of the gods in Mein kingdoms, said: “We have heard you. The Akanigboro stool is well-known but it’s not ruling over all Mein Kingdoms. “Therefore, we’ve no part to play in either confirming or accepting you.

“We, after our deliberations, have resolved to inform you that your stool is not ruling over Mein Kingdoms but it’s ruling over the children of Akan who found three communities, including Kpakiama, Bomadi and Bilabiri.

“So, we advise you to go and consult with your people, and if they accept you and your coronation is made ready, we, chief priests of the gods of Mein Kingdoms will come and celebrate with you.

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READ ALSO: Delta Ijaw Group Backs Tompolo’s Pipeline Surveillance Contract

“Again, I want to emphatically state here that no chief priest is having dominion or rulership over another in Mein Kingdoms.

“We’ve just formed an association where I’m the Chairman and I’m never a superior to any other chief priest, nobody is superior to anybody. We’re all chief priests in our various areas of abode and never a subject to anyone.

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“We threw so many questions at you because of the misinformation about this gathering, as some people alleged that we’re preparing to install you in this gathering, which is unfounded because we’re no part of the Akanigboro stool, hence, we don’t have the powers to do so.

“So, go and consult with the people of Kpakiama, Bomadi and Bilabiri on the way forward for your stool”.

However, Akanigboro III thanked them for the warm reception and advice and promised to speak with his people for the successful resuscitation of the ancient stool.
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