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Development, Integration Hampered By Religious Intolerance – ECOWAS

ECOWAS
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By Gloria Ikibah

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The economic community of west African States ECOWAS, have said that economic development and integration of the sub-region cannot be guaranteed in the absence of peace and security.

Representatives of the ECOWAS Commission in Cape Verde, Dr. Samuel Lamptey, disclosed said this on Tuesday at the opening ceremony of the Delocalised meeting of the joint Committees on Education, Science and Culture, Health, Telecommunications and Information Technology, with the theme, “Religious tolerance and harmony: Essential factors for development, peace and stability in ECOWAS region”.

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Lamptey asserted that religious intolerance poses a threat to the region’s development and integration programme.

He also noted that there is need to address the root cause of extremism and also prevent radicalisation, as he said this has become necessary if the region is to achieve its cooperation and integration agenda.

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He said, “The Ecowas Community of West African States-ECOWAS, created on May 28,1975, by the Lagos Treaty, has the mission of promoting regional cooperation and integration with a view to create an economic union in West Africa and thus contributing to improving the standard of living of their populations.

“However, the cyclical conflicts and the instability that occurred in our subregion in the 1990s, early 2000s and that continue to the present day, led to the conclusion that the desired economic prosperity, translated into the guarantee of economic growth, promotion of good relations between member states, progress and development of the African continent, cannot be achieved in the absence of peace and security in the sub-region”.

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Lamptey further explained the numerous programmes and actions put in place by the Commission to promote regional integration.

He however said, “The regional integration and economic development that we so desire are difficult to achieve in contexts of insecurity, political and governmental instability and recurrent conflicts”.

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He noted that the region is confronted with numerous challenges including proliferation of terrorists groups, criminal networks, environmental pressures, and serious governance problems.

Lamptey stated that the “sub-region led initiatives to solve our problems can generate more and better results due to a deeper understanding of local contexts”.

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According to him, the delocalised meeting is another step to ensuring the success of integration and economic development in the region.

“We as community citizens, must contribute to the promotion of dialogue, reconciliation, culture of tolerance with a view to create an integration, culture of tolerance with a view to create an integrated region within which populations can move freely, have access to education and health care, develop economic and commercial activities and live in dignity, in an environment of peace and security”.

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Head of Cape Verde delegation and Chair of ECOWAS Parliament Committee on Health, Dr. Orlando Dias, in his welcome address urged his colleagues on the need to identify the root cause of religious crisis, with the view to strengthen integration.

Dr. Dias also stressed that integration could be easy if attempts are made to prevent some of the religious conflicts in the region.

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He added that this has made it imperative for the people to understand the importance of tolerance, peace and security.

The Co-chair of the joint Committee, Hon. Aime Assie, also noted that the meeting was brought to Cape Verde to bring the parliament closer to the people and create a region without borders. The meeting was also an opportunity to have a new approach to threats to peace and security in West Africa.

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Assie who said that the parliament has a role to play to change the mentality of the people; therefore said the meeting will come up with a report that would be adopted in the next session.

He said, “The need for parliament to go close to the populations to be able to consolidate the foundation of democracy to ensure that every citizen of our community is involved in creating a region with a border prosperous and where the development of citizens is the focus. I want to say that our regions has been experienced in terrorist problem which is a big threat to its integration and its development.

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“So in this context a threat has been happening. The committee is meeting a praia and they’re going to work on an issue that is intolerant. Then religious tolerance and harmony are essential factors for development, peace and stability in the course region. So because of inter religious and ethnic issues and problems, which the population suffers and are facing.

“Preventive initiatives must be increased, to be sure that all these issues are handled that is why we have the objective of creating the platform of sharing of information containing religious leaders, traditional leaders within West Africa to look into issues of peace and reconciliation and this meeting, here is an opportunity for us to come up with a new approach to have peace within this area. We are bringing in the traditional leaders who can come up with very important issues with regards to how to bring peace at the costs”.

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Minister of Culture, Cape Verde, Filomena Mendes Goncalves, on her part said that it is impossible to talk about development without peace and dignity of the people.

“We have six sacred principles that are enshrined, meaning that all human beings are created equally, and they are created by God with very important rights and we have government to protect and defend such rights.

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“This meeting is very pertinent, in my opinion, to speak about tolerance and religious harmony as essential factors for development, peace and stability in the ECOWAS region. It is basically considered a very important theme for all of us, as seen in one factor for the sustainable development of Mother Africa.

“We cannot speak about development without peace. This means that in the absence of conflict there would be peace and peace also means self respect and to respect the differences and so we can have a healthy way of living between people. And this is based on tolerance dialogue. And religious harmony above all, this starting point for development and stability”, Goncalves stated.

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SPOTTED: Tinubu Reading 8-Month-Old Newspaper In New Photo Showing He’s Well

Tinubu
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A picture of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has sparked fresh controversy.

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There have been different rumours about the health of Tinubu, who has been away from the country before the kick off of the campaign for the 2023 elections.

On Sunday, the ruling party’s presidential candidate released a proof of life video, where he was seen on a thread mill.

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Despite the footage, critics of the APC insinuated that some things were hidden about the health condition of Tinubu.

However, in an apparent manner to clear doubt on his health condition, Tinubu released some pictures on Thursday morning.

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In one of the pictures, he was seen reading an old copy of The Nation Newspaper, which he has the largest share in.

It is unclear whether the picture was taken in January when the paper was published or in October when the Presidential Candidate has been convincing people about his health condition.

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Below are the front cover of the Paper and the picture that Tinubu put up on social media today:

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Reactions as new photos of Tinubu with grandchildren resurface on social media

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By Francesca Iwambe

Reactions have continued to trickle from Nigerians on social media over photos of presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu with his grandchildren, which surfaced on Twitter and Instagram on Thursday.

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Tinubu’s son shared photos of the APC flag bearer on his verified Instagram handle with the caption and hashtags, “ Hi Grandpa #FamilyFirst#TinubuFamily #FamilyMan #Grandpa #TakenOnSunday #Noella #BATSenior #BATJunior #Leader.”

Special assistant on digital communications to President Muhammad Buhari, Bashir Ahmad, also shared Tinubu’s photos on Twitter on Thursday.

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Ahmad tweeted, “Good morning from our presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmad Tinubu, and his grandchildren. A wonderful family person.”

Recall that Tinubu shared a video of himself cycling on a fitness bike on Sunday.

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The video, which went viral, had since elicited questions about his whereabouts.

But, the spokesperson of the APC presidential campaign council, Festus Keyamo has said cycling is a regular routine for Tinubu, adding that the former Lagos state governor was not trying to prove any point.

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Keyamo, while speaking in an interview with Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday, described Tinubu as an “avid cyclist.”

His words, “People who are close to him know that he is an avid cyclist. He does that all the time. It is his regular routine. So, we are not trying to prove anything to anybody.”

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Meanwhile, Tinubu also posted picture of himself in an office on Instagram on Thursday with a caption that simply reads, “Stay Focused.”

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NCC To Deploy Technology For Verification Of Annual Operating Levies, Tax, Among Others

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By Gloria Ikibah

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that it is going to deploy technology to verify the annual operating levies (AOL), tax and other payments by network service providers to the Federal Government.

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Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbata, disclosed this on Wednesday when he appeared before the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee to Investigate the Duplication of Functions of Agencies of the Federal Government.

He said, “We are currently going to deploy a technology solution. We call it Revenue Assurance Solution. We have finished signing the MOU with the consultant that is going to do this deployment, so that we can be independently verify that the amount of annual operating levy (AOL) they are paying and other taxes are indeed what they are supposed to pay and therefore not shortchange the NCC or government when it comes to payment of taxes”.

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He also revealed that the Commission recently did a successful fifth generation spectrum auction where more than half billion dollars was generated for the Federal Government.

He said, “We, through what we call annual operating levy, run our operations, pay our staff salaries and allowances and even provide resources for intervention in the diverse areas of information and communication technology in the various parts of the country.

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“These interventions are verifiable. There is no state of the federation that we don’t provide interventions in the diverse areas of ICT. We also provide training. We would like to ensure our citizens are ICT savvy by embracing this important technology because that is what the whole is doing. That is what we can do in order to ensure our citizens are socially and economically transformed to change the way they are doing things, the way they collaborate and innovate.

“We have records available to show that we have been contributing a lot to the coffers of the government and a very good example is when we did that successful 5G auction. The proceeds from the auction goes to the coffers of the government. We don’t normally take anything. It is gazetted that whatever we sell spectrum, we do not keep the money, we normally transfer this money to the consolidated revenue fund of the government,” he said.

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Earlier, the Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee, Rep Victor Danzaria, said research, revenue generation and service delivery are critical conditions in the consideration process for merging or crapping agencies of government.

According to him the committee had a mandate to investigate duplication of functions and counter productivity of agencies for possible merger.

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Some of the agencies under consideration were Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBS) and the Nigerian Communication Satelite.

Others are, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Galaxy Backbone, National Boundary Commission and Border Communities Development Agency among others.

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Danzaria said that it is not about having many agencies with so many Director-Generals that does not deliver the required services to Nigerians but about productivity.

“The ad hoc Committee is critically looking at these agencies, their existence and looking at possible synergies and mergers of these agencies to give effective service to Nigerians.

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“One area is research, second is revenue generation and thirdly is regulatory functions and service delivery and at the end of the day, this is what Nigerians want.

“It is not about when you go to any agency, you see this man seated there on a table and services are not being offered there,” he said.

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