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Act Fast, Nigerians Are Starving, Anglican Primate Urges Tinubu

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The Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba, has implored President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to urgently tackle the growing hunger and economic hardship facing Nigerians.

In the wake of a communiqué issued on Sunday in Abuja, after the Church’s Standing Committee meeting, Primate Ndukuba’s message was clear.

The communiqué, endorsed by key church figures including Primate Ndukuba, the Dean Most Rev. Blessing Enyindah, and the General Secretary Ven. Gershinen Paul Dajur, stressed the critical state of national affairs and called for repentance and resistance to apostasy.

The document spotlighted government plans and policy directions, the fight against corruption, judiciary concerns, the faltering economy, and the neglect of quality education.

It also condemned ongoing attacks across several states and urged the government and security forces to uphold their duty to protect citizens and their property.

The communiqué further reiterated the need for a civil and democratic constitution that truly represents the populace, ensuring no group is sidelined or oppressed.

It partly reads, “The Standing Committee meeting of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) therefore calls on the President and government to rise to the occasion of the challenging issues facing the nation:

“All corrupt public office holders and their collaborators should be brought to book and disciplined accordingly. We call on the Judiciary to do more to guarantee justice in the country.

“The Nigeria economy has been a subject of great concern due to its diverse and biting challenges. It is currently at its lowest ebb since independence with macro-economic indicators moving in discouraging directions. Monetary policies have been inconsistent, non-supportive of economic growth, ineffective and cost-push inflation has been out of control resulting in high food prices. Nigerians are hungry.

“We, therefore, call on the government to have a rethink on its penchant for external borrowing, give proper attention to fiscal policies, and diversify its economic base by harnessing our abundant natural resources.

“The Standing Committee meeting decries the constant attacks in Plateau, Zamfara, Ekiti, Ondo, Benue, parts of Imo and Anambra States and other parts of the country. It therefore calls on the government and statutory security agencies to rise to their responsibilities of protection of the lives and property of the citizenry, giving heed to the call for effective community policing.

“We note with dismay the failure of government to provide quality education for her citizenry, which has compelled Nigerians to seek admission in other countries, thus spending huge sums of money in foreign countries, thereby weakening the Nigerian economy.

“The Standing Committee renews her call for a totally civilian and democratic Constitution made by a sovereign representation of her people and not the continuous amendment of a military formulated Constitution. This will reflect the birthing of the government of the people in a new Nigeria.”

During an extensive interaction with journalists, the Archbishop Ndukuba addressed multiple pressing issues, including the purported involvement of religious organizations in sponsoring terrorism.

He called on the EFCC to operate independently and hold religious bodies accountable without generalizing.

“Religion is expected to be a source of solutions, not to add to societal issues. It’s commendable that these issues are brought to public attention, but that’s not sufficient. The EFCC should be permitted to perform its duties without interference, allowing religious organizations to be held accountable.

“We must avoid blanket judgments of all religious groups and instead focus on actions that promote national unity and progress. All citizens should have the freedom to pursue a good life.

“No reasonable religious person, whether Christian or Muslim, would support terrorism. Yet, the depth of our problems is revealed when identities are weaponized, leading to societal collapse. Those responsible must be held accountable.,” he stated.

On the potential Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) strike, the Primate advocated for dialogue over conflict and suggested governmental measures to meet national requirements, potentially including a cabinet reshuffle.

While highlighting the injustice of silencing public expression, he said, “Nigeria is a free country, and people should have the right to express themselves. I hope that the government will implement policies that address the nation’s needs, even if it requires a cabinet reshuffle. The people are hungry, and a hungry man is an angry man. It’s unjust to silence their expressions.

“The government and the NLC leaders should pursue negotiation instead of confrontation. The release of those arrested during protests would serve to calm public anger, as selective justice is detrimental.

“Our nation’s problem is not with its ordinary citizens, who ask only for food security and basic infrastructure. Nigerians are not lazy; they are hardworking and deserve the opportunity to provide for their families.”

The Primate also dismissed the idea of moving the capital from Abuja to Lagos, instead advocating for the development of new cities across the six geopolitical zones to reduce congestion and promote balanced development.

Drawing on China’s strategy of constructing new cities, he said, “Abuja was chosen as the Federal Capital Territory for valid reasons, and we must ensure justice for its indigenous people to prevent further agitation. Lagos is already overburdened, and building new cities, like China’s approach, could be a solution for Nigeria’s growing population and economic needs.

“It’s crucial that we work together to harness Nigeria’s human and material resources for the benefit of all. If we can learn from the example of China, which is actively building new cities and industrial centers to accommodate its development, why can’t we do the same?

“With God’s blessings, we have what it takes to establish new satellite cities across the six geopolitical zones. If we could construct one additional city in the North and another in the South, we would alleviate the congestion in both Abuja and Lagos, giving rise to growth and equal opportunities for everyone who settles there.

“These new cities would also aid in our national development. With Nigeria projected to be one of the most populous nations by 2050, we must have robust plans to address the deficits in infrastructure, housing, and employment.”

He emphasized the importance of strategic, long-term planning for Nigeria’s future sustainability and growth.

“Investing in the creation of new urban areas is not just about expansion; it’s about strategic development that can provide a sustainable future for the growing population. It’s about creating a legacy of balanced, equitable growth that embraces all regions and communities.

“In essence, we must commit to long-term, strategic planning that places the wellbeing of all Nigerians at the forefront. By doing so, we can ensure that Nigeria not only meets the challenges of today but also builds a foundation strong enough to support the generations of tomorrow.

“The path ahead is not easy, and it will require sacrifice, unity, and unwavering commitment from all sectors of society—government officials, religious leaders, and citizens. Together, we can forge a path toward a prosperous and equitable Nigeria,” the Primate added.

Archbishop Ndukuba encouraged Nigerians to invest in agriculture and urged the political elite to ensure equitable distribution of national wealth.

He also highlighted the importance of the rule of law in promoting national virtues of faith, love, and progress.

“Nigeria may struggle with these issues in the future, particularly when ‘sacred cows’ exist—people who believe they own the nation and can operate above the law, be they politicians, community leaders, traditional rulers, or religious figures. I am convinced that adherence to the rule of law is essential to safeguard society,” he concluded.

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Economic downturn: We’ll not abandon Nigeria, Says ExxonMobil

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

The Managing Director, ExxonMobil Nigeria, Shane Harris, has declared that the oil major is not leaving Nigeria as claimed in some quarters, particularly after the oil firm’s proposed divestment of a 100 per cent interest in Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited to Seplat Energy Offshore Limited.

Harris, who disclosed this at a meeting with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, in Abuja, stated that ExxonMobil is currently carrying out new investments in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.

The Special Assistant on Media and Communications to the petroleum minister, Nneamaka Okafor, disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday.

“During the meeting, Mr Harris hinted at significant new investments that ExxonMobil is injecting into Nigeria’s energy sector.

“He expressed confidence in the renewed relationship between ExxonMobil and the Nigerian government, assuring the government that the oil giant is not planning to leave Nigeria,” the statement read.

It further quoted the ExxonMobil boss as saying, “We are excited about the prospects these new investments bring. Our partnership with the Nigerian government is crucial for sustainable growth, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration as we have no plan to leave.

On his part, Lokpobiri reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to enhancing production and fostering a conducive environment for investors in the energy sector.

He highlighted the ministry’s focus on creating collaborations and sharing innovative ideas with international oil companies, stating that “we are dedicated to ramping up production and ensuring a supportive environment for all investors by doing everything possible to maintain investor confidence in our country.”

Lokpobiri commended the ExxonMobil team for their commitment in the Nigerian oil and gas sector, noting that it aligned perfectly with the nation’s objectives.

“ExxonMobil’s planned investments are commendable and greatly appreciated. This renewed relationship is a testament to the mutual goals we share for the future of our energy sector,” the minister stated.

The statement added that the discussions by both parties also touched on the ministry’s support for international and independent oil operators.

Lokpobiri assured Harris of the government’s support, emphasising the importance of creating a thriving environment for all stakeholders.

We fully support ExxonMobil and other lOCs, just as we do with independent operators. Our collaborative efforts are key to the sustainable growth of our energy sector,” he stated.

On May 31, 2024, The reported that Nigeria might add 480,000 barrels to its daily crude oil output as the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and ExxonMobil took a step towards resolving the disagreement surrounding the sale of the latter’s asset to Seplat Energy.

The report stated that NNPC confirmed it had signed a settlement agreement with ExxonMobil companies in Nigeria over the proposed divestment of a 100 per cent interest in Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited to Seplat Energy Offshore Limited.

This was after President Bola Tinubu announced his intervention in the debacle between NNPC and ExxonMobil hindering the sale of the assets to Seplat.

Lokpobiri said recently that Nigeria had lost about $30bn in the past two and a half years as a result of the unsuccessful divestment.

The minister expressed concerns that Nigeria was losing about 480,000 barrels of crude oil per day due to the Seplat/ExxonMobil crisis.

He said the asset was producing about 600,000bpd until the crisis began in 2022, saying the nation was losing millions of dollars daily.

The reported earlier that ExxonMobil and Seplat Energy had in 2022 announced a $1.6bn sales agreement deal that would see Seplat purchase ExxonMobil’s complete shares in the NNPC.

However, just when all hopes were high for the completion of the deal, a letter dated May 16, 2022, by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission to ExxonMobil, stated that the deal could no longer hold because NNPC had exercised its right of pre-emption first refusal on the assets.

Right of pre-emption is a legal right to parties in a joint venture to be the first to be considered for any planned sale or takeover of assets in the JVs if either party chooses to trade them off.

According to reports, NNPC objected to the sale of ExxonMobil’s equity to Seplat and insisted on exercising its first refusal right after which the company reportedly made an offer above $1.6bn to ExxonMobil

But after about two years of litigation, there seems to be an end in sight to the crisis.

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Another good Nigerian pilgrim returns lost €1,750 pounds in Hajj

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

Another good Nigerian pilgrim, Muhammad Na’Allah from Gumi Local Government Area of Zamfara state has returned the sum of €1,750 (One thousand seven hundred and fifty euros) which he found at the Haram in Makkah to the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) for onward delivery to the owner

Gumi, was accompanied to the Hajj Commission office in Ummuljud, Makkah by officials of the Zamfara State Pilgrims Welfare Board.

Receiving the Money, the Chairman/CEO of NAHCON, Malam Jalal Ahmad Arabi praised the Pilgrim, saying the gesture symbolizes the name of the Pilgrim “Na’Allah” which demonstrated the Pilgrim’s closeness to Allah.

“This shows his pilgrimage has positively impacted his personal character, behavior and attitude,” he said.

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NIN: World Bank Disburses $45.5m For Nigeria’s ID4D Project

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

The World Bank said it has disbursed a total of $45.5m to the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) under the Digital Identification for Development (ID4D) project.

According to the ‘Nigeria Digital Identification for Development Project’ report published by the bank on its website, the project is aimed at enrolling more Nigerians for the National Identification Number (NIN).

According to the apex bank, Nigeria was able to secure the funding with the passing into law of the Nigerian Protection Act in June last year.

The fund was disbursed in multiple tranches between December 2021 and April 2024 and disbursement is still ongoing.

The $45m so far released represents about 10.5 per cent of the total project’s cost, which is put at $430m.

While the June 1, 2024 deadline set for the enrollment of 148 million Nigerians for the NIN has passed and Nigeria is still lagging, the Bank described the progress of the project so far as ‘moderately satisfactory’. NIMC recently disclosed that 107.3 million NIN had been issued as of April this year.

The release of funds for the project which comprises a combination of loans and grants, was predicated on the institutionalisation of data protection.

The development comes on the hills of a recent warning by the NIMC to Nigerians, against the activities of some unauthorised websites harvesting people’s data

The websites are idfinder.com.ng, Verify.ng, championtech.com.ng, trustyonline.com, and anyverify.com.

On June 20, Paradigm Initiative, a pan-African social enterprise, raised alarm over its discovery of the sale of NINs, bank verification numbers (BVNs), and other personal data of Nigerians on a website for as low as N100.

According to the organisation, a website known as ‘AnyVerify.com.ng’ was discovered to be involved in the commercial distribution of personal and private data of Nigerians.

Paradigm Initiative added that several unauthorised websites are claiming to hold and provide access to sensitive personal and financial data of Nigerian citizens “for as little as 100 Naira”.

“This alarming development presents a major breach of the fundamental rights to privacy, a breach of data privacy rights, and poses significant risks to individuals and the national economy,” the firm said.

Reacting to the report, the commission said AnyVerify.com.ng and other aforementioned websites, are data harvesters and unauthorised to access or manage sensitive data.

The agency also denied the exposure of sensitive data of Nigerians “as alleged and reported”.

“The commission, at this moment, assures the public that the data of Nigerians has not been compromised, and the Commission have not authorised any website or entity to sell or misuse the National Identification Number (NIN) amongst all the identities stated in the report,” NIMC said.

“NIMC urges the public to disregard any claims or services these websites offer and should not give their data as they are potentially fraudulent and data provided by the public on such websites are gathered and stored to build the data services they illegally provide.

“Consequently, the public should know that the commission has taken robust measures to safeguard the nation’s database from cyber threats- a secure, world-class, full-proof database is in place.

“The commission’s infrastructure meets the stringent ISO 27001:2013 information security management system standard, with annual recertification and strict compliance with the Nigerian Data Protection Law.”

NIMC also advised Nigerians to avoid giving their data to unauthorised and phishing sites, stressing that licensed partners or vendors are not authorised to scan or store NIN slips but to verify them through approved channels.

“This poses the danger of data harvesting and comprises individual data,” the commission added.

“The Commission reaffirms its commitment to upholding ethical standards in data protection in line with federal government directives and data privacy regulations.

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