How religion divides and under-develops Africa by Reno

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Reno Omokri
Reno Omokri

By Reno Omokri

Yesterday, I saw Nigerian Shiites demonstrating against the United States and President Donald Trump, and I groaned in my spirit. When will Africans become themselves and stop being remote controlled by foreign interests?

Most Africans think they chose their religions. Not true. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of Africans had their religions handed down to them by Europeans or Arabs. How do I mean?

Let us take Nigeria as a case study. Most Nigerians are either Christian, Muslims, or Catholics. Many of them will even die to defend their faiths. But how did they get these faiths?

Most Muslims in Northern Nigerian were born into Islam. Most Nigerian Muslims did not make a conscious decision to become Muslims. They just found themselves as Muslims and accepted it. But the historical fact is that most of their ancestors were CONQUERED into Islam, either by the Usman Dan Fodio jihad of 1804, or by the Kanem Bornu empire (one of the oldest empires on Earth), or by Arabs during the the Tran Saharan Slave Trade. This is a historical fact and I do not mean to upset my beloved Muslim followers.

At first they resisted. Then they were conquered. They were FORCED to accept Islam. Those who refused were killed, and the survivors, fearing a similar fate, accepted the new religion. Then they had children who knew nothing but Islam, and the rest is history.

Nigeria was colonised by Britain. Britain is OFFICIALLY a very staunch Protestant nation, with the Church of England (Anglican Church) as the OFFICIAL state church. Have Nigerians ever wondered why the British allowed Catholicism to flourish in Nigeria even when it was suppressed in Britain for centuries? Or why they did not allow Christian Missionaries into the North?

Other than the Binis and Itsekiri, who voluntarily accepted Catholicism in the 15th Century due to their trade with the Portuguese, Catholicism only gained ground in Nigeria, and especially amongst the Igbos of the East of Nigeria, in the 19th Century.

The British had a colonial policy of Divide and Rule. They did not allow Christian missionaries into Nigeria for love of Christianity or God, or Africans. It was a deliberate colonial policy to sow discord and division in Nigeria and their other colonial territories all over the world, and to keep nations, like Nigeria, ever subservient to Europe as a supplier of raw materials and human labour in times of war (Nigerians in their thousands fought for the British in both World Wars and were often used almost as cannon fodder) and in times of peace (Nigerians are a backbone of the health sector in both the UK and US. 77% of all Black doctors in America are Nigerian).

The British decided that Anglicanism snd other forms of Protestantism should thrive amongst the Yoruba and that Catholicism should thrive amongst the Igbo, and they refused to let Christian missionaries proselytise in the North to keep it Muslim, so that both the South and the North would be perpetually divided and check each other, and will never be able to unite against the colonialists.

Every missionary that came to Nigeria was licensed by the British. The Catholicism you see in Igboland today is the fruit of four Catholic missionaries who arrived Onitsha in 1885, as part of the Holy Ghost Fathers, led by a certain Reverend Father Lutz. In fact, the house where they first stayed was owned by the Royal Niger Company (which influenced the formation of the colonial Nigerian government, and even provided personnel for them. Lord Lugard was a staff of the Royal Niger Company).

Meanwhile, as they were promoting Catholicism in Eastern Nigeria, the British were promoting Protestantism in Western Nigeria, where Henry Townsend planted the first church in Badagry, in 1842. When the British rescued Samuel Ajayi Crowther from Fulani and Portuguese slavers, he was handed over to the Church Missionary Society (the proselytising mission of the Anglican Church), who educated him, and used him to extend Anglicanism amongst the Edekiri people. Ajayi Crowther eventually changed their name to Yoruba (a bastardisation of the Fulani word Yaribansa), because the British wanted a common identity for all Edekiri people.

That is how we come to have a Nigeria dominated by Muslims in the North, Anglicans and other Protestants in the West, and Catholicism in the East. It was not by chance. It was not by the choice of Nigerians. To the largest extent, with only very few exception, it is by design of external powers.

I urge Africans to think about their religions. Do not just accept your religion because of the accident of your birth. Your eternal soul is too valuable to be left to chance.

I use myself as an example. I was born to a Catholic mother and an Anglican father. While my mother schooled in Europe, I was anglicised by the rest of the family who were Anglican.

I remained an Anglican until I went to university. Free at last from my parents, I at first became a campus evangelist at the University of Benin in 1990 at the age of 16, until I left for another university and became an atheist at age 18, and began reading The Bible, and the Quran in other to know the true God.

May God bless my parents, they did not interfere. They did not force me to go to church. They left me to choose.

For one whole year, I did not believe in God, until after reading Scripture, the Quran and Dr. Yongi Cho’s (now David Yongi Cho) book, the Fourth Dimension, I found God by myself. Alone. Without the help of Arabs, or Europeans, or my parents. That is why today, NOTHING can shake my faith. I was not born as a Christ follower. I was CONVINCED into following Christ by Scripture and a personal experience with God and I was ordained as a pastor on January 15, 2012.

If all Africans can free their minds and choose their religion by themselves, Africans will stop being divided and fighting each other on the basis of religion and region, and we will no longer by the patsies of European and Arab nations, and Africa will be truly free to become the greatest continent on Planet Earth.

Reno Omokri

Gospeller. Deep Thinker. #1 Bestselling author of Facts Versus Fiction: The True Story of the Jonathan Years. Avid traveller. Hollywood Magazine Film Festival Humanitarian of the Year, 2019.

The post How religion divides and under-develops Africa by Reno appeared first on Vanguard News.

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DSS arrests man ‘who created’ video of Buhari’s fake wedding to minister

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The Department of State Services (DSS) has arrested Kabiru Mohammed, a Kano state indigene, for allegedly creating and sharing fake videos depicting a wedding ceremony between President Muhammadu Buhari and Sadiya Farouq, minister of humanitarian affairs and social development.
Mohammed, 32, had reportedly released the video which sparked frenzy across the nation in October.
Peter Afunanya, DSS spokesman, on Friday, confirmed the arrest of the suspect, saying he is at the DSS headquarters.
He said an investigation was launched, following a formal complaint to the service by Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, whom the video also showed as getting married to the president .

“Last year, 2019 between August and October there was a defamatory video that circulated widely across Nigeria and showing false engagement of Mr President in marriage with some members of his cabinet. One was the minister for finance, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed and another was that of the minister for minister of humanitarian affairs and social development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq.” Afunanya said.
“On the 11th of October, 2019 the honourable minister for finance, brought a formal complaint to the service in which she stated that the video had cost her big embarrassment and asked that an investigation be opened into that audio/video and the materials associated with it, the infographics and all the materials that were in circulation at the moment. She asked that a detailed investigation be opened in that regard with a view to identifying the persons or groups of persons that may have been behind the circulation of such defamatory materials.
“The service went into investigation and we can announce that it had apprehended the person that is involved and the person who started this and who circulated the materials. His name is Kabiru Mohammed. He hails from Kano. He is 32 years. He holds a diploma in Hausa and Fulfulde from the federal college of education, Kano and also holds a diploma in mass communication from Aminu Kano Islamic school, according to him.
Afunanya warned members of the public to avoid circulating misleading information, highlighting the negative effects of fake news.
“We want to use this opportunity to once again please ask Nigerians as always that the spread of false news through social media does not do well for any person. You may enjoy the spread of such falsehood when you are not the victim. But if you become the victim, you will know the pain. And we want to urge every citizen and residents and of course Nigerians, that anywhere they are, they should desist from spreading falsehoods, misrepresentations, rumours against one another, against then government, and against institutions of government,” he said.
“By the time you click that button and you spread or participate in sharing news that is not true, you are helping in causing disharmony, you are helping in bringing problem in the country. And you are also feeding on differences in the country to bring about chaos, anarchy and instability. On our part we would continue to perform our duties and responsibilities without let or fear and will always collaborate with all stakeholders particularly the media and strategic partners to make sure there is lasting peace in the country.”

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Muslims attend church service in Kaduna to celebrate Christmas – TODAY

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Pastor Yohanna Buru, the General Overseer of Christ Evangelical and Life Intercessory Ministry Sabon Tasha-Kaduna, on Wednesday expressed delight at the large turnout of Muslims to celebrate Christmas with Christians in Kaduna.

Buru said: “I am so delighted that a large number Muslims that came to celebrate this year’s Christmas morning service with us.

“This will boost interfaith activities, promote religious tolerance and better understanding among different faith based organizations in the state and the northern region,” Buru said in an interview with reporters.

Buru expressed gratitude to what he described as “astonishing turn out of Muslim youth including their scholars at the church for Christmas service with such a large numbers of women Muslims and children, youth to promote peace and unity.

“The number of Muslims coming to attend Christmas service with us is increasing year-by-year as a result of better understanding and religious tolerance.”

Buru said : “it was really unbelievable to have such a large numbers of Muslims youth, top Islamic scholars, traditional title holders and various associations of peace promoting organizations from the 19 northern states to join us in this prayers, this is a clear fact that Nigerians can really be their brothers keepers.”

Earlier in his Sermon, Buru stressed the importance of promoting peaceful coexistence amongst different faith in Africa so as to strengthen peace and harmony.

He added that: “we must remember that we are from one family, because Adams and Eve were our original Biological parents. We all have that in our holy scriptures, the Bible and Qur’an.

“And we also believe in paradise and hell fire, therefore, we must be our brothers keepers, to live in peace and harmony.

“We are using the Christmas season to unite Muslims and Christians and to promote better understanding among different faith based organizations.

“I’m pleading with Muslims and Christians across the globe to use the season in promoting peace and unity and to forgive one another, so as to live in peace.

“Annually, hundreds of muslims usually come from parts of northern Nigeria to join us in christmas celebration.

“We are happy that large number of muslims from various places have again come and joined us in celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.”

Responding on behalf of the muslim delegation from Funtua, Katsina state, Mallam Murtala Marafa, said ” we are really happy to be in your midst today because we came with other muslims from Kano, Sotoko and Zamfara to join in celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ,

“All muslims all over the world believe in Jesus Christ. We donated our offering like other Christians to promote peace and unity.

“It’s a season of peace and unity, so we are here to spread the message of peace and unity in the country,” he said.

Marafa said” we are Nigerians and we must join hands toward making this country great and as muslims, we must promote peace and unity, we must join hands toward making Nigeria a better place.

“Nigeria is a great country, lets join hands in praying for peace and unity for our country to prosper,” Marafa added.

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Church collapse: Synagogue closes Defence case

Defendants in the Synagogue Church of All Nations( SCOAN) collapsed building trial on Thursday closed their case in the matter

This was after the cross examination of their last witness by the prosecution at a Lagos high court sitting at Igbosere.

During resumed proceedings, the court heard that the mode of collapse of SCOAN Guest House negated the characteristics of collapsed building with structural defects.

Professor of structural engineering, Patrick Nwankwo stated this while being crossed examined by the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution, Mr Yhaqub Oshoala.

Nwankwo, a Professor of Structural Engineering and Construction, an expert witness brought in at the instance of Engr Oladele Ogundeji who is facing trial for the collapsed building before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo.

“Any defective building whether emanating from under or over reinforcement, poor constructional materials among others will have a ductile type of collapse.

“That of Synagogue Guest House was too catastrophic and such could only have been caused by an external factor”.

Asked by counsel to first defendant, Olalekan Ojo (SAN) what he meant by “the type of collapse”, the professor of structural engineering clarified: “if defective or substandard materials were used, the mode of collapse would be ductile and gradual”.

He shared in the views of the prosecution that a building with defective structural and substandard materials could lead to collapse.

He however maintained: “different mode of types of collapse is dependent on types of materials used.

“The characteristics of a building coming down on itself are different. If it is structural defect or use of defective materials, the mode of collapse will be ductile and gradual.

“This is not the case with the collapsed Synagogue church guest house. This building has about 12 frames. The frames, beams, columns would not all have collapsed at the same time. It can only happen by some external forces,” he said.

While further responding to questions from the DPP, Professor Nwankwo said he was motivated to conduct investigation on the collapsed Synagogue church building by its unusual mode of collapse and professional and academic concern.

“Engr Ogundeji is a known competent professional colleague whom I have known over time,” he stressed.

Nwankwo, who said he conducted the investigation by visiting the place, asking questions, examining the various investigations already carried out and the technical drawings on the building stated that his reports submitted to the court was thorough in the integrity of the profession”.

The professor of structural engineering said he was not involved in the previous enquiries by Corona Inquest on the collapsed Synagogue church building.

Nwankwo, who is also a Master in Orion design Software operation, said what was earlier interpreted from the Orion output was completely wrong because “there’s usually a print out of whatever is rejected by Orion software which was not the case here.

“I used the same 750mm by 225mm and it was not rejected by same Orion design Software as can be seen evidentially in my report.”

Earlier in the cross examination by defence counsels, Mr Oluseye Diyan, Chief Efe Akpofure SAN and Mrs Titi Akinlawon SAN, Nwankwo stated that there were appropriate international standard codes guiding construction industry and he had examined the collapsed Synagogue church building’s structural elements, its design and construction works meeting all the required appropriate codes.

Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo adjourned the case to January 24, 2020.

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Collapses: The Venice Biennale and the End of History | Art Practical

Collapses: The Venice Biennale and the End of History

The 2019 Venice Biennale feels like the end of everything: the end of art tourism, the end of vacations, the end of the beach and the climate of pleasure. With bad news about the climate crisis worsening every day, the nationalistic turn of governments from the U.S. to Britain to Italy to India and Brazil, it’s unclear whether the liberal ideology that produces world-scale cultural events like the Biennale can hold much longer, or whether the economic or ecological structures of global tourism can continue to support it. The liberal democratic order of free markets and free will is undermined around the globe by violent nationalism and economic protectionism. The Biennale exhibition, May You Live in Interesting Times, offers little but a hollow scream in opposition. The whole thing feels a bit like buyer’s remorse, a magnum opus from a lapsed believer in Francis Fukuyama’s promise that we’d reached the End of History.1

Arthur Jafa

Joint Italy-EU military vessel with helicopter, Piraeus Port, Greece, August 2019. Photo: Anuradha Vikram

Both the main exhibitions and the various national pavilions feature more women and artists of color this year than any previous. Diversity is manifest with respect to types of work, interests, materials, biographies, and ages of the artists on view. Curator Ralph Rugoff states that “[the artists’] work grows out of a practice of entertaining multiple perspectives: of holding in mind seemingly contradictory notions, and juggling diverse ways of making sense of the world.”2 Diversity and multiplicity appear here to be set up as counternarratives to universalism, the ideology that has historically governed the international contemporary art discourse. But is this in fact the case? Fukuyama says, “The spectacular abundance of advanced liberal economies and the infinitely diverse consumer culture made possible by them seem to both foster and preserve liberalism in the political sphere.” If, as Fukuyama suggests, there are  “fundamental ‘contradictions’ of human life that cannot be resolved in the context of modern liberalism, that would be resolvable by an alternative political-economic structure,”3 diversity is not one of those contradictions. Rather, pluralism reinforces the “common ideological heritage of mankind,”4 while fascism’s resurgence around the globe and the popular embrace of nationalist identity are more of a contradiction in light of the realities of international markets. This is the turn of events that market utopians like Fukuyama failed to anticipate.

Rugoff never comes off as a utopian, given his pervasive air of weary detachment. Rather, the exhibition transmits how it feels to watch the ascent of Donald Trump and the unfolding catastrophe of Brexit from the “all-knowing,” cool remove of the contemporary art insider—omniscient, yet impotent, and unable to divest from toxic habits. George Condo, Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, Christian Marclay, and Arthur Jafa channel an anxiety bordering on panic. Construction, shipping, air travel, commerce, monuments, the body, gender—all once fixed as concepts in the Western imagination, with clearly associated positive values, are now invoked by artists such as Yin Xiuzhen, Nicole Eisenman, Slavs and Tatars, and Martine Gutierrez as hazardous, unstable, and volatile. Nowhere is this instability more evident than in the work of Mari Katayama, a Japanese artist whose self-portraiture tableaus tease the boundary between agency and objectification. These artists, more than the comparably straightforward representation advanced by artists like Zanele Muholi, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, or Gauri Gill, capture the zeitgeist of not just the show but the present time. Our historical moment is monumentally catastrophic, and the usual serious response to extremism doesn’t seem to be working. Instead, the images range from abject to absurd.

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Indios antropófagos: A Butterfly Garden in the (Urban) Jungle. Peru Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2019. Photo: Anuradha Vikram

Especially relevant are the artists who toy with the fetishization of Indigenous bodies and cultures for Western consumption. Within the main exhibition curated by Rugoff, Gutierrez situates her U.S.-born Latinx, trans body within a series of photographic landscapes, Body in Thrall, that challenge touristic notions of indigeneity, cultural authenticity, and romanticized poverty around non-white people. She occupies diverse personas, from a film noir femme fatale to the terrifying Aztec deity Tlazolteotl, “Eater of Filth,” always negotiating the high fashion aesthetics of desire with a subversive decolonial aggression. Similar themes and tactics appear in Indios antropófagos in the Peruvian Pavilion, curated by Gustavo Buntinx, in which historical artifacts from the Spanish colonial era and large mosaic tile works by Christian Bendayán depicting frolicking Indigenous youth come together in a scathing critique of cultural tourism. In the French Pavilion, curated by Martha Kirszenbaum, artist Laure Prouvost references the oceans and the sea life projected to die out by 2048, only 29 years into the future, with a number of glass animals seemingly cast into the sea floor, strewn across a landscape of refuse and discarded technologies.

Back in the real world, there’s no way to excise or sequester the beautiful parts into a future that can outlast the very real catastrophes happening now. The overwhelmingly urgent need for a complete lifestyle change played in my head over the week following my visit to the Biennale, as I recuperated from a difficult personal and professional year on a seven-day Greek Islands cruise with my young children, partner, and parents. Looking over the waters where thousands of migrants have drowned, from the top deck of a massive, yet outdated, luxury vessel, I considered how the looming climate crisis creates a condition of simultaneous enjoyment of the modern world that is all around us, and a mourning for its obvious and inevitable loss. Is this the end of curating? The traditional role of the curator as guardian of the world’s collected treasures seems as irrelevant as the contemporary job of mounting resource-heavy exhibitions for an international crowd of jet-setters. Conceptualism has begun to rot from the head, as when Rugoff controversially chose to include Christoph Büchel’s installation of a salvaged boat that, in 2015, sank in the Mediterranean with more than 800 people aboard. I reflected on this watery tomb, recommissioned as a tourist attraction, while looking out across Piraeus port. In the distance, a military troop (jointly operated by Italy and the European Union) performed exercises atop a warship in a city where anti-immigrant attacks are on the rise. In the seventeenth century, the Venetians gained and lost control of Athens in a rivalry with the Ottomans. Today, it seems the EU’s primary objective in the Mediterranean is to sever thousands of years of interconnection between these three regions. Two years ago, the regenerative promise of art as a universal cultural good was undermined when documenta 14 recreated the financial dynamics of German austerity policies in Athens, Greece afresh. Debts went unpaid, workers uncompensated, all in the name of “fiscal responsibility” that nearly shuttered the sixty-year-old event for good. What better outcome ought we to expect this year from an art event born out of universal nationalism?

Christine Wertheim

Halil Altindere, Space Refugee, 2016. May You Live in Interesting Times, Venice Biennale 2019. Photo: Anuradha Vikram

An explicitly utopian impulse is fugitive in May You Live in Interesting Times, but it manifests in the intersection of art, science, and technology. Margaret and Christine Wertheim’s Crochet Coral Reef raises awareness about preservation of the oceans through a crowdsourcing practice that combines mathematical learning with environmentalism and craft. Tavares Strachan’s meditation on African American astronaut Robert Henry Lawrence, Jr., locates metaphysical discourse about the afterlife within a scientific conversation about space travel—where elsewhere Halil Altindere complicates this view with the tale of Syrian cosmonaut Muhammed Ahmed Faris and his persecution by the state. Ryoji Ikeda bathes us in cleansing white light and describes a massive, thunderous universe of data that takes breathtaking shape before our eyes. Hito Steyerl’s This is the Future is a post-internet pastorale in which computer vision is applied to the Venetian landscape to depict a state of perpetual, dreamlike futurity in which the present persistently refuses to resolve into view. The protagonist of Steyerl’s installation seeks out a garden that she had previously hidden in the future in order to protect it from the ravages of the present.

The song of the Lithuanian Pavilion Sun & Sea (Marina) still rings in my ears:

“When my body dies, I will remain,
In an empty planet without birds, animals and corals.
Yet with the press of a single button,
I will remake this world again”

The finale of Sun & Sea (Marina) details the 3D printing of facsimiles of species in widespread collapse, taking comfort in their simulated resurrection as one would in the cold rays of a dying sun.

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Sun & Sea (Marina), Lithuanian Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2019. Photo: Anuradha Vikram

The gentle tenor of the apocalyptic visions in Sun & Sea (Marina) perfectly encapsulates the feeling of living at the outside edge of the story of the human species on planet Earth, with the knowledge that history as we know it may well be about to end because our species is one of millions undergoing collapse. The emptiness of our endeavors is invoked by Shilpa Gupta, whose wildly swinging metal gate hammers an effigy of national borders into a gallery wall. Otobong Nkanga’s drawings in acrylic on crayon reference the mechanical, industrialized nature of exploitation in the 21st century. Unlike the bees, whose society is organized around abundance, we humans have engineered systems to maximize our suffering. If humankind can truly lay claim to a common ideological heritage, as Fukuyama once argued, we have only ourselves to blame for our impending end.

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Senate: Why we can’t initiate death penalty bill for treasury looters – TODAY

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The Senate has explained the reasons why it is impossible to initiate a bill that prescribes death penalty for looters.

This is coming after some Nigerians and groups called for a bill that prescribes death penalty for treasury looters instead of the lawmakers devoting time to social media and hate speech bills.

The spokesperson for the Senate, Godiya Akwashiki, explained that death penalty for looters is impossible because the Senate President cannot direct any senator to produce a bill.

Akwashiki, however, challenged the executive arm of government, groups or individuals to initiate bills that prescribe the death penalty for treasury looters and see if the upper chamber would not push them through.

“It is not possible for the Senate President to direct any senator to go and produce a particular type of bill. All of us are elected to represent our constituency from various parts of the country,” he told newsmen.

The Senate spokesperson also said different punishments were already prescribed against corruption in the acts that established the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, as well as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

“We have the ICPC Act and the EFCC Act and there are punishments there for offenders. I want to believe we are going gradually. However, any bill that would criminalise looting is a good proposal that the Senate could consider,” he said.

He also described as untrue insinuations that senators, particularly former governors and ministers in the red chamber, would reject such legislation in order to protect themselves.

He said, “We started a serious fight against corruption a few years ago when President Muhammadu Buhari got into office.

“The issue of a bill against corruption and looters in the Senate is a constitutional right of every senator, the executive arm of government, groups or private individuals.

“Anybody in the country is free to propose a bill through any senator. If you have such a proposal, get in touch with your senator, sit down with him and convince him why you want that type of law to be enacted.”

Stressing that the red chamber would support any bill that criminalises corruption, Akwashiki said, “This country belongs to all of us. Every person in this country has the right to present their opinion in terms of enacting an Act for the benefit of the people.

“When the Senate discovers there are many people requesting a particular bill, one day, one senator will just wake up and initiate a proposal and present it before his colleagues.”

He also said not all former governors or former ministers in the red chamber were corrupt.

He said, “We have 109 senators. How many are former governors or ministers?

“Are you saying we could get 60 senators who are either former governors or ministers?

“Senate is a place where everybody is free to express their opinions, according to the wishes of the people who elected them.

“The Senate chamber is higher than any former governor or minister.”

Meanwhile, the Senate spokesperson said the red chamber had yet to discuss the issue of the death penalty in the hate speech bill because the proposal still remained the personal property of the sponsor until it passed second reading.

He said, “The issue of expunging the death penalty from the hate speech bill is not the decision of the Senate yet. There is a process of enacting an Act. The bill will pass first, second and third readings.

“The hate speech bill has just been mentioned for the first time. It has not come up for a second reading. It is when it is introduced for the second time that the senators will for the first time voice out for or against the bill.

“For now, the sponsor has said he will expunge the clause that prescribes the death penalty for hate speech; that is his own personal opinion.

“I have said it times without number that the hate speech bill is a private member bill. When we get to its second reading, that is when Nigerians will know the position of the Senate on the bill. If the bill does not pass second reading, that will be its end.

“The senators may even decide to remove other clauses apart from the death penalty provision.”

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Hate Speech Bill: Death penalty will be amended to respect Nigerians’ wishes – Senator Abdullahi – TODAY

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Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, has said the death penalty proposed for anyone found culpable of hate speech that leads to the death of another, will be amended by the Senate when the bill is subjected to legislative input by the National Assembly.

Abdullahi made this known in a statement in Abuja on Sunday.

He said the bill will undergo some fine-tuning to ensure that the clauses contained in its provisions to be passed into law reflect the views of Nigerians.

He added that the Senate welcomes contributions and inputs by critics and supporters of the bill, as these would go a long way towards giving Nigerians the much awaited law to address the disturbing trend of hate speech.

Hate speech, according to him, has led to the death of many and is a major factor behind depression and suicide in Nigeria.

Abdullahi said: “We have followed closely arguments for and against the hate speech bill, and seen the reason why some kicked against it.

“Given the high respect which we have for Nigerians, we will make amendment to the death penalty aspect that most Nigerians objected to, so that a bill that meets their expectations is passed into law.

“Clearly from the conversations, Nigerians agree that we have a problem in the society today as a result of hate speech which has fueled so many killings and violence, and is responsible for cases of depression and suicides.”

Citing a World Health Organization report, Abdullahi disclosed that Nigeria which is the seventh-largest country in the world “has Africa’s highest rate of depression and ranks fifth in the world frequency of suicide.”

The lawmaker explained that the Independent National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech to be established will guard against every act of discrimination against Nigerians by way of victimization.

The Commission, according to Abdullahi, will have an executive chairperson, a secretary and twelve commissioners appointed through rigorous process involving the National Council of State, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the National Assembly.

In order to protect the independence of the commission, he stated that the bill provides that those qualified to be appointed as members of the commission must not be: members of the National Assembly or any government in authority at the Local, State or Federal Levels.

The lawmaker added that any person, who is a member of any political party or known to be affiliated with partisan politics, or has promoted sectional, ethnic, religious causes or openly advocated partisan ethnic positions or interest, stands disqualified from being appointed to serve on the commission.

“The overall concern is to curb violence and unnecessary loss of lives and livelihoods of Nigerians due to hate-induced violence,” Abdullahi added.

Recall that the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Matthew Kukah, had in July, this year, warned against ethnic and religious demonisation, noting that such actions could trigger violent confrontation amongst Nigerians.

Kukah stated this while delivering a speech at a colloquium on fake news and hate speech organised by the Olusegun Obasanjo Centre for African Studies, an arm of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).

According to Kukah, “hate speech often precede any genocide experienced in history.

He said Nigerians “have to be very careful” before the situation degenerates beyond control.

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Silly Bubu and His Senate Push Forward “Accuse Critics and Hang Them to Death for ‘Hate Speech'” Bill – NewsRescue.com

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The Senate has reintroduced a bill that seeks to penalise persons found guilty of hate speech.

The National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech Bill, sponsored by the deputy chief whip, Aliyu Abdullahi, was one of the 12 bills introduced on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday.

The lawmakers are expected to debate the details of the bill on another legislative day.

Previous bill

Mr Abdullahi had in March 2018 introduced the bill for consideration and passage.

The bill prescribed death by hanging for any person found guilty of any form of hate speech that results in the death of another person.

It seeks the establishment of an Independent National Commission for Hate Speeches. The proposed commission is expected to enforce hate speech laws in the country and ensure the “elimination” of hate speech.

For offences such as harassment on grounds of ethnicity or race, the offender shall be sentenced to “not less than a five-year jail term or a fine of not less than N10 million or both.”

The bill also proposed that, “A person who uses, publishes, presents, produces, plays, provides, distributes and/or directs the performance of any material, written and/or visual, which is threatening, abusive or insulting or involves the use of threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, commits an offence, if such person intends thereby to stir up ethnic hatred, or having regard to all the circumstances, ethnic hatred is likely to be stirred up against any person or person from such an ethnic group in Nigeria.

“A person subjects another to harassment on the basis of ethnicity for the purposes of this section where, on ethnic grounds, he unjustifiably engages in a conduct which has the purpose or effect of (a) violating that other person’s dignity or (b) creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the person subjected to the harassment.”

The charge would be justified if such a person intends to stir up “ethnic hatred”, it said.

The bill, however, did not make it through to third reading.

The reintroduction of this bill comes one week after the Senate reintroduced a bill that will regulate the use of social media.

It also comes about a month after President Muhammadu Buhari threatened to take a “firm and decisive action” against promoters of hate speech and other divisive materials on the Internet.

Mr Abdullahi had said cases of religious and ethnic violence experienced in the past years in Nigeria informed his decision to sponsor the bill.

The bill proposes various ‘mechanisms’ to prevent cases of death which emanate from hate speeches, he said.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of NewsRescue

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Nigerian APC-led Senate Reintroduces Bill: ‘Death for “Hate Speech” Life for Boko Haram Terrorists Who Can Become President’ – NewsRescue.com

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NewsRescue Comment: As so many Nigerians get illegally indefinitely detained on false charges for criticizing the government, so also this bill is predicted to be used as a weapon to intimidate and kill the opposition, journalists and critics.

The same government has said through its military, that Boko Haram terrorists can some day become president, as it pursues an aggressive “deradicalization” program on these northern, “Muslim” terrorists, who have actually killed and raped tens of thousands of Nigerians but appear to have the government’s heart.

Nigerian Senate reintroduces ‘hate speech’ bill

by QueenEsther Iroanusi

The Senate has reintroduced a bill that seeks to penalise persons found guilty of hate speech.

The National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech Bill, sponsored by the deputy chief whip, Aliyu Abdullahi, was one of the 12 bills introduced on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday.

The lawmakers are expected to debate the details of the bill on another legislative day.

Previous bill

Mr Abdullahi had in March 2018 introduced the bill for consideration and passage.

The bill prescribed death by hanging for any person found guilty of any form of hate speech that results in the death of another person.

It seeks the establishment of an Independent National Commission for Hate Speeches. The proposed commission is expected to enforce hate speech laws in the country and ensure the “elimination” of hate speech.

For offences such as harassment on grounds of ethnicity or race, the offender shall be sentenced to “not less than a five-year jail term or a fine of not less than N10 million or both.”

The bill also proposed that, “A person who uses, publishes, presents, produces, plays, provides, distributes and/or directs the performance of any material, written and/or visual, which is threatening, abusive or insulting or involves the use of threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, commits an offence, if such person intends thereby to stir up ethnic hatred, or having regard to all the circumstances, ethnic hatred is likely to be stirred up against any person or person from such an ethnic group in Nigeria.

“A person subjects another to harassment on the basis of ethnicity for the purposes of this section where, on ethnic grounds, he unjustifiably engages in a conduct which has the purpose or effect of (a) violating that other person’s dignity or (b) creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the person subjected to the harassment.”

The charge would be justified if such a person intends to stir up “ethnic hatred”, it said.

The bill, however, did not make it through to third reading.

The reintroduction of this bill comes one week after the Senate reintroduced a bill that will regulate the use of social media.

It also comes about a month after President Muhammadu Buhari threatened to take a “firm and decisive action” against promoters of hate speech and other divisive materials on the Internet.

Mr Abdullahi had said cases of religious and ethnic violence experienced in the past years in Nigeria informed his decision to sponsor the bill.

The bill proposes various ‘mechanisms’ to prevent cases of death which emanate from hate speeches, he said.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of NewsRescue

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Attack on mosque in Ogun: Gov Abiodun must fish out culprits — MURIC

person

•Says: Enough is enough

Few weeks after the Oro cult group invaded a mosque in Idi-Iroko, Ogun State, another mosque, the Zumratul Mu’miniin Mosque in Amororo area of Iperu, Ikenne Local Government Area of Ogun State, has again been attacked by another cult group popularly known as Eluku. The mosque properties including vehicles, materials were damaged.

During the attack which occurred on Tuesday, 22nd October, 2019 around 8.30 pm, three Muslims were hospitalized due to serious injuries inflicted on them by the attackers. Other worshippers in the Zumratul Mu’miniin Mosque who sustained various degrees of injury were discharged after receiving treatment.

The Eluku cult members also poured boiling vegetable oil on three members of the mosque who had gone to report the incident at the Iperu police headquarters. Two of them, Nurein and Abdul Razaq, are currently receiving treatment at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH).

Meanwhile, an Islamic civil society group, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has denounced the attack. The group spoke through its Founder and Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, who signed the press statement.

“We strongly denounce this unprovoked attack. It was premeditated, gruesome and vicious. It is an infringement on freedom of worship as enshrined in Section 38 (i) & (ii) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This is one attack too many. There had been two separate attacks on mosques and Muslims in Ogun State this year 2019 alone. What have we done to deserve this incessant molestation?

“Traditional worshippers of Olosha Oba and Oro Cult invaded Umar Bin Khattab Mosque in Idi-Iroko in the Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun State on Saturday, 27th July, 2019 during the afternoon Zuhr prayer.

“This is the third attack on Muslims in Ogun State alone in 2019. Once is happenstance, twice is a coincidence, the third time is enemy action. If we call Idi Iroko mosque a mere happenstance, the beating up of a woman in hijab in Abeokuta township a coincidence, the latest mosque invasion at Iperu has no other name. It is enemy action.

“We are therefore constrained to ask the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, to explain to the whole world why Muslims are constantly exposed to danger under his watch. Dapo Abiodun became the executive governor of Ogun State on 29th May, 2019. Since then, our mosques have been invaded twice and a Muslim woman was assaulted.

As the chief security officer in the state, the governor has not deemed it fit to issue a public statement on any of these attacks. Has the state government ever warned traditional worshippers over these attacks? Are we to assume that there is tacit approval?

“Dapo Abiodun must fish out the culprits. The governor does not need to go far. Investigations conducted by the Iperu Zone of MURIC have revealed the identity of leaders of the Eluku cult in Iperu. Osako, Aluko and Young Owner are the key suspects. They are well known in the governor’s community.

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