• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Holy Father pray for us sinners

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What is emerging from the Vatican are hints that the proposed visit of Pope Francis I to Nigeria does not command unanimous support largely on account of trepidation over perceived instability all over Africa – a continent that is in deep trouble.  Turbulent, unpredictable, violent and racked with deep-seated resentment as well as hostilities over a wide range of unresolved issues.

A special case can be made for the merit of the visit to Nigeria.  Unfortunately, it would normally take at least a year to plan a papal visit but next year 2015 is election year.  For obvious reasons the Pontiff would not consider visiting before, during or after the elections.

Hence, if the visit is to happen it has to be this year.  The challenge is how to avoid the consequences of a rushed visit. Besides, one of the issues to be resolved is whether the visit would be confined to Abuja or would it extend to Lagos, Eastern Nigeria (where Catholics are a formidable group) and Northern Nigeria where Boko Haram is wreaking havoc and mayhem.

Anyway, the prospects of Lagos being included in the Holy Father’s intenary were considerably diminished by the report which Vatican Radio carried yesterday based on a front page story of “Daily Sun” newspaper of March 31 2014.

Headline: “LAGOS TO RELOCATE RESIDENTS IN FLOOD PRONE AREAS”

…Expects 263 days rainfall

“Lagos State Government has said it might relocate residents living in flood-prone areas in the metropolis to avert disasters associated with flooding.

The State Commissioner for the Environment, Mr Tunji Bello, who dropped the hint while briefing journalists, said based on Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) report, the state would witness 263 days of rainfall this year.

He explained that though there would be normal rainfall this year, but surrounding states like Ogun and Oyo will have above normal rainfall; thus excess flow from dams in those states may cause flooding downstream realistically in Lagos State, if the water is not properly managed.”

The commissioner said the predicted rainfall would vary from 100 days over the extreme north and 300 days over the coastal areas.

Bello stated that the state would record 1.960mm total annual rainfall while strong winds, lightning and thunderstorms which are regular phenomena during the outset and cessation of rainfall were predicted to occur in stronger magnitude during this year’s rainy period.”

Matters were not helped by the decision of Mr Ban Ki-Moon the Secretary General of the United Nations to veer from “Climate Warming” and fret instead about “Financial Warning” as illustrated by the front page report in the “Nigerian Tribune” newspaper of March 28 2014:

Headline: “$50 BILLION STOLEN FROM AFRICA ANNUALLY

o United Nations

The United Nations on Thursday disclosed that over $50 billion is being stolen out of Africa annually.

This disclosure was made by United Nations’ Deputy Secretary General, Mr Jan Eliason, when he paid a courtesy call on the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal.

While decrying the spate of looting in Africa, he said it is more regrettable because the money will have been used to develop the continent.”

On Nigeria’s contributions to global peace, the United Nations’ official said “Nigeria is also a world leader in building security, peacekeeping and economic development and is a strong ally to the United Nations.”

He said Nigeria has also “embraced its multiplicity as a resource and not a problem and this is a role model for other countries.”

In his remarks, Tambuwal commended the United Nations for its support to the Nigerian economy and Africa as a critical part of the African Union 2063 Strategy.

According to him, the Nigerian parliament had played major roles in ensuring pro-poor policies that form the core focus of its activities.  These included strengthening oversight of public service delivery, prioritizing budgetary appropriation for pro-poor sectors and creation of standing committees, like that of the MDGs, Human Rights and HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Control which focuses entirely on social development.

He added that the House of Representatives was looking to partnerships that would facilitate investment in institutions, especially those that would deliver services in health, education, water, strengthen data systems, access to justice and other critical factors that enable sustainable development.

On human rights, Tambuwal reaffirmed Nigeria’s adherence to the human rights, non-discrimination and non-violence and hope for the continued support of the United Nations.

“On 2015 elections, I would like to assure you and your delegation that the National Assembly is doing everything possible to achieve violence-free and fair elections in Nigeria, through amendment of the electoral laws,” he said.”

Thankfully, within the Vatican Nigeria has friend who has confided in the seventy “Senior Elder Citizens”.  They have been protesting about the injustice meted out to them by the “Big Four” international accountancy firms that dominate the market.  The advice from the Angels in the Vatican is that if we really want Pope Francis I to visit Nigeria, we must polish up the image of our country by getting out the good news about our nation.  A case in point is the front page headline “Daily Sun” newspaper March 12 2014”

“WE’VE LIVED IN OWERRI FOR OVER 200 YEARS”

o Northerners

…….Appeal to Okorocha to rebuild their quarters

Ama Hausa, a popular quarters inhabited by the northerners, got its name from the natives of Owerri, the Imo State capital, who used it to describe that location occupied by the people from northern Nigeria, especially Hausas who arrived the capital over 200 years ago.

Ama Hausa, which literally means ‘Hausa compound’, does not sleep.  You can buy virtually everything, ranging from Hausa delicacies to changing of any conceivable foreign currency.

In the sprawling slum inhabited by northerners, most of the residents speak the Hausa language, although some of them who had spent very long period in the state also speak the Igbo Language fluently.

Oriental News gathers that the Hausa colony which is akin to the Sabo Garis in most northern states where non-natives have made their homes actually started when a few northerners from Kano State came to Owerri to sell their wares long before the country gained political independence.

This early settlers were said to have acquired the land from the Owerri Nchi Ise people to build their houses as the influx of northerners continued over several decades.

According to Alhaji Baba Sule, a native of Kano and the Sariki Hausawa in Imo State, the Hausas from Kano have lived in Owerri for about 200 years.

He told Oriental News that as a little boy he lived with his late grandfather and his immediate father Mallam Sule, who was born in 1901 and lived for 95 years in Owerri before he died during the Nigeria-Biafra civil war.

J.K Randle