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Press zooms in on warning by some eminent Nigerians on state of the nation, others

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The warning by a host of eminent Nigerians that 51 years after the Nigerian-Biafran Civil War, that the country learned little or nothing from the deadly misadventure and could return to the disastrous path dominates the headlines of Nigerian newspapers on Friday.The Vanguard reports that 51 years after the Nigerian-Biafran Civil War, a host of eminent Nigerians said yesterday that the country learned little or nothing from the deadly misadventure and could return to the disastrous path.

The eminent Nigerians, drawn from all parts of the country, who shared this view include Elder statesmen Chief Mbazulike Amechi, Chief Ayo Adebanjo and Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, Ambassador Godknows Igali, Senator Shehu Sani, Bishop Sunday Onuoha, Mrs Onyeka Onwenu, Ms Annkio Briggs, Mrs Charity Shekari, Mr. Peter Obi, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, Professor Pat Utomi, Elder Uma Elaizu, and Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

They spoke at a four-hour zoom parley themed: ”51 Years After the Nigerian-Biafran Civil War, 2nd Never Again Conference” organised by Nzuko Umunna, an Igbo think tank group in partnership with Ovation International and Njenje Media.

Anchored by Mr. Dele Momodu and Maazi Ezeoke, the parley elicited deep concerns from participants, who proffered suggestions on how to ensure that Nigeria is fair to all citizens and did not return to the deadly course of war.

Most of the speakers agreed on the need to ensure justice, equity, review of the constitution and the elite joining forces to save the country. They also agreed on the history of the war and the need for it to be taught to guide our children.

Delivering the keynote speech, Matthew Kukah, Bishop of Sokoto Catholic diocese, said Nigeria has not recovered from wounds of the civil war 51 years after because the country failed to adopt resolutions that were meant to heal the wounds of citizens.

Kukah said some of those resolutions came from the Human Rights Violations Investigation Commission popularly known as Oputa panel, which was set up by the former President Olusegun Obasanjo administration. He also said while the military laid the foundation for Nigerians to begin a process of rebuilding the nation, “things somehow went wrong” along the line.

The newspaper says that despite the activities of Boko Haram in the North East, which have left several persons dead and properties destroyed, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday scored his government high on security in the zone.

The President, who gave the assessment while receiving the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission, Rev. Yakubu Pam, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, also asked those criticising his regime, particularly the nation’s elite, to be fair in their assessment.

Buhari’s claim drew the ire of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Second Republic lawmaker, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, who expressed surprise that despite the high level insecurity in the zone, the President was gloating over protecting Nigerians.

Recall that no fewer than 76 farmers were beheaded in their farms on Koshobe village in Borno State by Boko Haram insurgents at on November 29, 2021. There have also been constant gunfight between the military and the insurgents which have resulted in the death of soldiers and civilians.

But the President in a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the security situation in the zone has improved, stressing it was no longer as bad as it was prior to his assumption of office in 2015.

Although he admitted that there were still what he described as occasional Boko Haram problems, the President said: “What was the situation when we came? Try and ask people from Borno or from Adamawa for that matter and Yobe. What was the condition before we came and what is the condition now?

ThisDay reports that after two days of meetings with Malian political and civil-society figures, the mediator for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, said he had no doubt that Mali’s post-coup interim administration would hand over power to civilians within the agreed 18-month deadline.

“It’s too early to doubt them,” said Jonathan, who was accompanied on the trip to Bamako by ECOWAS President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou and other members of his mediation team.

“We believe – they will be able to complete everything that they have set out to do within the 18-month timeframe,” he said, adding that the President of the Transition and Head of State, Bah N’DAW had assured him that they are committed to the deadline.

The visit followed increasing questions over the post-coup government’s ability to reform the constitution and stage elections within the remaining 14 months, while tackling the country’s brutal jihadist insurgency.

The Punch says that crude oil production in Nigeria tumbled by 155,000 barrels to a record low in December amid the production cuts by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies.

OPEC disclosed this on Thursday in its report for January, saying a meaningful rise in oil prices would brighten Nigeria’s economic outlook this year.

The report showed that the country’s oil production fell to 1.17 million barrels per day in December 2020, from 1.33 million bpd in November, based on direct communication.

According to secondary sources, total crude oil production by the 13-member OPEC averaged 25.36 million bpd in December, up by 280,000 million bpd in the previous month.

“Crude oil output increased mainly in Libya, Iraq and the UAE, while production decreased primarily in Nigeria, Congo and Angola. Libya’s crude oil output in December rose to 1.22 million bpd, according to secondary sources,” the group said.

The newspaper says that the domestic wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, known as the General Aviation Terminal One (GAT) recorded over five million passengers between July and December, 2020.

This was disclosed by the Terminal Manager, Mr. Adekunle Aderibigbe, who said passenger traffic was low during the period, but picked up during the Yuletide celebrations despite the effects of the pandemic.

He added that the airlines were up to their game in deploying more aircraft to handle the passenger upsurge.

Aderibigbe explained that safety, security and comfort of passengers remained the priority of FAAN, especially in compliance with the COVID-19 protocols.

He, however, stated that the major challenge faced by the airport staff was dealing with travelers, who refuse to comply with the protocols, saying despite the evidence of deaths caused by coronavirus, some people still believe the virus can’t kill Nigerians.

Published on 10.02.2021

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