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University of Aberdeen to Return Looted Benin Bronze to Nigeria

The University of Aberdeen in Scotland is to return a Benin bronze sculpture to Nigeria, saying it was acquired by British soldiers in 1897 in “reprehensible circumstances”.

It is the first institution to agree to the full repatriation from a museum of a Benin bronze, raising pressure on other establishments, including the British Museum, to follow suit.

The university acquired the bronze sculpture depicting an “Oba” (king) of Benin at auction in 1957, and it is considered a classic example of Benin Late Period Art.

It was originally taken in 1897, when a British military expedition attacked and destroyed Benin City, looting thousands of metal and ivory sculptures and carvings, known as the Benin bronzes, from the royal palace.

Benin City, in present-day southern Nigeria, was the seat of a powerful West African kingdom at the time.

The university called it “one of the most notorious examples of the pillaging of cultural treasures associated with 19th-century European colonial expansion”.

“It would not have been right to have retained an item of such great cultural importance that was acquired in such reprehensible circumstances,” said university vice-chancellor George Boyne.
Neil Curtis, head of museums and special collections, said a review of its collections identified the work “as having been acquired in a way that we now consider to have been extremely immoral.

“So we took a proactive approach to identify the appropriate people to discuss what to do,” he added.

A panel of academic specialists and curators unanimously recommended its return to Nigeria and the university’s governing body supported the unconditional return.

Nigeria’s minister of information and culture Lai Mohammed called the move a “step in the right direction” and urged other holders of Nigerian antiquity “to emulate this”.

Some museums support the creation of the Edo Museum of West African Art in Benin City to house the looted artifacts.

These include the British Museum, which cannot legally give up possession of its artifacts and is reportedly considering lending its bronzes.

A Cambridge University college said in 2019 it would return a Benin bronze of a cockerel that was taken down from display at the famous education establishment after a student protest.
AFP

Religion, Security

Nigeria Will Shut Down Soon – Popular Prophet Warns Buhari Again, Says He Sees Looming Danger Ahead.

The leader of INRI Evangelical spiritual church, Primate Elijah Ayodele, on Sunday said he foresees a massive protest that will shut down Nigeria.

Primate Ayodele raised the alarm while calling on the attention of the Federal government and President Muhammadu Buhari on the current insecurity that has befallen the country.

He spoke during a session with his members and was contained in a statement forwarded to newsmen.

The cleric also warned that Nigeria’s economy will be in a bad shape, adding that a serious food scarcity is imminent.

He explained that these can be averted if the government hastily works on the unsecured state of the country.

‘’Nigeria is going to be in a bad shape economically if the Government doesn’t take insecurity and killings seriously, I am seeing food scarcity, it will be very serious.

“As a result of this, I am seeing a massive protest that will shut Nigeria, it will be so severe that nobody will be able to go out for their day to day activities, the government will be shut down, I see a crisis because there will be hardship that will affect every sector,” he said.

Birthday

President Buhari celebrates Tinubu at 69

President Muhammadu Buhari has celebrated former Lagos Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on his 69th birthday

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari noted Asiwaju Tinubu, who is a key pillar of the ruling the All Progressives Congress (APC), had inspired many leaders across the country.

Praying for a longer and healthy life for the party leader, President Buhari acknowledged his role in stabilising the ruling party as well as his works towards engendering good governance in the country.

The statement partly reads: “President Muhammadu Buhari joins the governing party, All Progressives Congress (APC) and its teeming members in congratulating Asiwaju Bola Tinubu on his 69th birthday, March 29, 2021, sharing the joyous occasion with the former two-term Governor of Lagos State, whose acumen and influence continue to resonate round the country and beyond.”

The President rejoices with the “patriot and statesman” on the 12th colloquium, an intellectual gathering to commemorate his birthday, that had over the years turned into a veritable opportunity for discussing topical national issues, and harnessing ideas that will move the nation forward.

The President affirms the former Lagos Governor has inspired many leaders and continues to nurture talents for the benefit of the country, while acknowledging his role in the stability of the APC and advocating good governance.

News

Fuel May Cost Over 200 Naira Per Litre In Nigeria-NNPC Boss

The General Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari says Nigerians may likely pay more for petrol in April.

The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) had earlier released a template increasing petrol price to N212 per litre but it was later deleted.

Speaking with journalists at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Kyari said the NNPC can no longer bear the burden.

He also said the NNPC pays between N100 billion and N120 billion a month to keep the pump price at the current level, insisting that market forces must be allowed to determine the pump price of petrol in the country.

The NNPC GMD explained that while the actual cost of importation and handling charges amount to N234 per litre, the government is selling at N162 per litre.

“The price could have been anywhere between N211 and N234 to the litre. The meaning of this is that consumers are not paying for the full value of the PMS that we are consuming and therefore someone is paying that cost,” he said.

“As we speak today, the difference is being carried in the books of NNPC and I can confirm to you that NNPC may no longer be in a position to carry that burden.”

Security

Boko Haram Blows Up Power Tower, Throws Maiduguri Into Darkness Again

Barely three days after electricity was restored in Maiduguri, Boko Haram terrorists have plunged the North-East city into darkness again after blowing up a power tower on Saturday.

In January, the terrorists had struck power installations thrice to keep the city in the dark.

It took power authorities almost two months to repair the damage inflicted in January as the insurgents laid land mines, which injured officials of the Transmission Company of Nigeria when repairs commenced.

Repairs had to progress under heavy military escort, as residents and business owners turned to alternative power generating sets for electricity.

Last Wednesday, residents expressed elation after electricity from the national grid was restored.

But that elation now seems short-lived after Saturday’s attack.

“I am tired, depressed,” one resident told Channels Television. “It’s just too much for us.”

Security

Kidnapped Ogun community leader regains freedom

The kidnapped community leader in Imope land, Ijebu- Igbo in Ijebu-North Local Area of Ogun State, Chief Tajudeen Omotayo, has regained freedom.

Chief Tajudeen was abducted on Saturday at Oke – Eri corridor of Ijebu – Ode – Oru – Ibadan road on his way home from Ijebu – Ode.

Ogun Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said the community leader was released on Tuesday evening after spending four nights in captivity.

Oyeyemi said the kidnappers released their victim at 8 :30pm in Ijebu-Igbo after spending four days in the kidnappers den.

It was however learnt the kidnappers initially demanded N100 million ransom but collected N5 million to release the chief.

But Abimbola said the command was aware of payment of ransom.

According to him: “The community leader has been released. The Commissioner of Police, myself and other police officers were in Ijebu-Igbo till about 8: 30 pm yesterday (Tuesday).

“I was not aware of payment of any ransom.

“The command will never be part of the arrangement because it is dangerous ,it will give the signal that kidnapping is lucrative .

“This is not the end of this matter ,we are going after the kidnappers to ensure we arrest them so as to make them serve as scapegoat for others.”

Religion

Kwara Hijab Saga: We urge Gov AbdulRazaq to toe the path of honor in allowing rule of law to prevail – Presidents South-West Nigeria Baptist Conference

The Nigeria Baptist Convention southwest Conference Presidents on the Compulsory use I Hijab in all schools in Kwara State today converged in Ilorin, Kwara state capital to show their unwavering support to Kwara Baptist Conference

Reverend Dr. Solomon Oyewale Oyeniyi the President Ogun Baptist Conference who speaks on behalf of South West Presidents said,

We are here today to encourage, comfort and empathize with our dear brethren in Kwara State.

we stand with you in this critical time and we are praying for you.

Not just our Baptist brothers and sisters who have been attacked, but other Christians who have suffered for the sake of the gospel in the weeks in Kwara State.

We cry with you, but we also demand justice, equity, and fairness from the state government and security agencies.

There is no gainsaying that Christian mission organizations, as far back as the mid 18 century, 1865 to be precise, have and are still playing significant roles in providing quality primary education in Nigeria. The evidence of this can be seen in the number of mission schools established
Within Nigeria-Kwara State inclusive.

Nigerians will recall that some Muslims attended our mission
schools and they were not forced to change their religion, people in that category served the nation

Worthy of note is the 1974 Education Law Edict of Kwara State signed by the then military administrator, Colonel Lasisi Bamigboye (Rtd) which categorically states and by interpretation, that the voluntary Agency Institutions (i.e the mission schools) are not taken over by the government but, only
the management of staff (the teachers) is the only thing the government of Kwara State is taken over.

Furthermore, the edict states that the proprietors still retain the right of ownership; names of schools remain
as given by the proprietors; religious orientation and practices in the school’s remain generally
undisturbed; the total tone of the institutions remains the responsibility of the Board of Governors of the
school as the main organ of the proprietors.

We have watched incredulously and painfully how some of our churches have been attacked and Some
of our brethren injured simply because they were asking for justice.

We saw each again on Monday, March 22,
how some churches were attacked even while their gates were firmly locked by throwing stones and
dangerous objects into their premises.

This shows that these are coordinated attacks on churches in Ilorin
and the issue at hand is beyond wearing hijabs in our schools. At least the schools were not opened that
day.

We pray that the Lord will comfort all Christians in Ilorin who have been attacked and still carry the
scars of such attacks. May the Lord heal you, may the Lord strengthen you, and may He answer us
speedily on this matter in Jesus’ name, amen.

We charge you to endure more as our victory is at hand,
the Lord will not fail us. Please be encouraged. We appreciate the leaders of Kwara State Baptist
The conference, the president and chairman, and the officers of the Christian Association of Nigeria has have
stood up bravely against arsonists and miscreants determined to destroy our heritage.

We charge us all not to give up and continue in the pursuit of justice and fairness.

One question we must ponder on is how come this is happening now? How did the past governments in
Does Kwara State manage to avert such upheaval? And that’s why we are calling on the Kwara State government to remember that its first duty is the protection of citizens’ lives and properties.

We ask the government not to forget that all lives matter irrespective of their faiths, we remind the government that
Christians too matter in this state and we deserve protection as well. Our properties like churches, schools, buses, and houses ought to be protected as we are taxpayers too. We are not just important during the election period but at all moments. Allowing thugs and miscreants to terrorize innocent citizens under the guise of enforcing hijab in our schools calls to question the duty of government in protecting all and sundry.

This should not be allowed to continue, our dear governor.

We also ask the government to toe the path of honor in allowing the rule of law to prevail. There’s a
matter in court over the hijab matter and one would have thought that the government will wait for its determination since the lower court ruled that the status quo should be maintained, we ask the government to respect this. If we all continue to disobey our courts which are legally empowered to interpret our
Constitution, there will be anarchy. This will not augur well for us all.

Nonetheless, we are making use of this opportunity to express our unreserved concern and t0 make
appeal to Kwara State government under the leadership of His Excellency Alhaji Abdulrahman
Abdulrazaq to make use of his political office:

.It is high time the Kwara State government started considering returning mission schools to the
original Owners as we have seen in Lagos and Ogun States, heaven will not fall as we built these schools originally.

As Baptists, we have shown in these two states that we have what it takes to
maintain and cater for our schools-staff and students, and we are willing to accept what belongs to
us originally.

  1. To be unbiased in the discharge of orders as about the wearing of hijab in the mission school since the matter is still in Supreme Court with the state surely served by the Supreme
    Court and to allow the rule of law reign supreme as regards wearing of hijab in Christian mission
    schools.

3, For the interest of peace and an uninterrupted educational system, any Muslim parents who want their child or children to wear hijab compulsorily should honorably withdraw his/their child or children to Muslim established schools instead of causing mayhem in the mission schools.

4, To allow the Christian mission schools to operate by the provision of the 1974 Education Law Edict of Kwara State.

  1. To facilitate educational policy that will engender and not endanger the peaceful coexistence in all educational facilities in the state.
  2. To not politicize the issue of wearing hijab in Christian mission schools as these schools have the statutory uniforms expected for all pupils and students to wear each time they come to school.

7 To curb civil and religious societies irrespective of their religious affiliations from promoting campaigns to disrupting the peace and smooth operation of the mission schools and their immediate environments.

  1. To mediate with fairness and justice between all concerned stakeholders to allow the pupils and students of these affected mission school are in jeopardy

Politics

Tinubu donates N50m to victims of the Katsina Central Market Fire.

The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu have announced a donation of the sum of N50million to victims of the Katsina Central Market Fire.

Tinubu made the announcement on Wednesday during a condolence visit to the Katsina State government.

He was received by the state governor, Aminu Masari, and other top government officials in the state.

The Katsina Central Market fire on Monday destroyed goods and properties valued at millions of naira.

Eyewitnesses attributed the fire to the explosion from gas cylinders sold in one of the shops.

Security

Lawyers Declare Strike in Anambra Over Insecurity

Lawyers in Anambra State have declared a three-day strike, starting from Monday, over insecurity in the state .

This came barely 24 hours after their member, Frank Onwuachi, who was abducted by hoodlums was found dead.

Unknown Gunmen had recently terrorised the state by killing no fewer than six policemen, four naval officers, a prison’s warder and others.

Several police stations had also been set ablaze in similar-fact circumstances and arms carted away.

On Saturday, the Nigerian Bar Association, Anambra State Chapter, after reviewing the situation, ordered its members to boycott courts in the state for three days, starting from Monday.

A statement signed by the eight chairmen of bar branches in the state reads in part.

“The committee of chairmen and secretaries of the Nigerian Bar Association branches in Anambra State bemoans the worsening security situation in Anambra State and calls on the Federal Government, Anambra State Government and heads of security agencies to wake up and be alive to their responsibilities of protecting lives and properties of the citizens.

“The Committee notes that the security situation in Anambra State is highly tensed up and frightening to say the least.

“Recently, there has been cases of kidnap and gruesome murder/killing of innocent citizens and security personnel in the state and nothing is being done to curb this frightening security challenges in the State.

“Just last week Friday, a Lawyer, Frank Onwuachi, who is also the President General of Omor in Ayamelum Local Government Area of Anambra State was kidnapped along Ezu River/Anaku road and gruesomely murdered the following day by his captors.

“On 19/3/2021, two Prison Officers were killed at Ekwulobia, Aguata LGA and this is barely 24 hours after Naval officers and policemen were killed at Awkuzu and Neni respectively.

“Also, a Naval Outpost close to Bridgehead was attacked sometimes last week resulting to the killings of some Naval officers and their weapons carted away.

“We call on the State Government to as a matter of urgency summon a meeting of various security agencies in the state to address this worrisome security situations and tackle it headlong. Failure by the State Government to act immediately may lead to a descent to anarchy.

“We all cannot continue to downplay the Security situation or pretend that all is well. The time to act is now.”

While condoling with the NBA Otuocha branch, the families of late Frank Onwuachi and all security men killed by unknown gunmen, the lawyers resolved
that all lawyers in the state “shall boycott all courts from Monday to Wednesday”.

“That all lawyers in Anambra State should converge on the Judiciary Headquarters, Awka on Monday, by 12 noon for onward movement to the Government House, Awka to express our dissatisfaction with the current security situation in Anambra State.”